Monday, February 10, 2014

Week 6: Be Accountable

Week 6_Be AccountableLast week, I was two days late publishing my weekly post and before it finally posted I had an equal number of inquiries regarding its whereabouts.

While I was delighted to know someone out there was waiting expectantly for the few thoughts I’d share, the inquiries sparked random personal thoughts about what it means to be accountable to others.

Merriam-Webster defines accountability as “the obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.”

We often think more about the “obligation” side of accountability and limit it to the context of crime and punishment. Shoplifters, car thieves and murderers must be held accountable for their crimes, right? But what about the “willingness to accept…” side of the coin and how does it play out in our daily lives?

To me, being accountable to others simply means being receptive to the tough questions. In my life, I’ve found that the “tough questions” are any questions that may prompt me to examine my actions, my decisions or the lack thereof to make sure they reflect the character of who I am, who I say I am or who I am aspiring to be.

Accountability looks a lot like the questions I received last week regarding what appeared to be a missing blog post. Whether intentional or not, those questions politely reminded me of what I said I would do on the site this year. The gentle nudge was designed to hold my feet to the fires of commitment and follow-through.

In this case, I was already on it (YAY me!), but what if I hadn’t been?  I would have been forced to examine my reason(s) for not keeping my word and posting once a week. Was the reason legitimate, like an emergency situation? Or was it something a bit less stellar like I just didn’t feel like it and I’m hoping no one will miss it. At the end of the day, I have to be willing to accept responsibility for my actions or inaction.

I’ll be honest. My answers to the “tough questions” aren’t always acceptable explanations. Sometimes they are more along the lines of my dog ate my homework or the devil made me do it. I’m sure we all can admit that. Being held accountable doesn’t guarantee I’ll always do the right thing or even have the right answer when I do the wrong thing. Being accountable says I’m willing to accept responsibility. And it says I’m open to that little nudge to remind me of what the right thing in any given situation may be. Because that’s just the kind of woman I am.

What do you think about being accountable to others? Do you welcome it or does it make you shake just a little? Remember, be honest 😉