Jessica Soroky Guest Post #12: How I Turn on Responsibility

How often do we change how we talk or act based on who we are surrounded by?

I picture a dial in my head that affects my filters.

When I go to work or am surrounded by other professionals, I tend to turn the dial to high to filter out some of the things that may not be deemed professional. On the other hand, when I’m around family, I turn my dial off and allow all of me to come out.

I have noticed that my dial does not only work for characteristics like professionalism, goofiness, and language but has a hold on how fast I progress through The Responsibility Process™.

I want to tell you the story of how I became aware of this:

I was on my way to a user group meeting in Columbus last week and traffic was at a standstill. It was raining so many motorists slow down to a crawl. My anxiety was getting worse and worse as time went by, and I got no closer to my destination.

Since I knew many of the people that were going to be at the event, I didn’t want them to think badly of me if I didn’t show up on time.

My brain started to go through the same process we all go through when we encounter a problem:

Denial: There is no way this traffic is really backed up for the next 10 miles.

Lay Blame: Wow, Ohio has terrible drivers.

Shame: I knew I should’ve left earlier.

The Responsibility Process isn’t a linear process, but a cyclical one. I went back and forth between these three islands when I got a text from another member of The Leadership Gift™ Program.

He said he’d still be at the event but may arrive late. I didn’t realize it at the time, but his statement snapped me out of my cycle of denial, blame, and shame (I hadn’t made it to justify yet) and my focus switched to getting there safely.

When I finally arrived at the event, I ran into that same fellow practitioner, and as we were grabbing something to eat before the presentation, he shared his experience.

Also stuck in traffic on the other side of town, he was going through the same mental islands I was going through. He told me he wanted to send me a text because earlier that day he had told me and another member of The Leadership Gift Program that he was going to be at the event.

He also shared that he altered his original text message (which was filled with blaming the other drivers) because he knew who he was texting. He said he paused when he realized the person he was texting practiced responsibility, and this pause caused the reworking of the text message, and brought him to responsibility.

I hadn’t thought about how I act or talk when it involves a fellow member of The Leadership Gift Program, but after hearing about his experience it dawned on me that I had a similar reaction of taking an extra pause to think instead of just instantly responding to a fellow member.

I got to not only be in a problematic situation and experience where I was mentally, but I also heard another person’s account of the same experience and the thought process he went through when he took into account the perspective the person he was talking to.

Having another person in front of me who practices responsibility in the same context I do is like having a living, breathing The Responsibility Process poster in the conversation. It heightens my awareness of where I am mentally.

We all have different backgrounds that affect our biases and filters, and condition us to be who we are. I had 21 years of conditioning to create my denial, blame, and shame default responses. This mastery of responsibility and harnessing my gift is my way of reconditioning myself.

What if I took that extra pause to look at where I was mentally before responding no matter who I’m surrounded by?

That’s where I want to get to. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my journey.

At this point of my journey these blog posts keep responsibility on my mind on a daily basis and create an opportunity to reflect upon situations from a clearer perspective. Even the process of writing has become a way to work through responsibility.

When I’m struggling with a particularly difficult problem, I write the first draft and come back a few hours later to a page full of blame, or shame – it normally takes one more draft to get to justification – and then I remember why I’m writing these blogs and I get to responsibility and start looking at what I can do.

Surrounding myself with other responsible people in environments that encourage learning and growth is another way to raise my awareness, and is another step to conditioning myself to look at where I am mentally before responding.

This dial in my head is controlled by my level of awareness and can be turned internally or affected by the environments and people I chose to surround myself with.

Once I’m aware of what is affecting me, I have the ability to make a choice to respond from a place of responsibility.

Are you aware of what moves your dial?

Jessica Soroky, CSM Only 21 years old, Jessica is already a Certified Scrum Master with two years of practice in agile delivery and team leadership. She is also the youngest participant in The Leadership Gift™ Program and its growing worldwide community of leaders and coaches. After five years of non-profit development through Nellie’s Catwalk for Kids, Jessica continues her leadership journey in state government, not-for-profit, and private sector leadership studies.

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Posted in Responsibility on 11/27/2013 06:25 am
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