We were only a few days into the new year when violence erupted in the US Capitol building, causing swift & frequent repudiations from commentors saying “This is not who we are.” Have you ever observed someone after acting in a way inconsistent with their values saying “I wasn’t myself” or “That’s not who I am”?
The truth is that we are always, every moment, ourselves: not always the best versions of ourselves, for certain. It can be comforting to distance oneself from behaviour that is inconsistent with our beliefs about our values, strengths, and abilities. To minimise something that went wrong, or to pretend that it doesn’t matter. But the truth is we can only become who we really want to be by acknowledging when we do get it wrong and taking responsibility for our actions and our misguided beliefs. Instead of believing passively that something happened and it was nobody’s fault or there was an excuse which means we don’t have to think about it any more, through coaching we are always striving to find ways to bring ourselves into greater alignment with our best selves. This is part of the process of accountability.
We believe in coaching that when things go off the rails, we can respond appropriately, even if that means uncomfortable conversations with ourselves or with others, or taking actions to put right what went wrong. To step fully into the best versions of who we believe ourselves to be, we must take accountability for our choices when we make moves in the wrong direction. Those moves are part of who we are, and only by confronting them fully and honestly with the intention to take appropriate responsibility for them can we then take the next step towards the path we want to create for ourselves. We can’t change what we’ve done in the past, but we always have the opportunity to create some accountability, and to use that to move forward.
In this new year, what would you like to commit to and be accountable for? How will you hold yourself accountable? Is there a trusted friend or thought partner you’d like to enlist to remind you, to give feedback and create awareness of this accountability? Is there anything from your past which you’d like to re-examine now from the lens of accountability, which might free you up to be an even better version of yourself? How would you like to create that accountability for yourself?