QBQ! fans know that accountable folks don’t ask Incorrect Questions (IQs) such as:
“Why don’t I ever get a break?”
“When will they communicate better?”
“Who dropped the ball?”
QBQ! believers know that IQs like these lead to Victim Thinking, Procrastination, and Blame. They also know that asking The Question Behind the Question (QBQ) is the way to eliminate these traps. QBQs such as, “What can I do to solve the problem?” and “How can I contribute?” make the difference. This is all good.
But once a person takes QBQ! to heart and begins to practice personal accountability, there are a few outward signs—traits and characteristics—she or he will exhibit. Here are just three:
“What you see is what you get” is what you see and get from people who take ownership for their lives. Not sure why, maybe it’s the “I’m happy in my own skin” thing. A confident-from-the-inside-out person readily says, “Yep, my bad” and “Right, it was my mistake.” In fact, they’ll go there as easily as an inauthentic person—as my mentor used to see—will spend time “looking good rather than being good.”
People who choose not to blame others in an attempt to hide their imperfections, deep-down insecurities, and self-esteem deficits—who have little to no need to play the recrimination game—are more genuine. This is appealing and attractive.
Karen and I write this in Parenting the QBQ Way:
Accountable parents model humility by using the magic words for developing and maintaining a healthy relationship: “I’m sorry.” Humility and contrition are foundational to effective parenting, and it’s simply vital that we bring them to our families. A little “I’m sorry, I was wrong. I don’t know everything!” goes a long way.
People who are committed to personal accountability keep a mirror handy. Pulling it out often, they ask the QBQ, “Well, what could I have done differently?” And if the thought response is, Hmm, several things! then it just isn’t difficult for them to utter those outstanding words, “I’m sorry.”
Consider this: People who avoid the traps of blame, finger-pointing, whining, complaining, procrastinating are just happier people. It may be a claim on my part, but it’s a claim based on research conducted since I entered the training business in 1986.
I mean, what’s joyful about a whiner?!?
“Joy” isn’t a word we use much, but it’s a great place to live. When we are filled with joy, there’s greater contentment with what we have, more peace within, and a lot less tension and stress. “She’s happy-go-lucky” and “He’s easy to be around” are descriptions of joyful people. Practicing personal accountability in all things is one way of getting there.
So there’s our short list. Discussion question:
What other traits and characteristics come with living a life of personal accountability?
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