Key #3 to finding freedom and clarity may be the most difficult concept to implement for the high achievers that we are. Be Irresponsible. If you were attracted to my site and are reading this far, you have likely made responsibility your hallmark. It has gotten you to where you are in life, and though you may be less-than-happy, you know the place you are, is deemed as “good.”
If you are part of “Generation X” like me, you may have also been a latchkey kid, meaning you were responsible for yourself, and possibly your siblings, at a very young age. Out of necessity, you learned to do things. You saw what needed to be done and did it, no questions asked. Your parent(s) praised you for this. You might have thought there was something wrong with you because they left you home alone and didn’t spend much time with you – but you sure knew that being responsible made you valuable and important, so this is what you did.
If you are of “Generation Y” perhaps, you were the focus of ample attention from your parent(s), being the fulfillment of all their dreams and expectations. Darn right you were responsible – if you weren’t they sure would notice and be quick to redirect you. And, boy, were they proud of you when you exhibited the high level of responsibility they instilled.
Whatever your generation (there really are no stereotypes in coaching anyway), if you are reading this you can likely relate to some feeling of being valued, validated, loved, and approved of, as a result of being responsible as a child.
So how is being responsible contributing to your lack of freedom, clarity, and even peace?
Any time we are doing something out of obligation, because we think we should, or it is needed to make us feel OK about ourselves, we are not free.
But really, what is the harm in being responsible? By most standards, the FACTS say that being responsible is good, and being irresponsible is bad. But being responsible is a double-edged sword. Some downsides to being highly responsible:
- If you see everything around you as something you are responsible for taking care of, you are likely overwhelmed and possibly even unhealthy. This is not being responsible to yourself or your loved ones.
- When you are responsible for everything, the people around you don’t have to, or get to, be responsible. You don’t give them the opportunity to know their power, so you diminish them.
- A source being overly responsible often comes from a view that your way is the best, and others can’t do it as well. This is right/wrong thinking and can often create distance between us and other people. We experience disconnection in life.
- Being responsible often goes hand in hand with being proactive. Being proactive is often an invitation for “problems” to occur. (MORE ON PROACTIVITY IN THE NEXT POST!)
Where in your life are you assuming responsibility for things without being asked? What could you stop doin right now to free up space to just be? What could you ask someone esle to do for you? How might you empower the people around you by giving up some responsibility?