I hope you have followed this string of blog posts on my reflection on my Strengths Finder Profile. You can read more about 1) Intellection and 2) Learner results.
Today, I'll be commenting on my #3 strength: Responsibility.
This took a little more time to think about. And that makes sense: see #1 strength Intellection (thinking).
Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion.
I am the oldest child and grandchild with a crazy, large group of cousins. I remember from an early age being responsible for watching over my sister and cousins, making sure we stayed together at the park, walking with them to the corner store, changing diapers, and reading to them (I was an early reader. See 2) Learner). My mother taught me to cook, and I spent time with my grandmother in the kitchen learning so that I could make an afterschool snack for my sister and I. Or even start dinner early as she was a working single mom, and we were the original "latch key kids."
As a teenager, I became a single mother. From the moment my daughter looked at me, I knew that I had to do everything I could to make her life right. It wouldn't be easy. I was determined not to become a statistic discussed all over the salacious talk shows in the 80s - teen mothers and their drain on society.
My sense of responsibility started very early for me. I understood that I was responsible to my family to see that they were cared for, tended to, happy, and thriving. Not an easy concept for a child and young person.
Your good name depends on it. If for some reason you cannot deliver, you automatically start to look for ways to make it up to the other person. Apologies are not enough. Excuses and rationalizations are totally unacceptable. You will not quite be able to live with yourself until you have made restitution. This conscientiousness, this near obsession for doing things right, and your impeccable ethics, combine to create your reputation: utterly dependable.
Without a doubt, it is a terrible feeling, even just thinking about the possibility of not doing what I say I'm going to do. If it takes time, or if I make a mistake, that is ok. I'm flexible and understand that factors outside of us challenge our efforts and timelines. But I will finish and get a result.
When assigning new responsibilities, people will look to you first because they know it will get done. When people come to you for help—and they soon will—you must be selective.
And I expect the same from the people around me. This doesn't mean I am demanding of my staff, clients, friends, or colleagues. It means that I choose to believe that those around me are excellence creators and follow through on their tasks and promises. I try to always think in the best of a person, even if I don't know them yet.
Your willingness to volunteer may sometimes lead you to take on more than you should.
This. This is my lesson. I suggest this warning is your lesson, too.
I experienced taking on too much in 2013. I was working full time, returning to grad school full time, was active in my professional network, and was leading a nonprofit close to my heart. We planned an annual conference for Latinx high school students from five counties. On the day before the conference, I was supposed to introduce our guest author Luis Alberto Urrea at a reception and reading. All the things I was doing that were pulling me in so many directions caught up with me. I ended up with pneumonia and missed everything.
Since then, I've learned to manage my time and energy, so I don't wear myself down. Hijole, that is hard when you want to do all the things and help all the people!
So, I want to relate this back to business.
When providing a service, I believe in quality and accountability - as your consultant or coach, this is my responsibility. It is as simple as that. Any business person worth their salt would view their responsibility to their customer like this.
It is also my responsibility to set an example for my clients. This means recognizing when self-care is needed, setting boundaries on my time and honoring others' time, and keeping my mindset positive and my focus sharp.
I hope you are enjoying these reflections. I am certainly enjoying the thought and writing process. Stay tuned for the following strength: Relator.
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Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org