The point of this missive is not to pick on a nice guy, but to show how easy it is to say, “I believe in accountability!”—and then not practice it.
A month ago we had a gent named Kyle, representing a large landscaping firm, come to our house to talk about a major project. Kyle is the general manager of the company and its many employees. This is no “mom and pop” shop.
As this likeable fella and I chatted—and connected—he asked what I do for a living. I told him I’m an author of books about personal accountability. His immediate response was, “Well, that’s the way I raise my kids. It’s all about being responsible, ‘ya know!” I said, “Really? That’s terrific. Good for you. It’s the only way to live.”
Fast forward one month.
His crew was supposed to arrive and get to work yesterday morning at 8 AM. In response to my email around 10 AM, he said it would now be 1 PM. At 5:00 PM nobody had shown up and when I emailed Kyle, this smart-phone-to-smart-phone dialogue took place:
Kyle the Supplier: “In a mtg. Be there in the morning.”
John the Customer: “But what happened to today???”
Kyle the Supplier: “The day got away from us; finishing up on another project.”
John the Customer: “A phone call to let me know would’ve been nice.”
Kyle the Supplier: “Been in the mtg all afternoon with my cell turned off.”
While the customer with cash in hand waited the entire day …
Excuse-making, it’s one of the easiest things to do. Excuses are like pounds of fat on the body: They creep into our life. Until one day, when we look in the mirror hard with the keen eye of self-awareness and see them.
And the affect they have on our lives.
People who truly understand and practice personal accountability are extremely aware of the excuses that can slip easily from ones mouth. Accountable people are vigilant and diligent about not making any. In fact, they consistently avoid excuses by developing the emotionally mature reflex action—let’s call it a “habit”—of saying, “I’m sorry. I could’ve done better” or some pithy variation of that statement.
And now, as I reread this post, the words, “There but for the grace of God go I” come to mind.
Excuses. Have I made any lately?
PS: Recent (August 20th) interview on Parenting the QBQ Way.