Responsibility Without the “Yeah But”

May 25, 2021


On this show...we are owning up, stepping in, and taking responsibility without the…” Yeah but!”. No more should’a, could’a, would’a or only if. It’s time to come to terms with the role we’ve played and the choices we’ve made. Only when we own them can we learn and let go. Taking responsibility doesn’t mean you are shackled with regret and shame but the opposite, it’s a chance for freedom. The hamster wheel of rumination can easily trap you into a false sense of searching for the “why”. Keep going, just a little longer and it will all be clear. Instead, you’re in an endless loop of exhaustion, generalizing the events, blurring the lines, bending the facts, and ultimately finishing the story with whatever end you can tolerate. Today we will examine, learn, let go, and move on.

I played tennis for one year in high school. Now, I never fancied myself a tennis player nor did I even really understand the game when I went out for the team. You see, they weren’t necessarily a team to rivel which was apparent when I actually made the team. I was placed in doubles with a player who had grown up playing tennis at the country club. She was a little hot-headed but had a heck of a serve. Looking back I’m not sure I added anything to the pair except maybe some calmness and an attempt to return anything that came on my side of the court. For me, it was a 50-50 shot which for a less than novice player, was much better odds. I had a backup…..a “yeah but”. 

Excuses and justifications for our choices are as easy to come by as the air we breathe. Without much thought we bail ourselves out, defending our position at all costs. Sometimes we justify when there isn’t even a call to do so. It becomes second nature. What would happen if we just owned it? Good, bad, and ugly? Instead of just taking credit for our triumphs we took responsibility for our failures. Judgment and criticism are a fearful combination and it keeps us on the lamb. Let’s take a deeper dive into these ideas.

Adam Sicinski helps us out with WHEN PROBLEMS ARISE, HERE’S WHY YOU NEED TO TAKE FULL RESPONSIBILITY - an article he wrote for his blog, iqmatrix.com

Adam explains a lot about the reasons why taking responsibility is so hard then offers a five-step process for when life just doesn’t seem fair.

Step 1: Acknowledge You’re Responsible

Step 2: Recognize the Value of a Problem

Step 3: Take Ownership of the Problem

Step 4: Figure Out How to Solve the Problem

Step 5: Take Initiative to Instigate Change

Facing your failures is like the starting game you played as a child, at some point you have to blink or look away. It’s tough to admit that you weren’t strong enough or not smart enough or were too selfish. UGH, that’s a hard pill to swallow. Making poor choices based on your own selfish wants…..yeah but!  “Yeah but...you don’t know what I was going through at the time…” “Yeah but...they did worse than I did…” “Yeah but...I had to, I had no other options…” We’ve said them all to some degree. 

But by adding a “yeah but..” we give ourselves a pass to file it away, all safe, sound, and justified. We have this internal vault full of justifications and we can recall them to serve our current purposes at any time. 

What happens if we just admit we did it and then, were honest about why. What is the worst that could happen? 

We have to get to a point of acceptance, that the way we’ve always done it doesn’t work, that maybe life is bigger than us and our chokehold on the world isn’t preventing it from kicking our butt. Coming to the end of your understanding means you can be open to accepting new ideas and perceptions. 

Getting rid of the “yeah but” means you have the permission to glean the lesson from the failure and then instead of tucking it back into your internal file system, you can shred it for good. 

Andy Andrews wrote a book which I have referenced often, The Traveler’s Gift where the main character learns seven valuable life lessons.

Just a snippet from this powerful decision…

From this moment forward, I will accept responsibility for my past. I understand that the beginning of wisdom is to accept the responsibility for my own problems and that by accepting responsibility for my past, I free myself to move into a bigger, brighter future of my own choosing.

Never again will I blame my parents, my spouse, my boss, or employees for my present situation. Neither my education or lack of one, my genetics, or the circumstantial ebb and flow of everyday life will affect my future in a negative way. If I allow myself to blame these uncontrollable forces for my lack of success, I will be forever caught in a web of the past. I will look forward. I will not let my history control my destiny.

If both sides could just understand that responsibility has nothing to do with blame. It has everything to do with hope and control. If everyone could understand this, a lot more people would be grabbing for all the responsibility they could get their hands on because who among us doesn’t want to have hope for a greater future that we can control?


CHALLENGE: Be willing to own it, ALL. Your role, responsibility, outcome, and lesson. To achieve total freedom and the opportunity to move forward your need to let go. To truly let go, you need to forgive, and to forgive you need to understand. 


I Know YOU Can Do It!

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