Reactive or Resourceful? You Can’t Be Both at the Same Time!

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“Either you own your work, your time, and your results, or you delegate ownership to other people. When you take ownership, you become resourceful because success or failure are in your own hands.”

~ Chandell Labbozzetta

Your Actions Tell the Story

If you wanted to predict the long term success of an employee, colleague, family member… or even yourself, you might be surprised to learn that there’s an easy way to do it.

Find out if they’re reactive or resourceful.

Resourceful people are generally happier, more productive, and more likely to achieve their goals than those who spend their days reacting to people, news, and circumstances.

Let’s start by defining our terms:

A reactive person:

  • Keeps an eye on their email or message system to discover what they need to work on each day;
  • Is easily interruptible and highly distracted because they make other people’s problems their priorities;
  • Often fails to complete their tasks and meet deadlines causing problems for colleagues;
  • Has a long list of excuses (or reasons) why things didn’t work out.

A resourceful person:

  • Starts each day with a plan (often formulated the night before) – which might involve troubleshooting an issue or responding to someone else;
  • Focuses on the most important things and responds to emergencies appropriately and decisively because they have clarity;
  • Meets deadlines consistently and makes their colleagues lives’ easier;
  • Takes responsibility for failures and mistakes and makes a plan to avoid future occurrences;
  • Celebrates successes.

Which group did you fall into?

Attitude Underlies Action

Your actions show your resourcefulness. Your attitudes determine your resourcefulness.

IF you believe…

  • That other people should pay the price for your mistakes
  • That you should follow instructions blindly even when there is no urgency about the situation
  • That it’s not your place to make suggestions or point out potential pitfalls
  • That you should wait for direction and not proactively look for tasks that need to be completed…

THEN… you will always have a long list of reasons why things do or do not work out.

That may shield you comfortably from any blame, but it will also erode your self-esteem and make long-term success unlikely. It may be a sliding scale, rather than a binary choice, but most people are consistent through all areas of their life.

Reactivity and the Erosion of Self-Esteem

When Adrian came to see me, he was worried about all the work that needed to get finished so that he could support his family and spend more time with them. He felt as though he was struggling to perform at work and at home and every day he felt more of a failure. It was clear that he was so busy reacting to the world around him that he felt totally unresourceful and it was also clear that his diminishing self-respect was going to catch up with him even though he presented a confident and decisive face to the world.

As we talked about what was going on at work, it was clear that Adrian was showing up each day and checking email to decide what his first task would be. By the time he got around to the tasks that would create momentum (when he was able to do so) it was already late in the day, time was short and his energy was at a low level. He knew that he was not making the contribution he wanted to and day by day his self-esteem was slipping away. Toward the end of our first session, he finally shared the incident that was the tipping point for him – the evidence that he needed outside help:

“You know the old joke about ‘the dog ate my homework’? I’ve found myself tempted to make excuses and blame other people whenever there’s a stuff-up.

Once upon a time (not very long ago), my attitude was, ‘If I worked on it, then I own it.’ Now I’ve slipped into the habit of ‘shared work, shared responsibility’. The problem with that is that if no-one honestly owns the work, then you can’t fix it.

I don’t want to be that person because:

1. It really does affect the way I see myself and flow over into all my relationships; and

2. I get mad when I hear other people shifting blame.”

Can you help me go back to where I used to be?

Adrian’s Intervention

I was impressed by Adrian’s openness and self-awareness.

He had seen the erosion of his self-esteem and decided to ask for help because, although he had identified his unwanted behaviour correctly, he wasn’t sure about the cure. In addition, he was worried because the behaviours he hated in himself were evident in those around him as well: blame shifting, making excuses, wasted effort…

I shared with Adrian a simple, yet powerful technique that I teach in my coaching and online programs that helped him become more resourceful… And the results were fast and fantastic!

Within a month his:

  • Depression vanished;
  • Interest and engagement with his wife and kids was renewed – along with an increased awareness of their respect for him;
  • Productivity skyrocketed;
  • Sense of self-esteem, purpose and clarity increased;
  • Work offered him a promotion and pay rise.

And do you know what… When his inner landscape changed, so did his income and;

Internal Accountability

All the talk of the Pandemic and the many ways that governments have intervened to overturn previously autonomous businesses has eroded people’s sense of resourcefulness and personal power at an alarming rate. I’m concerned about the impact on businesses and even more concerned about the effect on people’s mental and emotional health that is evident in the way people are responding to challenges.

At the end of the day, the only person whom you can really be accountable for is yourself. Internal accountability is hard work, which is why most people turn to coaches and mentors for external accountability. The problem is that sometimes a coach or mentor will take your excuses and the stories you tell yourself on board because they don’t want to be the bad guy. That’s why my programs provide accountability, but are designed to help you become your own accountability partner: aware, determined, and resourceful rather than dependent on an external source.

Next week we’re going to talk about how you can change those unresourceful attitudes and actions so that you can create the success you want, and build your self-esteem quickly, without expensive therapy.

Discover what’s next –

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