I was talking to a friend the other day and the topic of responsibility came up. I’m big in the many aspects of trust. Responsibility and accountability being foundational, in my opinion.

A main point I want to make here in my world is that being accountable means “cleaning” up what agreements I’ve broken. After the face. Taking account of what I’ve done or not done that’s outside what I said I’d do or not do. Responsibility on the other hand deals with things on the timeline before I break my word, agreement, or understanding. I look ahead and put things in order to make things happen or shift an understanding or expectation before fucking up. As you can imagine this is probably a better, more advanced way of living life.

As we grow and evolve things change along timelines. We’re able to stretch out plans to longer time domains and we’re able to slow things down when appropriate too. Patience becomes easier and we recognize or discern when it’s time to kick things in gear and bust a move.

As I often do, I’m going to offer up a more complicated construct with responsibility. I’ve shared my working definition before and it’s the same. Responsibility as defined by Jim Mitchell, I am willing to think the thoughts, feel the feelings, make the hard choices, then take the actions that will most likely create the life and relationships I say I want to have.

Now then… my friend was sharing with me his mindset around being a warrior and how warriors generally handle taking responsibility for things. They can take on too much. I’m all about taking responsibility. All about it! But there are times when it’d be good to pull apart the many components to the unfolding of an event to see how we’re all connected and it takes a series of things to happen that end up creating breakdowns, trauma, and negative situations. Some things are in your control and some aren’t.

So why do we take it all on? How has that become a common norm? Do we want to try to take it on so we can manage it and control it? Many people wouldn’t consider not taking it because of pride and honor but they go too far.

Where in your life do you have something to own and how to you allow space for the complexity of responsibility in an elegant way?