1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.
It is a big word found in the smallest of actions. In fact, it is two words. Account & Ability:
1. an oral or written description of particular events or situations; narrative: an account of the meetings; an account of the trip.
noun, plural a·bil·i·ties.
1. power or capacity to do or act physically, mentally, legally, morally, financially, etc.
Similar to integrity, accountability speaks to how answerable a person is towards their own actions and is directly relative to their level of self-awareness!
Today though if it is anything, it is a business term. It is expected and understood of any employee in any role that they have certain, clear responsibilities to be met at an accepted level of performance and that it is their duty to uphold these or their employment may be called into question. It is a given from any organisation. So… why is it not such a given in relationships?
It is not a given in relationships, or really anywhere else for that matter, because accountability is not in the giving at all; it is something you take. You take accountability on a personal level; it is not something you can even give to someone else. Accountability, whilst a big one, is very easily conceptualised by looking at it like this:
Do you have the ability to take a true and accurate account of your own behaviours throughout your life?
This means being able to make room for taking responsibility for things you have said and done that you are not proud of. This means being big enough of courage, to openly own them.
So… do you?
This sounds heavy, I know, but here comes the trick: Practice makes perfect…
Okay no, however true that is not inspiring at all. How about the Key#?
The key# that unlocks and opens up accountability in motion are in the first six lines of this text!!!
People learn and integrate new ways better when complemented by a supportive network or group. This is why we teach in classes. In an established classroom environment, members of the class socially learn to relax, mingle and unconsciously realise the element of safety in numbers. When the learning is done though, we are sent back into the ‘Real World’ or, as I prefer to think of it, ‘The Ultimate Classroom’. Using this analogy, it is easy to present the idea that this is then where the ‘Ultimate Lessons’ can be learned! Using this analogy everywhere is your classroom and everyone, your classmate. The beauty of learning to live with accountability and utilise your own integrity in this ‘Ultimate Classroom’ is that the exam results are almost always instant and almost always an A+. Behaving with integrity breeds and teaches simultaneously and exponentially.
For a broad example: Person A (customer) passes it to Person B (waiter) who, delighted with their interaction with Person A takes it out of the coffee shop and into the lecture later that afternoon and passes it to Person C (teacher). Meanwhile, Person A, delighted with their experience with Person B, feels a little more hopeful about life and instead of meeting up with Person D at the pub, chooses to go home and pass it on to Mrs. and Mini Person A and voila a marriage is saved! It is an invariable self-fulfilling prophecy when lived out loud.
# It is the thread that unknowingly binds us.
We have more respect for people who behave with morals and ethics; we are more ready to approach these people, we feel more welcomed and we are so!
That is Key# 1: Spread the Thread.
Key# 2: It is in the smallest things.
For some people, taking on integrity feels like letting down pride, however taking on integrity and accountability DOES NOT MEAN you have to fix every behaviour you come across, or that you have to retrace your steps making it up to every person for every little thing you could have done more effectively in the past.
It is not big like that.
It is BIG in terms of having enough courage to accept those ‘less-than’ things about your self. It is bigger still in terms of having the courage to conduct your self with and out of integrity unswervingly.
One day, a work colleague asked me, “why do you always call work if you are going to be a little late?” In response I found myself throwing my hands in the air and said out of utter frustration, “I call my boss the second I realise I will be late. Why? Because I’m being accountable for my action so that she can continue her day informed, rather than not. If the barista gives me extra change, I give it back. How else do you think I get my free chocolate? It is about sewing and reaping fairly. #It is in the small things, I cannot simplify it any further than that!”
Perhaps it doesn’t sound like much, however it was a light bulb moment! In that flash I finally saw the point of it. Instead of this awkward state of uncomfortable honesty, I saw accountability’s capacity for compassion and empathy toward others; I saw the possibilities for this love and understanding for and of myself, I saw the centeredness and the opportunity for happiness within this umbrella-thing called integrity. I finally understood what I had been told for years: the stuff is integral to a life of health, happiness, and balance! It is not a given, however, it IS a bare necessity of life, a lesson of utmost importance and worth.
With the learning of this lesson comes a sense of wholeness and contentedness inside of yourself that previously was only ever a dangling carrot you were chasing ‘out there’ and what inevitably follows is the best version of you, you have ever had the pleasure of knowing!
See your true self = be your true self.
I so look forward to meeting you!
‘Accountability breeds response-ability’ – Stephen Covey