I hear a lot these days about the need to hold people (politicians, children, or people in power), accountable for their actions. Regrettably, we cannot hold another person accountable. We can challenge them about their commitment to whatever it is they have declared that they would do. We cannot, however, hold them or anybody else accountable.
Accountability is an inside job.
We hold ourselves accountable. It’s like we have an internal account wherein we make deposits through our actions. Those actions become part of the fabric of whom we become and we accept responsibility for keeping our word about something, to ourselves.
We build up credibility internally. We do this because it matters to us. While we all know we cannot make another person do anything, we do try to brow beat them into being accountable.
For instance, we can’t make someone recycle. We will decide to do so because it speaks to and is aligned with, an inner value we have. From there, we take action with ease.
If we were to recycle from a place of ‘should’ or to simply gain approval or to ‘look good’ in the eyes of others, we would eventually get sloppy with the activity. We would let ourselves off the hook so to speak when others weren’t looking.
I believe HALF of what people say and ALL of what people do.
What we can do is hold people to their word. Challenge them about the impact of them not keeping their word. When we do this, we challenge the person around their sense of internal accountability.
When we’re honest with others about the impact they have on us and the world around us, we hold the promise of making the world a better place instead of falling asleep at the wheel and yielding to others’ impact.
It is delightful to be around and in the presence of someone who does what they say they will do. In fact what happens to us is, we relax.
When we develop our internal accountability, if we chose to, around being our word, it translates to the outer world as people around us learn that we can be counted upon to do what we say we will do. Now that will make the world a better place, one person at a time.
Accountability is different from responsibility.
We can be held responsible. (more on that in a future post)
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