Jessica Soroky Guest Post 4: How to Take Responsibility at Any Age

Responsibility is found in every aspect of Christopher’s teachings, and The Responsibility Process™ as well as The Leadership Gift™ Program have been fully integrated into my career and my personal life — or so I thought.

There was one more aspect of my life I had not introduced to responsibility — my charity work.

I have worked for a local non-profit organization that raises money and awareness for childhood cancer since I was 16. I built the first high school chapter of this organization and later began expanding into other high schools and colleges across Ohio.

This area of my life was not free of problems, so I began to wonder what my hesitation was to introduce the team I work with at the charity to the philosophies I was introduced to through Christopher.

Our leadership team at the charity is made of young people: nobody is more than 23 years old. I was anxious how they would react to me presenting The Responsibility Process.

Would they mock it? I decided to face my fear and introduce them to Christopher’s work, something I have become extremely passionate about.

To relate The Responsibility Process to this leadership group, I used a problem our group faces every day as the example – of how our brains react when we face a problem.

When we encounter a child with cancer we immediately go into denial that it is even possible for a child to have cancer. Due to the frequency at which we encounter this problem, we move quickly into accepting that it is true.

The next step, as Christopher describes it, is blame. The parents of the children we work with often spend a lot of time with this feeling. They blame themselves, they blame a higher power, and sometimes they even blame the doctors.

Shame becomes an easy next step and often manifests in pity for the child.

RP graphicTo explain this concept (denial > blame > justify > shame > obligation > responsibility) to our team, I reminded them of an example that happened just days earlier when we talked with a father about his 7-year-old daughter who was fighting for her life. He began to cry and told us how terrible he felt for his little girl; how sad he was that she was going through this.

I explained to our leadership group that the next step would be to move into justify and then obligation before reaching the line and the possibility of taking responsibility.

For our cancer families these two steps don’t happen often. A vicious cycle of blame and shame occurs before some sort of catalyst causes the family to take responsibility and ask, “What can we do?”

For Emily’s father the catalyst was his powerful, and responsible, little girl who sat on his knee and said, “Dad, cancer just is, but we are fighting it, so don’t feel sorry for me – fight with me.”

To my surprise, my team members reacted the same way I did the first time I heard about the Responsibility Process.

The 23 year-old president of the charity sat back in her chair and stated in a declarative voice, “This is life changing. Could you imagine what would happen if we brought this to our high school and college chapters?”

The leadership team decided that for the next week we would focus on awareness of when we were in the different mindsets outlined in The Responsibility Process.

Our mission and purpose is to help children and their families in a time when their world seems very dark. Their child has cancer and is fighting for his or her life and we began to ask ourselves, “If we are functioning from below the line, are we really helping them?”

To get to responsibility, our team adopted Emily’s phrase, “Cancer just is.” Whenever someone wasn’t acting from the point of responsibility — or below the line as we called it — we would say to them, “Cancer just is, what can we do today to make a child’s day a little brighter?”

Inevitably, like all humans, we slip below the line and go through denial, blame, and shame, and struggle when we lose a child we have grown close to.

After teaching The Responsibility Process to our leadership team and seeing how a little girl gets to responsibility, we were all empowered to give permission and create a way to hold each other to account.

The difference in our actions when facing our most common problem has caused win after win, building up a momentum that has made our small team an extremely high-performing group of young adults.

So don’t be afraid of the reactions you may get introducing others to it. We all have to deal with responsibility, no matter what our age, and we might as well have an easier time by using Christopher’s tried-and-true methods.

If you have yet to integrate The Responsibility Process into all aspects of your professional and personal life, I urge you to set the intention and meet it.

Don’t let another day go by. Take action now.

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 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.

Hi, Christopher Avery here. I am touched to the soul by Jessica’s story of curiosity, self-reflection, giving, and awareness. I want more people to have what Jessica has — the Leadership Gift. To that end I’m offering a 100% Free Sneak Preview into the Leadership Gift Program.

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Attend the acclaimed Creating Results-Based Teams workshop, or get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Posted in Collaboration, Leadership, Responsibility, Teamwork on 10/02/2013 01:00 am
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