As we spend time together in pursuit of becoming a transformational leader, I think one thing is clear and the research confirms what we have learned. That is that each of us is responsible for three things. No one else is responsible for these except us.
Each of us is responsible for our thoughts. We’re responsible for our feelings. And we’re responsible for our actions. So our thoughts feelings, and actions each line up with knowledge, attitude, and behavior. Thoughts come from the knowledge we have. Feelings come from our attitudes about that knowledge. And behavior comes from our actions that result from those feelings. We are all responsible for these. Each one of us. No one else has control over what I’m thinking and feeling and doing. Only I do.
Now, let me ask you a question. Whose hand is your hand? Who has complete control over that hand? Who can cause you to hit someone with that hand?
Now take that hand and point to the side of your head. Put it right there pointing at your brain area and hold it there. Question: Whose brain is that? Who has complete control over the thoughts in that brain? Who can cause you to have negative thoughts? Who can cause you to have positive thoughts?
Okay, let me apologize in advance. I may hurt you just a little bit with this one. This question may have a little sting to it. You ready? Here we go. Place your finger on your mouth. Now, whose mouth is that? Who has complete control over what comes out of that mouth? Who can encourage and affirm with that mouth? Who can hurt and do damage with that mouth?
The questions are finished now. Thank you for indulging me. Thank you for joining me in the answers to these questions. Go ahead and relax, and let’s process what we learned from these questions and your answers.
The obvious answer to each one of those questions is “I am.” I am personally responsible. Each of us is responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. Although we often want to and try to blame others for what’s going on in our brain, this little hand dance and the answers to these questions make it painfully obvious that we are responsible for these three areas in our life. No one else can make you keep a thought in your head. No one else can make you feel a way you don’t want to feel. No one else can make you act in a way you don’t want to act. No one else can make you say something you don’t choose to say.
Here’s the positive result of recognizing that knowledge and attitude and behavior feed our thoughts, feelings, and actions. We have power. We don’t have to be held hostage to what others do or say to us. We don’t even have to be held hostage to our own thoughts, feelings, and actions. We can take responsibility for ourselves. When we do, that gives us the power to change, the power to become a transformational leader who understands their own personal responsibility.
Ford Taylor is a leadership strategist, keynote speaker, and the author of Relactional Leadership. As the Founder of Transformational Leadership, he is known as a man who can solve complex business issues, with straightforward practical solutions, while maintaining his focus on people.