By Harry Petsanis and Donna McCance
Accepting and following through on responsibilities and accounting for your actions is accountability. When you are held accountable for something, you are expected to justify your actions based on your decisions, whether to yourself or someone else.
External accountability may be required of you for various reasons, such as with your job, whereby you are held accountable to others, and internal accountability comes from holding yourself responsible for your commitments,
Accountability is not delegated to you. It is expected of you, either from yourself or someone else. Ultimately, it is up to you to perform, or not perform, and face the consequences.
The Defective Bricks in the Foundation of Accountability
The problem with accountability arises when people do not want to take ownership of their responsibilities and actions. They transfer the ownership onto someone or something else as a way to absolve themselves from taking action, being held accountable, and facing consequences.
Excuses, Blame, Fears, Insecurities,
Laziness, Rationalizations, and Justifications
People want to do nothing and not feel badly about it. They make up excuses so their lack of action isn’t on their conscience. Peoples' words and actions are in complete contradiction. They want to give the appearance that they want to take action, when in reality, they want nothing to do with the effort it takes to acquire the benefits that come from the hard work.
People verbalize the things that make them feel good about themselves, and when their actions don’t match their words, they create excuses, rationalizations and justifications as to why their actions don’t align with the things they’ve said. This behavior becomes so ingrained in a person’s psyche, their excuses, rationalizations and justifications become facts in their minds.
People say “I was going to do this, but…, “I was going to do that, but…” Whatever is said after the word “but” is usually an excuse or lie for their lack of intent or ambition for doing anything. The use of the word “but” is usually a precursor to an excuse or a lie.
Blaming other people for your shortcomings doesn’t resolve them. Blaming other people for how your life has turned out will never lead you to the life you say you want to live. When you point a finger at someone else, all you’ve got to do to resolve your issues is to point that finger back at you.
Most people fail because they’re not willing to do what it takes to be successful. They tell everyone, including themselves, they’re going to achieve great things, but their actions often completely contradict their words. The truth is most people are too lazy, unaccountable, and don’t want to do whatever it takes to achieve success. They just want to tell everyone and tell themselves that they want greatness, when in reality their actions show they want nothing to do with success or greatness.
People pre-assess the amount of work that is required before they determine if they are going to attempt undertaking a task. The reason most people don’t take on tasks is because they are unwilling to put in the work required that the pre-assessment told them is necessary for accomplishment.
Many people choose the easiest path and talk instead of act. It’s why they complain instead of resolve. It’s why they live a life that’s unfulfilled. If people took one tenth of the energy and time into resolving their issues than they do into complaining about them, they wouldn’t have any issues to complain about.
Our greatest failure is allowing our fears and insecurities to determine our fate. Most people don't live the life they say they want and say they intend to live, they live the life others expect them to live. That isn't living, it's existing. We allow our fears to determine our decisions. We also allow our fears to become our excuse to never excel. Part of that is based in fear, but part of it is based in choice. People will tell you they're afraid of failing, but what they are often afraid of is not succeeding and taking accountability for the responsibilities necessary to achieve success. (See our blog on Fear, October 11, 2021)
We have become a society that has convinced ourselves that words are actions and if we say something, it’s the equivalent of doing something. If we talk about something, it’s the equivalent of accomplishing something. If we verbalize something, it’s synonymous with achieving something. The reality is many people talk, not as a precursor to acting, but to avoid accountability. (See our blog on Authenticity, October 25, 2021)
A New Foundation of Accountability
Truly aligning what you do with what you say requires discipline, focus, attention to detail, and an unbelievable willingness to change many of the things in your life. This requires accountability. You must undertake the effort necessary to create change.
The reason our lives don't change is because our perspectives don't change. We have a hard time focusing and concentrating, and when we do, it’s often on the wrong things.
We focus on defeat, instead of victory.
We focus on pain, instead of strength.
We focus on fear, instead of courage.
We spend our lives talking,
instead of doing.
We’re consumed with conforming, instead of being authentic.
We spend more time making excuses, than we do owning our poor choices.
We avoid responsibility because we don’t want to take accountability.
Everything in life is a mindset. You can talk yourself into anything. You can talk yourself out of anything. Many people say “I can’t do this. I’m not able to do that. I wish I could do this. I want to do that,” instead of saying ‘I’m going to do this. I’ve done this.” If you want to achieve anything in life, it first starts with your mindset. You’re never going to achieve anything until you believe you’re capable of doing anything. Every time you hear yourself or someone else use the word “can’t,” you should automatically replace it with “won’t.”
Stop looking for the weak link to not doing something. The key to accountability is accepting responsibility, taking action, and not allowing yourself to fear the consequences because you know you will put forth your best effort in fulfilling your obligations. We live in a world where we hold everyone accountable, except ourselves. We’re not ignorant regarding accountability. We’re aware of it, we just refuse to apply it to ourselves
Success begins and ends with you. Your words, actions, motivation, and inspiration can never come from an external source. Success requires a champion mindset which is holding yourself accountable for your efforts, hard work, determination, resilience, focus, refusal to quit, refusal to make excuses, persevering and overcoming every obstacle.
"It’s time to grow up and
step into adulthood.
It’s time to quit blaming your past.
It’s time to quit blaming others.
It’s time to quit making excuses.
It’s time to hold yourself accountable."
About the Authors
Harry Petsanis is a mindset and accountability coach, philosopher of human nature, consultant, and lifelong fitness and nutrition expert. He is a writer and author, with two published books: “The Truth is A Lie” and “The Logical Path To Life.” His book “The Truth is A Lie” was nominated by the 2019 Author Academy Awards in the "best self help" book category. Harry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism. He has an intense passion for psychology and the human condition.
Click here to order Harry Petsanis’s books.
Donna McCance, M.Ed. is a business administrator, licensed teacher and principal/vice principal with over 20 years experience teaching in elementary education and educational leadership. She has a Masters in Education, Masters in Human Services Management, Bachelors in Business Administration and Associates in Business Administration.