To win the game of business and the business of life you must first master the Responsibility Game.

So, what is the Responsibility Game, you ask? It is simply responding with your abilities rather than falling into any of the three traps that drain you of your success and fulfillment. Simple, yet not easy. You can learn to play and win this game at the office with your team and colleagues, in the field with your clients and prospects , or even at home with your family.

First, imagine a horizontal line. Above the line write the following:

Responsibility (Respond with Ability)

Below the line, write the following three words:

Rationalize / Blame / Shame (R B S)

These three words are the three areas in life where we tend to not respond with all of our ability. Consequently when we drop below the line is when we don’t get done what needs to get done, or we come up short, or miss out on opportunities. We tend to pay the ultimate price when we drop below the line.

Let’s look at each one of these traps to winning the Responsibility Game:

Rationalize. This is where we justify or make up a story as to why we did not get the job done, came up short, or missed the deadline. Look carefully at the word “rationalize” and you will see that it is made up of Rational Lies. A rationalization is a story we tell our self and others as to why we failed.

Let’s face it. If our life or the life of a loved one depended on us coming through and getting the job done we would get the job done, no matter what.

Rational lies look like:

  • The current economy is causing me financial hardship.

  • People just are not spending money these days.

  • The government is making it hard to succeed in business.

Blame. This is where we blame someone besides our self for not getting the job done. It can sound like, “ I couldn’t complete my assignment because Sally didn’t get me the final numbers on time.” Guess what? You knew you needed the numbers from Sally you just did not stay above the line and get the numbers from Sally when you needed them.

Notice where else this shows up in your life. It’s your life and you are ultimately responsible for it. No one else. If you are a manager or leader and your people are not getting the job done, it’s not them. It’s the leader, the leader, the leader. Train the skill or raise the will of your people.

Shame. This is when you hold yourself in a less than empowered space. It is often disguised as, “I never learned how to do that.” “My parents were that way and I am that same way.” “I’m just not good with numbers.”

When we shame ourselves, we are giving up on our self and proclaiming that we are not capable or able to respond with more of our ability. It’s a cop out.

Get yourself back above the line.

Notice that what holds us back from responding with our ability and succeeding is R B S (sound familiar?) and to win the Responsibility Game, we must simply become more aware of when we slip below the line, and get back above the line, the best way we know how and as quickly as we can.

Remember, if your life depended on it, you would get above the line. Guess what? Your life does depend on it! Why? Because it’s your life. Refuse to settle in R B S.