Space: Choice

“Between stimulus and response is a space.
In that space is the freedom and power to choose.”

Steven Covey

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Space

Choice

Let’s talk about choice. When you realize that you have infinite choices available to you all the time, every day, all day long, then you can start to free yourself.

You can start to take ownership of your life.

Somehow we’re conditioned to believe that we have no choice, that we have to do this or that we have to do that, or that we’re constrained to simply right and wrong.

I love a wonderful short poem from the Sufi poet, Rumi, who said, “Out beyond right and wrong is a field. I’ll meet you there.”

We talk about the mental state of Responsibility as being the mental state of freedom, choice and power. When you believe that you have no choices, that’s a pretty good indication that you’re somewhere coping below the line.

I want you to say to yourself, “I want to take 100% ownership of this,” and get yourself to the mental state of where you own it.

In that state, you’re able to generate. You’re able to see how you made choices that created the situation, and the choices that you can make to change it.

Here’s what you can do today.

My homework for you is to catch yourself saying, “I have no choice.” And then saying, “I must be coping. Let me change that. Let me get to the mental state of Responsibility.”

I have a whole website full of resources for you. I’m here for you. Call on me. Send your questions. I look forward to hearing from you.

The Responsibility Process

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Responsibility Answers: Will TRP Work in my Culture?

“The Responsibility Process itself is not different across cultures, because it’s nature. What is different across cultures is nurture.”

Responsibility Answers

Will The Responsibility Process Work in my Culture?

I get asked a lot, “Will The Responsibility Process® work in my culture?” The answer that I always give is, “It’s already at work in your culture. How’s it working?”

Now, what do I mean by that? Well, first of all, I love that someone’s asking me this question because they’re intrigued, they’re inspired, they want to know how to improve, they want to know how to improve their workplace.

Thank you for wondering and for asking. They’re also asking because they realize, at some level, even if unconsciously, they realize what an uphill battle it might be to change a culture from a coping culture to a growth culture.

When I say it’s already at work in your culture, I’m really acknowledging what I think their fear is – which is that it might be difficult to change this culture.

When I say it’s already at work, I mean The Responsibility Process is always at work all the time in everybody, everytime something goes wrong.

So, if you’re in a culture focused on problems, are you’re in a culture focused on control, authority, focused on approval? Do you find yourself trying to be seen and heard, accepted and approved of in your organization? Or is it offered to you automatically?

Are you just automatically offered approval as a skilled worker and human being and trusted? Some organizations are good at that, many aren’t.

The more your organization is in the mode of controlling, and punishing of mistakes, the more problems you’re going to have.

In that environment, everything is a problem – which means The Responsibility Process is going to get triggered in everybody all the time. And there is going to be a bunch of toxicity, lots of Blame and Justify.

People are going to be made to feel shamed, and do things out of Obligation. If that’s your culture, I’m sorry, and I understand wanting to change it. So let’s talk about what you can do.

Here’s what you can do today.

The first thing is, don’t try and change a thing except yourself. You are so powerful, so free, so much at choice. You’re far more powerful than you usually give yourself credit for.

The first thing I want you to do is to come to understand that by studying and demonstrating Responsibility for yourself. Forget everybody else, right? I’m here for you. We’re here for you. We have a boatload of free resources for you to study Responsibility and start to practice. And of course, we have programs to help you do that.

Then look around your culture, and see if you can find one or two people to study Responsibility with you, and to demonstrate responsibility at work.

If you can, then I suggest to you that maybe you can change the culture of your organization bit by bit, by bit. If you can’t find anybody who will partner with you to demonstrate this, or if it just is too, too hard, then you may want to look at moving to a different culture.

The Responsibility Process

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Responsibility Immersion Why & Who

Responsibility Immersion Values

Responsibility Immersion Why & Who

This post began as an informational email series from Christopher for people interested in learning about Responsibility Immersion. Our team built this post from that email series so that the information persists and so we (and you) can easily reference the information.

If you want to assess whether Responsibility Immersion (aka, Immersion or RI) might be for you, consider this post as your next step. Christopher reviews for you our data on

  • who “hires” Immersion (roles, industries, countries, etc.),
  • what “job” they hire Immersion to do for them, and
  • what benefits they report at the end of the 20 weeks.

Its purpose is to support you in exploring whether Immersion might be a fit for you. We focus on value for you — no selling.

We are honored by your time and attention. Thank you. Please let us know if you have questions or comments.

The balance of this post is edited from the five emails that make up our RI Why & Who series. This content is a lightly edited version of the original emails.

The post is about 4800 words. It will take the average reader 16 minutes. But leave yourself time to explore the links.

Click a section title to jump to that section:

Part 1: A fly-over of what, who, and why

I’m grateful that you want to know more about Responsibility Immersion through this RI Why & Who series. I never know who the next human spark in the world-wide Responsibility community might be. It could be you — so I am willing to support all who are interested.

First…

Are you the intended audience for this series?

Before we go any further, let’s make sure you are investing your time and attention well.

This series is intended for those who:

  1. already understand the basics of The Responsibility Process and what it is for, and
  2. see themselves as a potential candidate for a 20-week immersive Zoom and online growth experience.

This email series is not intended to give an introduction and overview of The Responsibility Process. If that is what you seek, please explore some overview pages on this site. I also recommend your own search on responsibility+process+avery. That can keep you entertained for hours.

Thank you. Let’s move on…

What this post is and is not

This post is intended to give you the information you can use to sense whether Immersion can serve you at this point in your life. It is not meant to sell you on the next cohort of Responsibility Immersion (aka, Immersion or RI).

As already stated, I will make no sales pitch or offer to buy in this article.

I trust this is okay with you.

(And, if you don’t want to wait for the rest of this series, or if you wish to ask a question — which I encourage as it helps me learn what’s on your mind — please just reach out by email and open a dialog.)

Okay, briefly, what is Responsibility Immersion?

(Briefly. No need to give you all the details at this point.)

RI is a 16-week course that you get 20 weeks to complete (so there are 4 weeks of buffer built-in, because “life happens”).

Immersion is designed to activate Responsibility-thinking by immersing you in a Responsibility culture.

The course requires 2-3 hours per week (total) of instruction and application. You get immediate benefit, i.e., increased ability to function in your life, from each application.

You receive the content in 16 weekly 90-minute interactive Zoom sessions scheduled on a weekday (not Friday) at 11:00 A.M. Central time (UTC -6). These 16 sessions are recorded and posted in your Immersion portal for replay in case you cannot attend live.

central element of the course is being part of an Immersion cohort peer-group while also studying and practicing alongside more advanced students. These advanced students embody a culture of Responsibility where you see the contrast between the coping culture that you most likely live in and a true growth culture of Responsibility.

(In a subsequent section in this series, I’ll delve deeper into this idea of being immersed in a culture of Responsibility — a huge contributor to your learning and growth.)

It’s a very effective learning environment.

By the way, you can always see the basic details, including the dates for the next cohort, on the Responsibility Immersion product page.

That’s enough of an overview for now.

And please do send your questions to hello@responsibility.com. Your questions help me improve the value of the information I provide.

Now, let’s get into the who & why that you asked for.

(Note, because this is part one of the blog post, and I feel it is important to touch on each of the points above, it is a long part one. Good news, though. You are half-way through, and the rest is what you really asked for. Enjoy.)

Who “hires” Immersion, and for what “job”?

The title of this section comes from the language of product development and management. That’s the art and science of understanding the requirements for a product.

The idea is to figure out what job your customer hires your product to do for them.

That’s challenging to do for many products — including this one, Immersion. We’ll invest the remainder of this series giving you a variety of perspectives on this.

Let’s start with a high-level overview of the who.

The who

Here’s what we know about Immersion graduates. They are

  • predominantly technical professionals (along with photographers, homemakers, entrepreneurs, and general managers),
  • 30-50 years old, though we have younger and older graduates,
  • about 60% male and 40% female, and,
  • from about 30 countries mostly in the Americas and Europe.

(My apologies to Singapore, Japan, Australia, India, Thailand, and others. We love you. Our chosen time for live web-meetings makes Immersion less optimally-timed for you in Australasia.

We have had some guests from your region. I’m always so impressed when they attend a live call and it is 2 or 3 A.M. for them. Respect!

Our hope is to one day be able to offer Responsibility Immersion at times that are optimal for Australasia.)

Immersion is very popular in all the “agile” arenas:

  • agile software development,
  • agile project/program management,
  • agile business,
  • agile leadership, and
  • agile “flavors” such as Scrum, Lean, SAFe, and KanBan.

Why “agile”?

Because people interested in agility are early adopters of The Responsibility Process. Ownership, self-leadership, owning problems, and collaboration are important values and principles in agile arenas. And Responsibility-thinking is core to all of them.

Here’s an overview of agility from the major trade association, the Agile Alliance.

HOWEVER…

…Immersion is much wider and deeper than agility and you need not be an “agilista” to join us in Immersion.

Okay. Time to look at what Immersion guests hire Immersion to do for them.

The why

For what job do guests hire immersion?

We’ve already looked at one job group above — agility — as an aspect of exploring the who.

Lots of Immersion guests hire Immersion to become more agile. To elaborate just a bit on how that works, Responsibility-thinking increases your ability to respond.

Respond to what?

Respond to change, problems, roadblocks, obstacles, and challenges — stuff! aka crap.

(I bet you can relate.)

Responsibility-thinking makes you more flexible, adaptable, and resilient, and that means you are more resourceful and more able to handle change and uncertainty.

Okay, moving along from agileness…

Something that pretty much defines Immersion guests is that they are each deeply interested in

  • Self-leadership (personal growth and improvement), and/or,
  • Leadership (informal/assumed, cross-functional, peer, team, department), and/or,
  • Coaching (life, executive, leadership, enterprise, agile, even little league and soccer).

Some Immersion guests identify with one or two of these areas. Many guests identify strongly with all three.

Let’s leave it here for now

I sense this is enough to process for now.

The next part takes it deeper by delving into data we’ve collected from Immersion guests about who they are and what they want from Immersion.

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Part 2: Who, more specifically?

Let’s continue this RI Why & Who series with some data about who joins Responsibility Immersion and why.

I have data to share.

For two recent cohorts, I invited Immersion participants to complete an Immersion Beginning Snapshot survey.

(I’m doing some quick cut & paste here from a Google Forms report instead of exporting the data and manipulating it myself or having it done — both a little time-intensive for now — I trust you can work with these data.)

This first chart reports on our question asking “who you are”. Respondents could check all that apply, so the totals add to more than the 45 respondents.

Who are Responsibility Immersion participants

The chart rendering is incomplete, so I transcribed the information:

  • I consider myself an Agilist (i.e., I work in or with the agile industry) – 29
  • I am currently in a coaching role – 25
  • I aspire to be in a coaching role – 9
  • I am currently in a leadership role (formal or informal) – 31
  • I aspire to be in a leadership role – 8
  • I am a new Immersion student – 27
  • I am a continuing Mastery member participating in Immersion – 15
  • I am Immersion Faculty – 5

Now looking at this, one thing that surprises: Only 29 of the 45 folks — about 65% — consider themselves an agilist. That’s cool. I estimated higher. I’m glad about this.

(I want us to reach everywhere, well beyond any one industry.)

You may wonder about the last two items:

  • I am a continuing Mastery member participating in Immersion – 15
  • I am Immersion Faculty – 5

To create a Responsibility culture in which guests can be immersed, we involve more than new RI guests in Immersion. We also include ongoing members of Responsibility Mastery as well as Immersion Faculty.

I’ll describe each.

Responsibility Immersion and Responsibility Mastery (aka, RM or Mastery) are “sister” products.

Mastery is a membership community that existed prior to us offering Immersion. Mastery included everything in Immersion. It was known as The Leadership Gift Program.

(You may still see some of this “Leadership Gift” language here and there as it fades to the background in favor of simpler labels.)

The purpose of Responsibility Mastery is to provide a community of ongoing support for each member’s journey toward life mastery through mastering Responsibility.

(Remember that the purpose of Immersion is to activate Responsibility thinking in you. It does not promise mastery in 20 weeks. I wish!)

We invite Mastery members to join an Immersion cohort and participate alongside guests. Why would they do this? They see great value in repeating the Core Modules and Q&A Dialogs.

And they love to support new guests in their learning.

So what about Faculty?

Immersion Faculty are Mastery members that we invite to host some of the Zoom meetings. They have each demonstrated tremendous growth over an extended period of time as Mastery members and have been recognized for that growth.

Thus Immersion guests get face-time with me and with an international faculty of Responsibility students with proven track records of Responsibility-thinking.

Okay, let’s close this out

In this part we looked at some data about who participates in Immersion. We also learned a bit more about how Immersion creates a culture of Responsibility in which to immerse guests.

Next we’ll look at more data about what guests tell us they want from their Immersion experience.

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Part 3: What problem does Immersion solve?

One way to look at a product is to ask what problem it solves. Another is to ask what benefit it provides. In this part we look at data we’ve collected about problems that Immersion guests want to address.

Then we’ll segue just a bit into benefits at the end of this email.

What problem areas?

Let’s look at the data about what problems are on the mind of Responsibility Immersion guests and why. These data come from the same Immersion Beginning Snapshot we looked at yesterday.

(Does it feel weird reading or hearing “these data” instead of “this data”? It feels weird saying it and writing it. Yet data is the plural of datum. Weird indeed.)

Here, to get at the question of “for what job are you engaging Immersion?” we asked “what problem areas currently have your attention?”

(As a quick aside I remind you that the trigger for The Responsibility Process is something going wrong, i.e., a problem. People interested in Responsibility-thinking realize — and are willing to acknowledge — that they experience problems, large and small, which they want to learn to own and overcome, not merely cope with.)

Let’s look at the chart.

What problem areas have your attention?

I’ll transcribe the data to fill in the missing parts, then explore a few things that I see in it.

  • Feeling stuck in life or at work – 14
  • Experiencing persistent, pesky problems – 17
  • Leading or coaching underperforming organizations – 19
  • Your own leadership performance – 21
  • Relationship issues – 16
  • Leading or being on low performing teams – 11
  • A habit of poor personal choices – 10
  • Feeling powerless and undervalued – 14
    _________________________________
  • I am entering true, collaborative teamwork for the first time in my life. Previously I had some limiting beliefs and poor understanding of boundaries/responsibility and avoiding teamwork with individual responsibilities – 1
  • Persistent need for control – 1
  • Health issues – 1
  • I blame myself often and it affects my happiness – 1
  • Redesigning my life – 1

The first eight items are distilled from years of listening and observing what problems people bring to the Immersion experience.

AND — this is fun — the questionnaire invited respondents to write-in other problems that are on their minds. So, you see the five items at the bottom of the list that each garnered one vote. Those were the write-ins.

We might improve future versions of the Immersion Beginning Snapshot by adding some of these items.

Now, take notice of the higher numbers for the items specifically related to work.

Just mark this in your mind for now. When we get to email #5 in this series we’ll see that what graduates take away from Immersion is actually deeper and broader than what they anticipated at the beginning.

Okay. Switching gears…

What are the benefits?

Here at the close of this part, I want to expand just a tad on what job our guests engage Immersion for.

Here’s a short list of four compelling benefits of practicing Responsibility-thinking that have resonated with folks:

  • growing faster,
  • getting unstuck,
  • having more impact, and
  • being the one others want to follow.

(Yeah, they resonate with me too.)

The next part dives into the data we have about the benefits people seek from Immersion.

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Part 4: Specific benefits of Responsibility Immersion

In the last part we looked at what job Immersion guests engage (or hire, or employ) Responsibility Immersion for. Today, let’s look at the benefits that graduates report experiencing.

I just realized that while I’m sure I understand the concept of benefits, I did not actually know the definition. So I looked it up.

Benefits are something that is advantageous or good; an advantage. (dictionary.com)

Marketing teachers and consultants almost always recommend communicating a short list of benefits for any product or service.

In the last part I closed with such a short list:

  • growing faster,
  • getting unstuck,
  • having more impact, and
  • being the one others want to follow.

The challenge of coming up with a short list of benefits for Responsibility-thinking is that the levels and types of benefits are endless.

Why?

Because success gurus since Socrates have taught that taking 100% personal Responsibility for your life is the first principle of success in any endeavor.

The first principle of success.

In any endeavor.

Any.

Inspirational author and speaker Jack Canfield, best known for his Chicken Soup for the Soul books (now an enterprise with over 250 titles), wrote extensively about personal responsibility as the first principle of success in his excellent book Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be.

Chapter 1 is: Take 100% responsibility for your life.

I share this because the specific benefits of practicing Responsibility are endless, from making money to making pasta, from living with an amazing love to living with joy.

You get the picture.

It all depends on what you want. Or…

What you want to change (in your life or in the world). Or…

Who you want to be. Or…

What you want to have in your life. Or…

How you want to be in the world. Or…

You name it!

(You may notice I don’t use a lot of exclamation points. I find they are overused!! [See?] I prefer to let the words do the exclaiming. So when I use one, as I just did, I mean it. (-: )

Taking all of this into consideration, it’s really a business’s specific product offer to a specific audience that shapes what benefits the business can promise and deliver on. For instance, the same heavy duty truck sold to the military and to the general public may offer different benefits to each even though the features are identical.

So, since our marketplace is primarily technical professionals who are interested in

  • self-leadership for personal and professional development,
  • leadership, both formal and informal, and
  • coaching, then,

The list of specific benefits is one that is meaningful to them.

Take a look at these data from the same Immersion Beginning Snapshot that we’ve already looked at.

What benefits of practicing responsibility most appeal to you?

And since some of the important text is missing from the chart, here is my transcription:

  • Be a better leader of self and others – 35
  • Make better decisions – 17
  • Face and solve problems – 21
  • Improve my resourcefulness – 15
  • Enjoy mental clarity – 25
  • Reduce stress – 20
  • Be more fulfilled – 14
    __________________
  • I want it all. All of the above. No limit of 4! – 1*
  • Be a better partner, friend and mother – 1
  • Placating is my forward stance. I’d like to reduce placating. – 1
  • Raise my awareness and mindfulness – 1

*(The questionnaire asked respondents to choose their top four from this list.)

I sure am glad that we allow respondents to enter their own items. It helps me learn so much more about the benefits our guests seek.

The good news is this: Since we are teaching Responsibility-thinking, we can help a guest experience any benefit they can dream of.

That’s cool.

I wish to observe something for you about these specific benefits before we close out for today. Notice that the benefits can be lumped into two categories:

  • being betterand
  • feeling better.

Being better (which I see as the first 4 or 5 items in the list before the write-ins) is all about participating in our economic systems so that we are better contributors and so we will also be better rewarded. This is a fairly general “want” of most professionals (which is who we serve).

Feeling better (which I see as the final 2 or 3 in the list before the write-ins) is all about one’s experience of life — peace, joy, happiness, abundance, etc.

This is what I want and intend for everyone at work, that all can be both productive and happy without limits. And I’m pleased that Immersion brings these together.

In the next part we look at what graduates say they actually received from the 20 weeks of Immersion. It is inspiring.

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Part 5: Changes that graduates report after Immersion

Yesterday we wrapped up three parts that looked at data from the Immersion Beginning Snapshot questionnaire that many guests complete at the beginning of Responsibility Immersion.

Now, let’s look at some data that we are collecting after guests complete the 20 weeks of Immersion.

These data are not available in the form of fancy charts. They are all in narrative form as we asked graduates to respond to four requests:

  1. Compare your power of Intention now to when you started Immersion.
  2. Compare your power of Awareness now to when you started Immersion.
  3. Compare your power of Confront now to when you started Immersion.
  4. Compare your experience of life now to when you started Immersion.

I’ll choose some illustrative (I hope) responses to each of the four statements.

Before doing that, I wish to remind you of a basic teaching of Responsibility: You cannot alter The Responsibility Process inside of you. It will always be there. It will always get triggered every time something goes wrong.

You can’t change it. Why? Because it is a natural cognitive process that operates in every human being. It is part of your basic design.

So, with practice in Responsibility thinking, we learn to use it as an amazing signaling device.

I now love it when I catch myself in one of the coping states. Why? Because it signals me to put the 3 Keys to Responsibility to use to change my life.

The 3 Keys are our innate (i.e., natural, given at birth) powers of:

  • Intention,
  • Awareness, and
  • Confront.

I won’t go into them further here since you have hopefully learned a little about them in content I’ve provided elsewhere.

But now you know why we ask graduates not about The Responsibility Process, but about their powers of Intention, Awareness, and Confront.

How guests’ power of Intention changed

Here are two responses about how guests’ power of intention changed in 20 weeks.

(I could have inserted dozens more. Instead I’ve chosen a representative sampling.)

“I am more focused on leading myself, choosing more often than not, to stay outside of the control prison. Slow and deliberate thinking about wants vs. needs, having good goals that motivate me and firing bad goals that put me in Obligation.”

“[Before Immersion] I had conditioned myself to not want anything so that I would not be disappointed when I didn’t get it. What really happened was that I denied myself while giving too much to others. Now, I allow myself to want and I believe that I can have what I want. I am also starting to believe that I deserve to get what I want from life.”

Wow. Just wow.

Pardon me while I feel — and express — goose bumps. As we tell guests when they report wins like these: “this is huge!” and “Congratulations.”

Okay, let’s move on.

How guests’ power of Awareness changed

Here are a couple of representative responses about the power of awareness before and after Immersion.

“I am much more aware of my upsets, after they have happened, increasingly while they are happening, and sometimes before they happen. I am working to catch them sooner!“

“I am aware that there is another path. In September this was all new to me. To be honest I was quite skeptical that I would develop any awareness to make effective change in my life. I still make mistakes that I made before but I am able to now have the awareness to see those mistakes, the compassion to forgive myself, and the patience to grow over time. My family and I [are] able to communicate on a much more effective and efficient level.”

And I want also to share this response with you:

“I recognize coping in myself faster, and feel more compassion when I see others coping.”

Imagine that.

Imagine seeing others expressing Lay Blame, Justify, Shame, or Obligation and experiencing empathy for their humanness as opposed to judging them for not taking Responsibility.

Lovely.

Let’s turn to the power of Confront.

How guests’ power of Confront changed

Remember that Confront is a not-very-well recognized power. It’s the ability to face — as opposed to retreat from — one’s own fear and anxiety. Most people aren’t very skilled at this. Most of us just want to feel safe (which has us running from — or dramatizing — our own upsets and anxieties instead of facing them).

Let’s look at what some graduates have to say about how they changed their power of Confront.

“My power increased enormously since I changed my relationship to anxiety and upset. I can now view it as a signal to look at the thoughts behind it and how I am creating my own anxiety — and making it worse by not facing it.”

“This was probably the most anxiety-producing practice for me. The Confront module helped me see that I was unwilling to face even the smallest obstacles in my life. I wasn’t even willing to face myself in the mirror. I am looking forward to continued growth and practice in this area of responsibility.”

Sweet. Comfort zones can now be expanded at will.

How guests’ experience of life changed

Our final request was for graduates to compare their experience of life before and after the 20 weeks.

I’m going to share way more than two. These are too good.

“Leadership ability is up, pace is slower and more deliberate, introspective. I’m driving myself less, [and I] have entered a curious and more tender phase.”

Yay.

Having more awareness and intention around my wants, needs and demands has resulted in a shift from Obligation to Responsibility. Demonstration [i.e., demonstrating Responsibility in crucial moments] has also resulted in some profound results, especially in my current situation at work. I have transitioned from a position I found pretty unfulfilling to a more engaging role that has more opportunities to add actual value. This is a big shift.”

Win!

It is interesting that there is just a little mention of work and career in these responses. However if you go back to emails three (on why) and four (on benefits) you will see those themes represented in these reports of life experience.

Responsibility has nothing specific to do with work. Work is simply a part of life where we invest so much time and attention, and that we want to go well and feel good about.

Here’s the story behind the second quote above…

This person was already doing the work of a role well above her pay grade and was asked to take on her departed manager’s role for little change in pay or title. She knew her worth. She took responsibility for figuring out what she wanted. Then she firmly suggested that they grant her the full promotion, title, and salary.

She got it all.

(-:

A much greater sense of pride of ownership of my worth.

Yes.

Love the question. 🙂 The experience is totally different – in so many ways.

After a very challenging period, I feel powerful again and driven by a lot of courage to take on the upcoming challenges – but also more patient with myself if I am not there right away.

Excellent.

I have become aware of some thoughts that were ruling my life and have taken actionable steps to change those thoughts. Those thoughts were preventing me from experiencing life fully. I was afraid of joy, fear, and love. I didn’t deserve joy, so it could never last. Fear was a constant feeling and kept me from taking bold action. The possibility of lost love was too painful to even consider. Before Immersion, I had a victim mentality that colored my world. Now, I know that I can change that. I have hope.

Wow. I recently read that when we understand our awareness we take charge of our perception. That’s what I see in the above quote.

I know that the power is within me. I can control myself, and I can’t control anyone or anything outside of me.

Yes. Allowing others to be who they are. Wonderful.

That’s enough.

I think these six quotes are representative and telling.

One last observation – I think that if we asked graduates if the advantages they gained are the advantages they wanted or expected, they would say ‘yes, and more.’

I hope these quotes have been useful to you in understanding what graduates take away from Immersion.

Two things before we close

Thing one

I hope you have enjoyed this five-part series intended to provide valuable content only and no offers or selling. I would love to know:

  1. If and how it helped (or didn’t help) you understand whether Responsibility Immersion might be a good fit for you, and
  2. How anything about this series might be improved.

Send your feedback and questions to hello@responsibiity.com.

Thing two

And, as promised, if you now want to know all the details, logistics, investment required, schedule, FAQs, and more about getting involved in an upcoming cohort of Responsibility Immersion, please visit https://responsibility.com/immersion/.

That’s it.

Thank you again for your time and attention. As always, it’s an honor.

To your freedom, choice, and power,

Christopher Avery
CEO & Founder
The Responsibility Company

 

 

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Space: Responsibility

“Between stimulus and response is a space.
In that space is the freedom and power to choose.”

Steven Covey

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Space

Responsibility

Let’s talk about Responsibility.

What is Responsibility? Responsibility means a thousand different things, but my “capital R” Responsibility means owning my power and ability to create, to choose, and attract.

Download The Responsibility Process®poster, and you’ll see it right there.

We have the definition of all of the mental states. If you haven’t already done that, do it. If you have already done it, then go and find your poster, and look at it.

We define the mental state of Responsibility as owning your power and ability to create, choose, and attract.

Our premise is this: we are always creating, choosing and attracting our entire reality.

We do it by our filters, our beliefs, our assumptions, our presumptions, our limiting beliefs, and all the choices that we make in line with those. And then we repeat it over and over and over.

And if you want to change it, it starts by acknowledging that you are creating, choosing and attracting your reality.

You’re just not usually owning your reality.

We often think the reality is imposed on us by “out there”, by the environment, by the earth, by the world. The truth is, your view of reality is completely created by you, and therefore, if you want to be different, it’s up to you.

Here’s what you can do today.

Start asking yourself how you created, chose, or attracted this – and start with the wonderful things in your life.

Then start to move to the not-so-wonderful things in your life. As you get answers, you’ll become more and more powerful.

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Responsibility Answers: Is The Responsibility Process different across cultures?

“The Responsibility Process itself is not different across cultures, because it’s nature. What is different across cultures is nurture.”

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Responsibility Answers

Is The Responsibility Process Different Across Cultures?

I’m frequently asked if The Responsibility Process® is different across cultures. It’s an excellent question, because it allows for us to make a really important distinction about nature and nurture.

The Responsibility Process is not different across cultures. It’s not different across ethnicities, races, gender, age, level of education, authority status. It is not different at all.

Just like we’re all generally, born with two arms, two legs, one nose, one mouth, two ears, two eyes – we are also all born with The Responsibility Process as a cognitive pattern in our minds.

It works the same for all of us, and gets triggered every time something goes wrong.

So, no, The Responsibility Process itself is not different across cultures, because it’s nature. What is different across cultures is nurture.

Nurture, in this case referring to how we’re taught to cope, how we’re taught to Blame and how Blame is reinforced, how we’re taught to Justify and how Justify is reinforced. The same applies to Shame, Obligation, all of the stages.

Every time I’ve thought of an example, I thought that somebody from that culture could find it to be rude, or biased, or unkind for me to use that example.

Here’s a generic example from work culture

We have two companies, Company A and Company B. In Company A a mistake is made, and it’s a big problem – it affects all departments.

People are called to meet to solve the problem, and they meet, and meet, and meet, and meet directors, vice-presidents, managers.  They’re meeting all over the place, and for three weeks the conversation never gets above Denial, Lay blame, and Justify. This may sound familiar to you.

It’s “Not my department’s fault, we didn’t do that,” finger pointing, and it’s “The process, we followed it,” blah, blah, all of that. So, no results in three weeks from hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on executives meeting.

Company B has the same situation, big, bad mistake, big, bad problem, affects all departments.

The Responsibility Process also is triggered in people in Company B, except they come together, and they meet for two hours.

For the first half hour they bicker. Then they stop bickering, and they get into true problem ownership and problem-solving mode.

In another hour and a half they have an action plan, and they get to work producing real results to address the problem.

Now, here’s what you can do about this.

I want you to think about the difference between Company B and Company A. I want you to think about the nurturing.

By nurturing I don’t mean just positive nurturing. I also mean the negative nurturing, right, of nurturing the toxicity, of reinforcing the coping mechanisms.

Think about what was different. Make up stories in your head about what must be different between Company A and Company B.

This will serve you the next time that you get into one of these deep doo-doo problem solving modes in your company.

Remember to find lots of good stuff under our resources section, and remember that we’re always here for you.

We want you to win, and we want you to be free, powerful and at choice.

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Space: Freedom

“Between stimulus and response is a space.
In that space is the freedom and power to choose.”

Steven Covey

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Space

Freedom

We say that getting into the mental state of Responsibility is the mental state of freedom, choice, and power. That’s why it feels so good.

It feels good because we believe that we have real choices.

We’re feeling resourceful, hence powerful. Powerful as in the ability to do, the ability to make things happen.

Mental freedom is an exceptional thing.

In all the positions below the line Lay blame, Justify, Shame, Obligation, you cannot be free. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here.

In the mental states of coping, we feel trapped. We feel stuck. We don’t know what to do. It doesn’t feel good, and we cope because we don’t know that it can be better.

Freedom means emotional freedom. It means mental freedom. It means feeling good.

Now, Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning taught us that liberty is a physical condition. It can be granted or taken away.

However, freedom, that’s an emotional condition. It can not be granted. It can only be taken, and it must be practiced.

That’s what I want for you.

Send all of your questions to hello@Responsibility.com. I look forward to hearing from you!

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Declaration of Intention

Declaration of Intention: Owning Our Power

We are teachers and guides of a freer, more powerful way to live and learn.

This post began as a 2500-word clarification of a pivot in mid-December 2020. With team help, I split that diatribe into a “what’s new” email-turned-post and “what remains true” which is this declaration.

The Responsibility Company explores and advances Responsibility*-thinking using The Responsibility Process® and related tools.

(*Capital R Responsibility  — used throughout our writing — indicates our brand of responsibility which we define as owning one’s power and ability to create, choose, and attract one’s reality. The brand promise is that this way of thinking always translates to ever-increasing freedom, choice, and power for self and others.

Freedom means freedom from stuckness, coping, and self-torment.

Choice means experiencing abundance as opposed to lack.

Power means self-empowerment, i.e., the ability to be, do, and have what you want.)

Why?

So everyone who wants to experience greater freedom, power, and choice can do so. And so the impacts can spread to teams, communities, families, friends, and organizations.

Foundation

Here are brief statements of our

  • purpose,
  • vision,
  • values,
  • mission (these four come from the excellent research-based Built to Last framework), plus,
  • strategy.

Purpose

Our never-ending reason for being is to awaken freedom, choice, and power in people everywhere by altering how they think about personal responsibility.

Vision

We envision a world where all leaders lead themselves with The Responsibility Process. It is the world’s #1 leadership tool.

That means The Responsibility Process poster hangs in every office, home, school, and church in the world, where people put it to use in their thoughts and actions.

Values

Our three guiding stars:

Responsibility. We own our power and ability to create, choose, and attract our reality.

We demonstrate this in everything we do — and respond to — every day. It is our prime directive.

Service. We are in service to you and to each other. We earn your business by serving first.

Love. Growth, change, and healing accrue fastest under conditions of loving-kindness and compassion.

Mission

Our current focus is to make a huge dent in the leadership space by showing that leadership is Responsibility. (More, more, and even more.)

How many Responsibility practitioners in our community will it take to achieve this? 10,000,000? 100,000,000?

Strategy

Create happy customers and earn superfans.

Our core tactic for doing this is creating valuable content for you at no cost to you.

Our Big Why

Most elements of society teach good people the opposite of true freedom.

Too many people in this world don’t feel in charge of their life. I’m not referring to the under-privileged and down-trodden. I mean solid, smart, motivated people. People with “good” careers, jobs, homes, credit, and savings.

A scarce few are aware that our life could be so much better.

However many, perhaps most, aren’t aware. We’ve been taught to believe “that’s just the way it is.”

And so we believe that’s just the way it is.

I’m talking about good-wage-earning successful-on-the-outside people who are wearing their “be-cool” mask while suffering on the inside.

Pop Quiz: Right now, are you feeling 97-100% GREAT about things? Are you feeling free, powerful, and full of amazing options most of your waking minutes? Or are you hoping that there is “more”, that your “luck” will turn, that an external circumstance will change so you can stop struggling?

(You aren’t alone. And I hope you don’t take solace in that.)

How much of the time do you put on your be-cool mask? And for whom? Your family. Your colleagues. People you say that you don’t even care about?

How about those around you? Most aren’t 97-100% GREAT for the bulk of their waking minutes either.

No. They are struggling. They too feel trapped in a life that they don’t want and don’t know how to change. They cope.

Hundreds of millions of us (more likely billions). Trapped (but looking good on the outside).

(You may ask: “Why is it this way? Where did well-intended parents and schools and society get off the rails?”

The short answer is that most of us are raised to be “good”, not to actually be self-aware, self-empowered, and free.

Hence being a good responsible citizen is not the same as taking 100% Responsibility for your life. This is described as the cultural trance in the introductory chapter of The Responsibility Process: Unlocking Your Natural Ability to Live and Lead with Power.

My own work with The Responsibility Process, and thousands of students, teaches that we need not remain trapped. We can tap into our natural ability to live and lead with power.)

This (i.e., being trapped and thinking “that’s just the way it is”) negatively impacts their

  • own life and humanity,
  • potential and their real contribution,
  • relationships, and
  • teams, communities, jobs, neighborhoods, careers, and organizations.

Responding to problems large and small

One of our mottos is Lead Yourself First. We differentiate ourselves in the world of leadership development (and coach development) by taking the stand that leadership is responsibility. Period.

What this means is that we value understanding and demonstrating Responsibility more than we value all the current focus on leadership traits and skills. I’ve spoken out about how misguided I believe the leadership development industry is.

Leadership is the by-product of taking ownership for an initiative, problem, or opportunity bigger than you, and attracting help to get it done.

Leadership is not title, role, status, style, or even behavior. Leadership is a natural self-expression. It’s a consequence of pursuing a purpose larger than oneself.

If, in such an undertaking, you practice Responsibility-thinking, and clearly demonstrate your beliefs, values, and principles, then it should not be a surprise at all to see people lining up to help — i.e., team with, follow — you.

Thus, studying, committing to, and practicing Responsibility-thinking is the foundation for developing oneself as a leader.

That’s why I don’t profess to teach leadership. I just teach Responsibility-thinking so you can lead yourself to greater expressions of freedom, power, and choice.

A Choice Point (and COVID endnote)

This Declaration of Intention was prompted by The Responsibility Company’s second major  COVID pivot in 2020. While the declaration is meant to state what has always been true, it is compelling to assess this declaration through the current lenses of change.

These current world crises (you know what they are — from pandemic to economics to poverty to climate change…) present millions of opportunities for individuals to step up to new initiatives, problems, and opportunities. These exist in every facet of society in every country, province, state, town, and neighborhood.

And I don’t know anything that can make a greater impact than bringing Responsibility-thinking to work in your life, team, communities, and organizations.

While the crises have brought so much harm to so many, they have also taught us that perhaps the rat race that we were blindly running pre-COVID isn’t so important — not so satisfying after all. Merely addicting.

We may just have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to develop new normals. New normals that support

  • healthier mindsets, cultures, and behaviors,
  • much more humane values and standards,
  • greater freedom,
  • real empowerment,
  • higher consciousness,
  • evolved and enlightened leadership, and
  • far more Responsibility.

If you are looking for a return to an old normal. I get it.

But do you want to return to a normal of the same old rat race? Your conversations with me and your reports to the media say not.

You’ve enjoyed lots of the changes from March to December of 2020, for example,

  • less traffic,
  • no commute,
  • cleaner environment,
  • the restoration of nature,
  • more time with those you love, and
  • more time for yourself.

Recently, my friend, colleague, and customer Susan Price asked me a question as I was hiking in a beautiful park while we were catching up. “Christopher, if before COVID-19 began you were told ‘for the better part of a year, maybe longer, you won’t step foot on an airplane and your speaking and workshop business will be gutted’ would you have accepted it?”

My answer was “no.”

And yet here we were, Susan and I, carrying on about how much we were — are! — enjoying life — designing our lives, and not waiting for someone or something external to make things better for us.

I’m betting that millions of enlightened* leaders and coaches (our largest audiences) prefer to create new and enlightened normals instead of returning to the old unenlightened normals.

What about you?

(* By enlightened I don’t mean that you are all-knowing and have arrived atop the mountain complete “woke”. I mean that you know there is more. More light. More humanity. More expression of self. More freedom, choice, and power.)

Let’s make the world a place of greater freedom, choice, and power.

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A Pivot to More Value

A Pivot to More Value

This post began as an email broadcast to the Responsibility Community.

The pivot: As of mid-December 2020 the Responsibility Community email goes all content and no selling to be more valuable and align with our foundation.

BECAUSE Responsibility is foundational to functioning effectively as a human being (whether you seek success, happiness, teamwork, leadership, change, — or even a hot bod, an amazing meal on the beach in Morocco, a sense of calm, or anything else under the sun).

AND, because studying, practicing, and teaching Responsibility is what I am — and by extension, what The Responsibility Company is — all about.

AND, because the world is in more outrageous chaos than usual, and that chaos exposed a significant kink in my business model (and perhaps in life?!?).

THEREFORE, I’m making a change.

(“I” am Christopher Avery. It follows that if I’m pivoting then so is The Responsibility Company. I hope that won’t always be true, and it is true today.)

The Story

I’ve noticed myself complaining internally — and occasionally out loud to Responsibility community confidants — that I want to spend less time managing The Responsibility Company operations and more time creating and delivering valuable Responsibility content. And, that I could not find a way to make the transition since I could not hand off operations yet, and there are only so many hours in a day…

…yadda, yadda, whine, whine.

(Sound familiar? “If only I could get past X then I could Y!” Yes?)

One day, my mentor Bill McCarley (see his picture and short bio on the About page) called me on it. He said that when I get completely clear that I really want to create and deliver content instead of manage operations, then I’ll create content.

(Dang. I know this to be true about commitment and attracting our reality.)

Shizzle. Nailed — right between the eyes. My story (i.e., Justify) evaporated and I was left to face it, to own it.

(In case you are concerned about Bill violating my safety, he has 100% permission from me to assume “mastery-mode” anytime and help me “look” at my own limiting beliefs. He’s an expert at doing it with compassion and precision, for which I remain grateful.

This is what we teach our practitioners and coaches.)

And by the way, this awareness — that I was holding myself back while blaming it on circumstances — is a basic tenet of Responsibility — that we are ALWAYS creating, choosing, and attracting our experience, even when we are not owning that we are.

This is backed by a growing body of research. The quantum physics way of saying this is that our own consciousness creates our external reality. This view is referred to as “biocentrism“.

Quantum physics and biocentrism are great examples of some of the content creation and delivery I look forward to digging into for you in 2021.

The Pivot

So, I’m doing it. We’re pivoting.

I intend to create oodles of free (and hopefully valuable) content about Responsibility thinking.

And, since I’m a writer, I’ll write. Emails. Like this one.

And I’ll email them to all who ask for them.

I’m excited. We’re excited.

(By “we”, I mean my teammates at The Responsibility Company.)

So this is the pivot: I — we — are taking a new path to serve and build our community — you.

The fundamental element of this new path is simple and straightforward: Create and send valuable content free of promos and offers to anyone who wants it.

That’s right, valuable content and no selling.

That means that when you join the community you will never receive a “BUY NOW!!” message in any regular email.

Nope. Never.

No scarcity language.

No arm-twisting.

No indications of lack or not good enough.

No shoulds or “you need to’s.”

No FOMO (fear of missing out).

No psychological ploys.

None of that. It all ends now.

Promise.

The Inspiration

I have a confession…

I have never felt good about the “permission” marketing approach by which we offer a “lead magnet” and then immediately hit you over the head with a “buy now” campaign. And yet, it is what most “experts” teach and what most marketers do.

So that stops.

This pivot is the next logical step from the recent move we made to raise our standards regarding what we do with your email address.

So then, you may be wondering how will we sell if we don’t send you enticing offers in our emails?

(Or you may not be wondering at all, yet it seems important to address it here, so you know.)

That’s a good question since indeed we are a business. Profit allows us to serve. We intend to be profitable and serve an ever-growing community.

To sell, we will use a strategic marketing framework devised by a couple of smart fellows we have been following and learning from: André Chaperon and Shawn Twing.

The framework is brilliant.

In the valuable content that we email to you, every now and then we will alert you to a specific pain-point or problem for which we believe we may have a solution. If you want more specific content from us about that problem area, then you will click a link in the email which segments you into a sub-group of the Responsibility Community.

We send more problem-specific information to that segment only in a series of emails. And finally, if you raise your hand as a serious prospect for the product that we have in mind, we will send you an offer.

I hope I’m making sense as this is challenging to explain and I don’t want to bore you or over-explain. I’ve written about 2500 words on it all, which I’m calling a Declaration of Intention. I hope to make that available to you soon in some form.

So stay tuned for less “Buy!” and more of me sharing what I think you will find of value.

Addenda

In exploring and making this decision over the last few weeks, I’ve uncovered some things I want to share with you.

Values

This exploration and decision-process pushed us to examine our foundation and especially our values:

  • Responsibility,
  • Service,
  • Love.

And doing so made this change solid in my mind. As I mentioned above, I’ll write more about this, hopefully soon, but I’ll summarize here:

Responsibility is our prime directive. If I have a problem, and it causes me frustration, then it is mine to own. Since I’ve never loved how I thought we “had” to market (i.e., Obligation), I’ve lived with the frustration without fully owning it. This gives us an opportunity to fully own it.

By Service we mean to actually serve first — i.e., to give — so that value we receive is the effect of value first created for you. I admit to being confronted by this as I’ve steeped myself in copywriting wizardry and the psychology of selling (even if I have not loved it). The invitation is to simply write what I’ve learned in nearly thirty years of Responsibility-thinking and share it with you.

Love — We are all in this together. We experience the same struggles and get to learn the same lessons. I recently heard love defined as “wanting one to experience happiness.” Our old way focused as much on separation and unhappiness(i.e., buy now, scarcity, FOMO, etc.) as on love and happiness. Our new way lets go of that language of separation leaving more pace for connection, community, and the pursuit of happiness

Messiness

This transition is going to be messy while we tear down the old messaging and landing pages and such, and build the new ones. This concern about messiness could have stopped me. And, it’s going to be okay. Why? Because we’re less focused on Buy Now! and looking good, and we are more focused on creating and delivering valuable content.

I assume that you are willing to put up with a messy transition if we are sincere and providing value.

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Responsibility Answers: What do I do about others making commitments for me?

“A lot of times we just say we want other people to change, but there’s no next step for us there.”

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Responsibility Answers

How can I deal with others making commitments for me?

Bryce asks, “Christopher, one part of my company makes promises the other parts have to deliver on and can’t. What can I do about that?”

All of us, who work in any size organization, get to deal with this issue. Like all things related to Responsibility, there isn’t a “quick fix.”

It comes down to asking oneself, “What do I want?” and thinking deeply, listening to your heart, listening to your head, seeing if those two align. If there’s something you want, ask whether that’s the next step for you.

A lot of times we just say we want other people to change, but there’s no next step for us there. Unless we’re actually willing to take Responsibility, and do something to show them the change that you want them to take.

Let’s look at the BIG picture here.

So the bigger picture here, the real, real big picture, if you zoom out to 10,000 feet, is that all organizations are composed of two big pieces, two big dynamics.

One is specialization. Specialization actually disintegrates in the organization, because it drives people into small groupings or isolated areas. The other part is coordination or integration.

There’s this simultaneous pulling apart and pulling back together that is the essence of organization theory, and everything you know about management and leadership is probably tied to have this dance of specialization and coordination/integration.

This is an issue of both specialization and coordination.

The issue of one part of a company making promises, that another part of the company has to deliver on and can’t – that’s both an issue of specialization and coordination.

There’s two ways to manage that. You can either manage it through control, authority, bureaucracy, policy, manipulation, or you can manage it through personal power, mindset, culture, teamwork, leadership.

In other words, to manage it through control means to try and do a better job of being precise about how much lying we can get away with, and how much committing other people to stuff they can’t do we can get away with, and how we hold onto people who are frustrated that they can’t deliver what somebody else promised that they would. All of that.

That doesn’t sound very fun to me, but that’s the way a lot of people do it. It’s easier.

Let’s look at a more effective strategy.

The harder, more effective, more productive, more humane way is through working to align those groups, and align their interests.

Consider how you can host conversations between them about making commitments for other departments, and what you, as an organization, can do about it.

So if it’s small enough, you can probably use the team orientation process, which you can find in my book, Teamwork is an Individual Skill or in our Flawless Team Building workshop.

It’s a process of getting people aligned around common outcomes, and making sure that their inspirations do not cancel each other out. Cancel each other out in terms of being competitive towards each other, or threatening or competing for the same promotion, etc. Then you need to know how to make and keep operating agreements to keep things flowing.

You’re the one who gets to change.

It comes down to no right answer.

If you’re participating in this situation, and it’s a problem for you and you want it to change, then guess what? You’re the one who gets to take Responsibility for doing something about it.

That means getting into your resourceful head space, and asking yourself what you want about this, and what’s the next step that you can do something about.

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Business of News

“The business of the news is to capture your attention, and piss you off or frustrate you or get you emotional.”

Space

News

Let’s talk about the news.

Statistical analysis of the use of language in news, all media, over the last 50 years shows that the use of dramatic words like awful, bad and horrible has increased dramatically.

Use of more optimistic words like good, hopeful and positive has decreased; and yet the conditions on our planet actually have never been better.

The news is the drama business, and drama sells.

So if you think everything’s horrible on our planet, it’s probably because you’re paying attention to the news.

The business of the news is to capture your attention, and piss you off or frustrate you or get you emotional.

You are the news.

Buckminster Fuller said, “The news is not in the newspapers or on TV, or now on the internet,” said, “You are the news.” When we greet each other and we say, “What’s new?” That’s the news.

For me, the news is what I can touch in my world. The news is keeping up with the difference that I want to make.

Here’s something that you can do today.

Choose your news. Choose what you want to expose yourself to, realize that you and your pursuits and your community is probably your most important news.

If there’s something going on in the world, in the news, that upsets you, then maybe it’s time for you to go do something about it.

How can we help you?

Our Responsibility Answers series is powered entirely by YOUR questions. Have a work place problem? What’s giving you anxiety today? We want to hear about it! Send all your questions to hello@responsibility.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

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