Commitment & Responsibility

As you can tell by my blog’s name, I’m always interesting in what makes us actually do something. This weekend I had a epiphany I thought I’d share.

Wanting

Wanting doesn’t matter to action. The whole idea started when someone told me they have wanted to do something for a long time, but haven’t. I’ve wanted to take the EMT course for years and never had until recently. It was that thought process that ultimately taught me the key. And the key is easy once you know it.

Wanting doesn’t matter. We all know things we’ve wanted to do and haven’t, as well as things we really didn’t want to do but did any way.

What is the difference?

In one sense it was we stopped wanting to and started having to. Maybe some outside force made us do it, or we got such a strong desire for it that we just had to do it.

Commitment

The first key to actually doing something is to commit to doing it. Some people would say this is a point of decision, but I find deciding is only the first step. You have to say, “I’m going to do this…no matter what”.

Commitment is accepting there are going to be obstacles and you are going to deal with them. Which brings us the next part…

Responsibility

You have to take responsibility for what you have committed to. You can’t just say, “OK, I’m going to do this.” and then do nothing. You have to take responsibility for making it happen.

Steve Covey says in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, that we all have response-ability. The ability to make responses to stimuli. Taking responsibility means you are going to respond to things that happen.

Responsibility means deciding you are the one who is going to make decisions. Too often we decided to do something, even commit to it, but when we hit an obstacle or decision point we look for someone else to make the choice. We believe that person is responsible and we need to look to them for answers.

But you can’t have responsibility without the power to make decisions. If your boss held you responsible for a project’s outcome, but never let my make decision about it, you’d be pissed, because you know that isn’t responsibility. But often we don’t want to make the decisions because we don’t want to be responsible.

Until you take responsibility you can’t accomplish what you want. And once you do take responsibility you can make decision with a clear conscious.

Example: Puppy Transport

This weekend the Mrs and I were in New Orleans shooting video of the Faith and The Muse concert. Monica Richards, the lead singer of FatM, is an animal rescuer. While in the French Quarter she saw a puppy a couple of bums had. She asked them if the dog had water and they said no, and when asked when the dog had last eaten they said “Hey we need to eat.”

Now you see why I used the term bums. The dog was just a prop to get people to give them money.

Well she gave them $30 bucks for the dog and decided to take it home with her. She took it to a vet and got it dewormed and boarded. But they didn’t really have room for it on the tour van.

Enter Ron. My buddy was the promoter for the show and the show in Houston. He was willing to keep the dog in Houston, but didn’t have room to take it, so he asked me if I could.

I hemmed a little because I didn’t want to be troubled. But when I finally decided I was going to do it, I committed. I was going to make sure the dog got to Houston and turn it over to the band and my friend.

Having been thinking about this I noticed how hard it was to keep going back to Monica and my friend Marc trying to make decisions. So I just took responsibility for the dog. Tell me where it is and what I need to to get it and I’ll return it to you on Sunday in Houston.

After that it was easy. The decisions were mine. The actions naturally followed. Picked up the dog from the vet, transported it to our house, kept it overnight and returned it to the band on Sunday at a BBQ at Marc’s house.

Next time you aren’t sure about doing something, or keep feeling the need to ask others what you should be doing, commit to accomplishing the task and then take responsibility for seeing it done.

Here’s a little AWWWW puppy footage.
Puppy Video