2021 Year in Review

2021 Year in Review

“Fall seven times, get up eight”

Welcome to our first year-in-review.

(If it is valuable, maybe it will become an annual thing.)

Why am I doing this?

It’s been a unique year, strategically and tactically. I want to review our plans and accomplishments as well as some of our many stumbles. And I want to do it in front of you.

You are our reason for serving.

(This post began as a Responsibility Community Newsletter. It’s about 2300 words and takes 12 minutes to read. Hopefully, 12 minutes of value and entertainment.)

An apparent Japanese proverb says “Fall seven times, get up eight.” This proverb lends a Responsibility-thinking theme to our 2021 review.

2021’s path was set in late 2020

As it did for so many businesses, the pandemic gave us lots of opportunity in 2020 to ask ourselves what we are doing and why, repeatedly. All the fun and easy speaking gigs had dried up. The glitz of international travel was gone.

The pivot to selling virtually-delivered workshops was challenging (read: no fun). In fact, after making substantial investments in marketing virtual public workshops – which at first were successful, and then registrations dwindled – we stopped.

Yet, we believed the world could use the value we offer more than ever.

So, we chose to put our efforts into creating value for the entire Responsibility Community.

Late in 2020 we stumbled across an ultra-high-integrity approach to email marketing from Tiny Little Businesses. We loved it and dove in, reading all their free content, taking some of their courses, and implementing some of the plays in their playbook.

In December 2020 we made a public commitment. We announced The Pivot to a new way of providing value. We also then announced our Declaration of Intention.

(Talk about falling down and getting up. We’re a thirty-year-old company falling down again, and getting up again.)

Our new commitment is to be a serve-first operation.

What does serve-first look like?

We didn’t exactly know what this serve-first approach would look like for us.

(It looked great on the Tiny Little Businesses website and in their content, but we were miles behind in understanding and executing. And, we were facing a total makeover.)

We knew it meant writing.

Writing lots of content, much of it in the form of free email series. These email series are multi-day guided adventures in some aspect of Responsibility-thinking that our community members can choose to take. More about these series below.

We also knew that it meant operating at the highest level of humanity, respect, and integrity regarding what we do with your email address and how we speak to you. So we tightened up our policies and our CRM settings. We removed a lot of unengaged followers from our email list.

And we set out to create content that you want to open, read, and yes, click.

We already had two vlog series that you like (according to the high open and click rate, and your feedback and questions). We chose to continue these at the beginning of 2021.

We produced the following in the first few months:

And then we fell silent.

Life happened

You didn’t get anything from us for nearly three months in late Spring and Summer. Why?

A long-standing cyclical health issue flared and I had limited inspiration, focus, and creativity. My teammate Joseph Thomas and I kept collaborating as we were able on the new strategy. He carried me in terms of remaining inspired and committed.

We just weren’t producing vlogs or email broadcasts.

Finally, I felt alive enough to get back in the saddle.

(Fall seven times, get up eight.)

I wrote the long-form newsletter turned blog post Be Bigger Than Any Problem. In that piece I confessed my health issue and shared my personal philosophy of being bigger than any problem.

(Note: Since all problems are conceived and defined in the mind, you get to determine how big – or small – a problem is.

I can’t think of a more attention-sucking problem in my life than this one. Yet, I am at peace with it. I am not my body’s illness. However, it is mine to own.

It’s been an amazing spiritual journey. I have more gratitude and joy for life than ever. And I have tremendous compassion for myself, especially when I don’t feel well.

I am very easy on myself.

Nor have I given in to the pesky condition. I intend to be healed, whole, and healthy. I surround myself with a carefully chosen wellness team and friends who support me completely.)

From there we produced a long-form newsletter that contains some newish thinking about how to explain coping below the line versus growing above the line. We turned that newsletter into a blog post called Respond or React.

We followed with the vlog Responsibility Answers: How do I say no?, the vlog Space: Be, Do, Have (on the three conditions of existence and how we use them in our thinking and language), and the long-form newsletter turned blog post Breaking Up Well.

You seemed to acknowledge this new approach with higher open and click rates, lower opt-outs and spam complaints (which were already very low), and more questions.

Thank you. That’s rewarding.

Many more vlogs exist in the Space series and in the Responsibility Answers series. It’s fun to go to the Resources page and click the Responsibility Answers tab to see the various questions. You can do the same with the Space tab.

Meanwhile, collaborating in the background, quiet as mice

We remained fascinated with the serve-first approach to marketing and have only begun to scratch the surface of what we are learning. We would study a little, fumble around with what that meant for us in terms of planning and execution, and then create a little.

(Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat. Shampoo. Rinse. Repeat.)

We have lived at the edge of our comfort zone all year. This type of significant change is confronting.

And, we know that there is no effective change without disturbance.

Are there results that matter?

Yes.

For our first project we iterated on our already-existing 2020 email series turned blog post called Responsibility Immersion Why and Who. It became a longer and more valuable email series. We renamed it Responsibility Immersion What, Why, and Who.

That series is now available 24/7/365 from the Responsibility Immersion page.

In part, this new series contributed last summer and fall to one of the easiest and most stress-free recruitment and registration periods ever for Responsibility Immersion. This was gratifying, happening so close to the beginning of our serve-first journey.

Next, we undertook a huge (in hindsight) project with a high degree of uncertainty and complexity. We felt the potential value and learning curve were worth it.

That project was to create a 6-week email course product (supported with live group mentoring Zooms and a Slack space) titled Launching Your Responsibility-Thinking Practice. The project includes all the operational and promotional pieces around it.

This product meets a long-standing intention to offer an entry-level self-study product for busy professionals who have never heard of The Responsibility Process and who want to take charge of their lives.

It’s also part of a social media advertising play to reach every free corner of the globe. We followed a framework we learned from Tiny Little Businesses Momentum Builder Workshop.

And because it is a paid advertising play — and we have no competency in that area — we wanted help from some experts.

It was a good thing that we had been talking with Shore360 for a couple of years about helping us with various activities. Their digital marketing group – ShoreDigital – stepped right up and immediately demonstrated competency. They understood our flows, set up tracking and analytics, and developed a plan for low-cost learning. This way we could spend just a few hundred dollars at a time on advertising and learn what part of the flow was working well and what part required improvement.

It’s been an excellent experience with Shore Digital. They are part of the team now.

(It reminds me of an old partnering principle: Start early. That means start building relationships before you need them.)

As part of the flow we also created a free 4-day email series to introduce the email course. The free series is called Responsibility-Thinking: From Coping to Growing.

We continue testing and iterating both the email course and the free email series. We’ll have more news about these in the Spring.

Lastly, we developed a 4-day Welcome email series for newcomers to the Responsibility Community. The purpose of this series is to build relationships with new community members.

(Start early.)

The Welcome series introduces the Responsibility Community, The Responsibility Process®, The Responsibility Company, and provides a summary of Responsibility-thinking products and services.

This just in

A serve-first approach calls for less click-bait and ethical bribes (that is, freebies in exchange for your email address so we can immediately send you “buy now” emails). So we are starting to evolve this site to reflect this.

In just the last week we have altered the Resources section to eliminate all the ethical bribes. Some of these will reappear as free email series adventures.

And that means we no longer require an email address in exchange for downloading The Responsibility Process poster. We are busily converting all 27 language translations into our new branding. Many are already done and available as an immediate, unprotected, download.

We’re also adding version information in the footer and switching to the three-letter ISO code for country-name in the filename and version statement.

We hope and assume all of this makes it more convenient for you to grab a current poster PDF. It might also be easier to tell a friend about downloading the poster if you know they don’t have to opt in.

If all of these changes are in a positive direction for you, then I think you have more goodness to look forward to.

Looking forward

What’s going to be new and different?

Responsibility Immersion — now in its third year — continues to grow and delight participants as they consciously transform their lives. More on that below.

We’ve only just begun understanding and implementing this new all-encompassing and all-consuming serve-first approach. There are so many distinctions and nuances.

We continue to explore and learn new competencies. We are beginning to see new rhythms emerge.

So, we will continue.

I can only imagine where we’ll be with it a year from now.

I think you can expect more website changes as we re-imagine the customer journey and guide visitors to find valuable information and adventures.

You can certainly expect more free email adventures. We’ve already conceived of more than we know how to prioritize. But you might expect an email series or two around our usual themes of

  • Change and Responsibility,
  • Leadership (and Responsibility),
  • Teamwork,
  • Agility, and
  • Teaching Responsibility

And maybe another email course or two. Who knows?

I hope all of this is worth staying around for.

More delights

The phone started ringing (well, emails started arriving) around March 2021 with requests for virtual keynotes and mentoring. I’ve done a bunch of virtual keynotes for audiences worldwide this year to excellent reviews and participant feedback. I also supported a number of mentoring clients to take charge of their lives by breaking through pesky problems.

I accepted a challenge to support the senior executive leadership team in a global business to come together as a team in this “post”-pandemic environment.

(I’m not sure we are past the pandemic at this point.)

Yes, I’m flying to support clients again after eighteen months of not stepping foot in an airport.

And, I’ve enjoyed being interviewed for a number of podcasts.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this year-in-review. It was therapeutic for me to retrospect.

What have I learned?

Now, a year into this serve-first journey, I have at least one meaningful answer to the question “What does serve-first look like?

It looks like repeatedly catching ourselves being self-serving (which I have a long pattern of indulging in: Hey, here’s what’s great about us and Responsibility! Click now!) and stopping. Then asking the question “What would the Responsibility Community find valuable?” And a few more probing questions:

  • Is this really valuable for our audience? Why?
  • How can this be about them instead of about us?
  • Why would they want to read this?

Dozens of times I would be pairing with Joseph Thomas on a piece of content and discover that we were unconsciously following our pre-pivot scripts (Look at us and our products. Aren’t we cool?!). While each catch was momentarily frustrating and humbling, we simply applied the Catch Sooner game to re-orient ourselves.

What’s Catch Sooner?

Catch Sooner is one of the three Responsibility-thinking tools featured in The Responsibility Process book. Find a brief overview of it from either of these vlogs:

Whatever you want to take ownership of and change, the Catch Sooner game will support you.

Until next time.

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Responsibility Answers: How do I get What I Want in Family Relationships

“The truth in dealing with relationships is that none of us are any good at changing other people. We can believe that they should be different. We can try to make them different, but they don’t have to comply.”

Responsibility Answers

How do I get What I Want From Family Relationships?

Helen asked, “Christopher, how can I get my sister to clean up the kitchen?” She went on to explain that she asks her sister nicely, her sister says, “I’ll do it later,” and goes to her room. When Helen more loudly nags, or tells the sister she’s not doing it, then mom comes and does it for her. Helen says mom should be resting.

I could clearly see, from Helen’s email. that she was coping below the line, although she was trying to say it very nicely. The issue is that her problem was her sister, which is below the line on The Responsibility Process® chart.

I didn’t just give Helen advice at this point. I emailed her back, and I asked “If you could have it the way you wanted it, what would that look like? Describe it to me.”

Helen described a list of duties and behaviors that her sister would take on, and that her mom would be able rest and be more relaxed.

I still wasn’t seeing exact Responsibility Thinking, because she was still looking at what she wanted to solve outside of her.

I wrote her back one more time and I said, “Fabulous list. Now, what do you want for yourself in this situation? What would it look like for you? What would you be experiencing?”

Helen wrote back and talked about the clean house, and the peace and calm, and the people keeping agreements that she’d be experiencing. Now, I had something to work with. So I wrote back to her, and I made the following points.

The truth in dealing with relationships is that none of us are any good at changing other people. We can believe that they should be different. We can try to make them different, but they don’t have to comply.

They may not comply.

The first place we start in relationships is realizing that we don’t always get what we want from others. It’s up to us to make sure that our own wants and needs are met in that situation.

However, there are things you can do to encourage change from others. You can very clearly ask. You can shower them with love and kindness, not niceness. You can make and keep agreements.

You can shore up your own boundaries. If you do a little examining, you might find that you’ve allowed your own boundaries to be loose and slippery, and now you’re feeling a little violated. So you can re-shore those up.

What I put in place here, what I wanted to walk Helen through, are the keys to Responsibility.

There’s intention, which is understanding what you want. In this case, understanding what you want that you’re not getting. Agreements aren’t being kept & the kitchen isn’t being cleaned.

There’s awareness, identifying where you are in The Responsibility Process.

Then there’s confront, meaning to actually examine your own thinking, examine your own thoughts, and assumptions. Am I shoulding on somebody? Is there some truth I’m not seeing? What can I change in order to get more of what I want?

That’s my thinking about how to get more of what you want in relationships.

Here’s something you can do today.

Think of one relationship that’s on your mind where you’re not getting what you want in that relationship – and apply the three keys.

Intention: what do you want for yourself, not what do you want them to do to change. What do you want for yourself in this relationship?

Awareness: where are you in The Responsibility Process around this relationship? How can you get yourself to the mental state of Responsibility?

In the mental state of Responsibility you can more cleanly and clearly ask for what you want, or negotiate for what you want, or more cleanly set your boundaries.

Finally, what is there that you get to confront in your own thinking about why this situation is persisting? What would change in you, in order for this situation to get better for you, for you to be lighter about this relationship?

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

The Responsibility Process
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Breaking Up Well

Breaking Up Well

End with the beginning in mind

In two recent mentoring sessions, the stuck spot each client was chewing on was whether to end a relationship and if so, how.

Many don’t know how to end relationships well, whether it’s an employment relationship, a personal one, or a business contract. Responsibility-thinking helps tremendously.

(This post began as an email broadcast to the Responsibility Community. It is 850 words and takes less than 5 minutes.)

I first wrote about breaking up well over twenty years ago in a short section that appeared in Teamwork Is an Individual Skill. I thought it would be fun and valuable to include a portion of that section below, along with my comments (comments are in parentheses and italicized) twenty years later.

### Start of the book excerpt ###

End With The Beginning In Mind in Personal and Business Relationships

I don’t know why people seldom end relationships well.

(I understand more now. It’s because our anxiety triggers The Responsibility Process®, and then we operate from one or more of the coping states instead of taking 100% Responsibility for breaking up well.)

Maybe it’s because we all want so much to win — and endings threaten us with losing.

Maybe we’re annoyed that we don’t know how to derive any more mutual benefit from a partnership.

Maybe we’re embarrassed about promises we implied and haven’t kept.

Maybe we’re upset that another didn’t live up to our expectations.

(Mostly, we don’t know how to identify our feelings as the coping states of Lay Blame, Justify, Shame. Quit, or Obligation, and then get ourselves to the mental state of Responsibility. In Responsibility we can more clearly see what we want about this situation and how to handle it with humanity and integrity.)

For whatever reasons, when collaborations or partnerships cease to serve us, most of us start jockeying for position, politicking, and blaming our circumstances on our partners.

Sometimes endings even explode into battles. To describe it analytically, we might say that collaborative behavior diminishes — and positioning behavior accelerates — as the outer edge of a contract’s time horizon comes into focus.

No matter how lucrative the venture may have been for both parties, by the time the end actually comes, it’s common for one or both parties to want to get far away from the other. Counselors sometimes describe bad endings this way: We don’t break up because we’re fighting; we fight because we’re breaking up.

(Some context: When I wrote this section I was working with semiconductor industry companies to understand supply chain partnering — the practice of building trusting relationships at the boundaries so the parties can operate at “the speed of trust”, as Steven M.R. Covey later popularized in his book, The Speed of Trust.

One of many profound lessons from my study of partnering was that successful partners separate business negotiations (which can have a win-lose feel) from conversations about partnering together for mutual gain (which will have a win-win feel).)

I won’t pretend we can do much to avoid endings. They’re as inevitable as beginnings.

But I have observed that we can improve the quality of endings by resisting three emotional traps:

  • Unnecessarily burning bridges
  • Harming one’s own reputation
  • Bringing inhumanity to oneself and others

In my experience, we can expand our responsibility around ending relationships by taking the following actions during endings:

  • Approach the end of a collaboration with the beginning in mind — recall the most vivid memory possible of the positive intentions and positive results the partnership produced.
  • Thank your partner(s) for the opportunity, results, and trust they provided you.
  • Acknowledge BOTH that you don’t see an immediate future that motivates you to continue investing in the relationship AND, that this is NOT a reason for either party to stoop to irresponsible behavior.
  • Negotiate fairly and compassionately during the dismantling of infrastructure and the redistribution of responsibilities. Pay your fair share or more of these expenses. If you believe that either party may feel threatened, engage a facilitator to keep you responsible.
  • If the other party exhibits difficult end-game behavior, show compassion and strive for resolution by de-escalating rather than escalating.

### End of the book excerpt ###

These ideas apply to personal as well as professional relationships.

(And, it’s all personal.

Speaking of personal, so many songs came to mind while preparing this. One was my favorite Jimmy Durante jingle, Did You Ever Have the Feeling.

Then there are myriad breakup songs:

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover by Paul Simon. I also like Miley Cyrus’s version.

Breaking Up is Hard to Do by Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield, recorded by Neil Sedaka.

And with a hat-tip to the Durante theme, Should I Stay or Should I Go, by The Clash.)

Oftentimes we remain in a relationship (especially in employment situations and personal partnerships) because we don’t realize — or know how — to step into our power and free ourselves. We stay physically, and we disengage emotionally.

This is the coping state of Quit.

Quit is the mental state defined as giving up to avoid the pain of Shame and the burden of Obligation. You can see this on The Responsibility Process poster.

Let’s look at the employment situation

I’m often asked, “If I quit a job, is that Quit?” The answer is “maybe.”

If you leave with unfinished business so that you carry it with you and revisit it with “what if” and “if only” thoughts, then that’s likely coping in Quit.

To leave with Responsibility, finish your business so you don’t carry it with you. Clean up any residue, first within you, then between you (if called for) so you are complete emotionally.

As mentioned above, I’m more concerned with your physically staying and emotionally quitting.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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@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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