A few weeks ago my wife and I attended Parents Day at our daughter’s elementary school. Our daughter’s homeroom teacher is a dedicated professional educator with over 20 years of experience teaching and mentoring children. We are very fortunate that she will work with our daughter’s class from 5th grade until they finish 6th grade and graduate from elementary school 21 months from now.
This caring, wise teacher started the orientation by sharing a list of 10 things she wants each student to internalize over the next few years. Here is the list (shared with permission):
10 Things I Want Students to Learn in 5th and 6th Grade
As we drove home and discussed our impressions, my wife and I came to the same conclusion:
These 10 things are the foundation of a happy life. We have taught our daughter many of them already, but seeing them together like this brought clarity and renewed commitment to help her more deeply internalize these beliefs. We hope that she will remember and live them her entire life.
We also discussed the fact that half of these beliefs are built into the accountability solutions we design for our clients.
But WHY do we discuss such core, basic concepts with adult learners? Why is there even a need for accountability training?
Because some adults have forgotten what they learned in childhood about accountability and taking ownership.
#1 Your Attitude Determines Your Future
My little girl needs to know that she is the captain of her own vessel. She gets to decide how she interprets and handles the various challenges and opportunities that come to her in life. There are few things more gratifying in coaching or training that when I see people connect with this belief and decide that they are the masters of their own destiny, not their bosses, their co-workers, their clients, or their spouses. This is at the core of accountability. It is also a key feature of the growth mindset that supports long term happiness and success.
#2 Stay Positive and Steady
Conversely, many of the problems I see on teams and in companies come from individuals or leaders who choose to interpret life and its challenges negatively. They bring themselves and everyone around them down because they take the easy way out and go negative when they are under stress.
If we make the decision to take a job at a company, then we have to learn how to deal with pressure and challenging circumstances. Not doing so is the opposite of accountability
#3 No Whining or Complaining
Is there any behavior more disempowering than complaining?
The moment we think to complain, we are already shifting responsibility for our own happiness and success onto others. There is a reason why the people who complain the most are also the most powerless and the most miserable.
I feel truly sorry for the people who care about these perpetually dissatisfied individuals and who must deal with their whining and moaning on a daily basis.
#4 Do Not Make Excuses for Failure; Find a Way to Succeed
Failure can be a failure of character (e.g. telling a lie), failure to keep a commitment, or failure to succeed.
Long ago I was exposed to the idea of the Victim Mentality vs. the Owner Mentality. Victims give up long-term empowerment and happiness so they can feel the relief of not being responsibility in the short term.
Owners pay a short term price—it isn’t fun to say you were wrong—for long term empowerment and happiness.
#5 Practice Gratitude
I recall a leadership program I delivered earlier this year in Guangdong Province, China. The people I worked with were smart and energetic, elite leaders in their company. They challenged me almost from the moment I opened my mouth.
I went to bed that evening dreading the next day of the program. Why did they need to question me so much? Why was it so hard to get them to engage in activity without selling them on its value first? Why was it difficult to get all of them back from breaks on time? I felt like a victim.
Sometime in the night, the part of my subconscious that saves me from myself activated. The moment I woke up in the morning, I started reflecting on how lucky I am to have a job I feel passionate about. One grateful thought after another passed through my consciousness.
I started the day energetic and optimistic, and had one of the best days of my career with that group of loveable rascals!
I realized that gratitude leads to enjoyment of whatever might be going on in life at the moment, and that appreciation leads to an attitude of accountability for whatever situation I may be in.
Thank you so much for reading. If I can help you personally in some way, please let me know.