Space: Be, Do, Have

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

-Steven Covey

Space

Be, Do, Have

You are a human being, and yet we have so much focus on human doing.

You’ve heard me say before that when things go wrong, we’ve been taught to ask the question, “What should I do? What’s the right answer?”

I’ve learned is that those questions map to Shame and Obligation on The Responsibility Process®.

Those questions actually keep us from producing amazing results and keep us from freedom, choice, and power.

A better question to ask is, “What do I want? Or, what do we want?”

So, “Oh, team, look at this mess we’re in. Let’s stop Blaming and Justifying, and ask ourselves, what do we want about this?”

That question actually gets us to more of a genius place in our minds where we can access our inspiration, reasoning and our abilities.

I’m reminded of an old equation that I learned years ago.

The three conditions of existence, the things that have our attention on a moment to moment basis are be, do, and have – beingness, doingness, and havingness.

My culture, Western culture, taught me to think in terms of an equation that puts do first and be last. It goes something like this.

If I can just do smarter, do more certifications or degrees, if I can do faster, if I can do more hours, then I’ll have success and then I’ll be happy.

There’s just one issue with that.

We’re only as good as our next achievement, which means that we’re never good enough in that equation and in that scenario.

That’s human doing. That’s not human being.

The wisdom literature, the spiritual literature, sometimes the Eastern philosophies teach us to look at these three conditions a little bit differently.

They say, “Know yourself. Understand who you are.” So let’s start with being.

Do you know what your integrity is? Do you know what your authenticity is? Do you know what your heart is? Do you know what your values are? Do you know what your boundaries are?

If so, then you’re doingness will emanate from that. And it can only be perfect, perfect given the antecedent conditions.

You’re willing to learn and grow, which means you’re willing to have the results that come from that, and then you can use that as input to understanding more about who you are.

Studies have shown that when people ask you to point at yourself, you don’t point at your head. You point at your heart. You point at your heart, which means that this beingness is pretty darn important.

Here’s something you can do today.

Remember, every time you hear the word human or human being, remember to check in and ask yourself, who am I?

Who am I today? And is my doingness in line with that?

You can find lots more resources on our website.

Send all of your questions to me at hello@responsibility.com. I look forward to hearing from you.

The Responsibility Process

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Responsibility Answers: How do I say no?

So, you’ve caught yourself in a situation where you want to say, “No,” and for some reason you feel like you can’t, or shouldn’t.

Responsibility Answers

How do I say no?

Somebody wrote in and asked, “Christopher, how do I say no?” Great question.

Anytime that we ask the question, “How do I take responsibility for X,” there’s a few steps to finding the answer.

The first step is always realize that I am in some way, choosing, creating, or attracting the situation.

I’m not a victim of a boss, or a spouse, or somebody else putting me in a corner.

I chose this relationship, and it’s up to me to have yes and no, both be allowable answers.

I’ve heard it said that if yes is the only acceptable answer, then yes isn’t meaningful.

So from early on in relationships, I make sure that I’m allowed, within that relationship, to say yes to requests and also to say no to requests.

That’s one thing to think about.

The next step is to ask “What do I want?”

So, you’ve caught yourself in a situation where you want to say, “No,” and for some reason you feel like you can’t, or shouldn’t.

So what do I want? What do I want in this situation?

Well, I want to say, “No,” but I also want their approval.

So often our saying “Yes,” when we mean no is because we are seeking approval. We don’t want to be disapproved of by boss, teammates, spouse, child, parent, etc.

So then, what do I want?

Well, I both want their approval and I want to say, “No.” So how do I get that?

Well, there’s a thousand ways to get that.

Say, “No,” with love. Say, “No,” with compassion. Tell the truth.

I’ll just leave you with this one last thing.

Don’t justify it. Don’t say, “Oh gosh, I’d really like to say yes, except time, money, effort, whatever.”

Don’t justify it. Own your no.

I hope that you find this useful. Let me know. You’ll find more Responsibility Answers on our resources page.

Send all your questions to me at hello@responsibility.com.

To your freedom, choice and power, and all my love. Take care.

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Respond or React?

Respond or React?

Speaking with Deliberate Intention

As Responsibility-thinking — or Responsibility-consciousness — gains popularity, and as more and more of our students are out there in the world, I often get one piece of delightfully positive feedback from others. They say something like this:

“Christopher, I can recognize when meeting someone if they have gone through Responsibility Immersion: They speak with such deliberate intention.

When this happens I ask ‘You practice Responsibility, don’t you?’ And they smile and nod ‘Yes'”

(This post began as an email broadcast. It is around 780 words and takes the average reader 6 minutes.)

Where do the deliberately intentional speech and behavior come from in a Responsibility-thinker?

They come from the space between stimulus and response.

(Stay with me.

I know I’ve written and made videos about this before. I think you will find something here that you haven’t seen unless you’ve been in a workshop with me in the last year.)

I would love your help correcting a widespread misattribution. Quote sites around the internet attribute this quote to Viktor Frankl:

“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

Except Viktor Frankl did not write it. Steven Covey said it.

I myself misattributed it for many years. Then one day, as I was tightening my standards for citing others, I went looking for the original source. I could not find it. Instead, I found the Quote Investigator link above that clarified it for me.

If you learned this quote from me and also misattribute it to Frankl, I apologize for misleading you. I encourage you to make a new choice.

Let’s dig into what the quote means.

What the Quote Means

It reflects on a basic well-accepted dynamic of normal psychology (normal refers to normal, as opposed to abnormal behavior.)

The space is illustrated as the red box in this image.

DISPLAY IMAGES

In the image, “S” stands for Stimulus and “R” stands for Response.

Many define Responsibility as the ability to respond. This means that the red box in the drawing stands for

infinite choices.

Think about that.

(Take as long as you like to think about the fact that you always have infinite choices available to you — even when you say “I have no choice.” When you are ready, let’s break it down.)

Your senses receive a stimulus. That stimulus passes through your filters (some of which are your beliefs, assumptions, triggers, stereotypes, biases, etc.) and then you respond.

Except that for many of our “responses” it’s really a reaction. I say “reaction” because the choice was made unconsciously, i.e., without thinking — and that means without using that space depicted by the red box.

Why?

Because over the course of our life we’ve installed thousands of programs I’ll call auto-pilots. These autopilots allow us to operate without thinking.

We simply react.

Here’s an example. Let’s say I once had a bad experience dating an engineer. Afterward, I declared “I’ll never date an engineer again!” My mind took me seriously and embedded a negative emotional trigger that goes off when I encounter an otherwise date-worthy engineer.

We start doing this at an early age — very early — and never stop. We do it for food, colors, types of people, races, genders, subject matters, religions, careers — everything.

It’s an auto-pilot shortcut for not thinking.

We have hundreds of thousands of such auto-pilot programs. And they function like this:

SR (Stimulus->Reaction)

As opposed to

S[]R (Stimulus->deliberate choice->Respond)

Let’s turn our attention to Responsibility as a practice.

Responsibility is a Practice

“Practicing” responsibility means

  • catching yourself in reaction-mode,
  • stopping,
  • experiencing the space with infinite choices,
  • making a new choice, and
  • responding

Covey’s quote ends with this sentence:

“In our response lies our growth and freedom”.

Stopping in that space between stimulus and response for a moment and then making a deliberate choice is freedom. It’s also mindfulness, being present, aware, conscious, and the source of growth and personal transformation.

So, I love introducing students to that space.

And I love helping students expand that space.

Discover and expand the space between stimulus and response.

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Be Bigger Than Any Problem

Be Bigger Than Any Problem

Taking Responsibility During a Setback

This post began as an email broadcast to the Responsibility Community on 16 July 2021.

This post is about 1500 words and takes the average reader 11.6 minutes. It’s chock full of value (I hope you think so) and a bunch of links to interesting references.

I’ve been ill. Quite ill. For years.

And,

I’m bigger than this problem.

I have not shared much about this with you. I’ve spoken to a few audiences about it, a little — I’m thinking of some keynotes I did in Europe pre-pandemic. And I’ve shared some details with guests in Responsibility Immersion and members of the Responsibility Mastery community — my inner circle.

Why haven’t I shared?

(Ya mean, besides it being just plain awkward, or that I’m not looking to make excuses or earn pity, and that I deserve privacy if that’s what I choose?!)

Mostly because the symptoms come and go and have been somewhat manageable. They’ve never actually stopped me from traveling or made me miss a presentation.

But they have been pesky and have knocked me back plenty often. And for the last five or six months, with a new approach to treatment, I’ve been knocked back even more.

(Sometimes the cure sucks.)

What are the symptoms?

Imagine a really bad flu without any GI or respiratory symptoms. Just total fatigue, weariness, brain fog, pain behind the eyes, muscle soreness, and a complete inability to focus.

It makes creating content next to impossible.

So what is it? I’m not 100% sure. And that’s okay, because

I prefer continuing to look over grabbing at labels.

(Note, I could write on for pages about whether medical diagnoses get to causes or merely point to and treat effects, without ever identifying the true cause. Responsibility is about cause and effect. So even in the presence of a medical diagnosis, I continue to ask whether what is found [i.e., labeled, named] is a cause, the cause, or merely an effect.

I also believe that most — if not all — disease starts in the mind [i.e., dis-ease]. And Western medicine abandoned the mind-body connection in the 1800s with the application of the scientific method in treating tissues, organs, and bones. Including the mind at that time was too fuzzy, too complex, so it was dropped. [See The Divided Mind by John Sarno, MD]

So I don’t turn over responsibility for fixing me to doctors. It’s my Responsibility, and I enlist their collaboration.

Let me know if you want me to write more about this — or any of the topics I touch on today — from the point of view of Responsibility and what I have learned.)

It began nearly two decades ago with a hand tremor. Then routine morning fatigue. Then immediate onset one morning of ultra-high completely irrational anxiety (“Oh look, a butterfly. AGGHHH!!!!”), which didn’t make sense given my years-long Responsibility-thinking practice with which I release anxiety and stress every day. Then my brain chemistry went wonky, along with my perception of my world. This was diagnosed as depression.

(Check this. Western medicine calls the symptoms “depression” [and the diagnosis was based solely on symptoms, with no verification of cause]. My psycho-therapist diagnosed it as a “spiritual crash” and gave me some very interesting reading about teachers and spiritual leaders who experienced episodes of crash [in perceived reality] and ascension [in consciousness], crash and ascension.

And my acupuncturist told me that in Chinese medicine, it is called “Stagnation.” Hah! Perfect. I was at Quit.)

Two years of meds and acupuncture and I felt great again. I returned to full life, bought responsibility.com (the URL), changed the company name to The Responsibility Company, and started rebuilding with inspired vigor.

Then I would get knocked back down for a day, or three — or more — after which I would feel amazing again.

Repeat, at various amplitudes and cycles. Except, my spirit was not dampened, only my physical health and cognitive ability.

When I talked to my primary care physician, he would return to the old diagnosis of generalized anxiety and depression. My intuition — my spider-sense! — told me that those things were effects and not causes, and to keep looking.

I turned away from doctors for a bit.

Nearly a year ago I began weekly sessions — called “scans” — with a Biomagnet therapist. Joan is quite skilled at this very young and promising healing modality. After a number of sessions, Joan identified that we’re likely dealing with a long-standing brain infection involving at least two viruses. I likely picked up these viruses from insect bites during international travels decades ago.

And they’ve been busy ever since.

While Joan continues to treat me weekly, I am now returning to Western medicine specialists with this new hypothesis and inviting them to support me in confirming or ruling out the brain infection idea.

I’ll learn more in the coming months.

Stay tuned.

(I hope I’ve shared just enough of the details to let you in, while not indulging in TMI [too much information] or dragging you into the nitty-gritty.

This reveal might also explain why I did not submit a proposal for your conference, turned down your kind invitation to contribute a post or chapter to your project, or didn’t show up as frequently “out there” as you might have expected.)

Hence, soon after announcing last Winter our Declaration of Intention to provide more and better content on a routine basis, I pretty much lost the ability to deliver on that pledge. I fell silent in terms of broadcasting content.

What do I want you to do with this information?

First, I want you to know

I am bigger than this problem.

Yes, I’ve been knocked back physically and mentally on and off for years. AND, at the same time, my growth in consciousness has accelerated.

I’m honored. I’m blessed. Root for me.

Do not pity me.

Instead, consider the power of Responsibility-thinking.

Responsibility is the ability to respond. And I am responding to this challenge. I own my power and ability to create, choose, and attract (this is the very definition of Responsibility). And I respond to this challenge every day.

In a wide search for possible causes, I have

  • detoxed my life and home;
  • prioritized organics in food, clothing, and furnishings;
  • exercised vigorously when I feel good enough;
  • adopted a loving pet;
  • changed what I read, watch, and listen to;
  • discovered what is most essential in my life; and
  • much more.

I continue to live with purpose and am grateful for the opportunity to love and serve.

I am not anywhere close to done. Just bogged down a bit.

Second, I invite you to consider applying Responsibility-thinking to your own challenges, struggles, and setbacks. Adopt the principle:

No problem is bigger than me.

And work it. Work that principle every day with every problem.

You are completely in charge of the mental and emotional size of your problems. Every. Single. One.

The bigger we make a problem, the more powerless we become in relation. And

the more we acknowledge our power and ability to respond, the smaller our problems become.

Try it. Think of a problem that commands too much attention. Now, say to yourself “I am bigger than this problem.” Repeat five or ten times. Notice the change in amplitude — in power and freedom.

When the anxiety and depression were at their worst in 2017-2018 I experienced thousands of suicidal thoughts. But I never made a plan to, or attempted to, end my life.

Why? Because as badly as I hurt,

I knew that I was bigger than this problem.

Third, I invite you to exercise your compassion for self and others. Most people are struggling with something. Compassion elicits more relief, change, and growth than does judgment and criticism.

Be easy on yourself.

You are always doing the best you know how given your consciousness in that moment. There’s no need to beat yourself up for falling short of anyone’s expectations — especially your own.

I think those are the things that I want to inspire or invoke in you.

Thank you. I intend to continue to be here for you. And I hope to be producing valuable content again on a regular basis.

If you want me to follow up on anything that I touched on above, just ask. I’m all for hearing what you want to know more about.

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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.

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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.

Back to top

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@responsibility.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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