Thursday, August 27, 2009

What Ever Happened To Personal Accountability?

As I continue to accumulate years (sounds better than the word "age"), I am becoming more familiar with the adage about time speeding up. It is unbelievable that we moved from Iowa City to Pella, Iowa over 8 years ago. Since my family and I moved, life has been a whirlwind in many ways.

In the past 2 years in particular, I have changed. Thanks to the wisdom of Dave Ramsey, who I try to follow as much as I can on my XM Radio, our family has changed our spending habits and is nearly debt-free (except for the home mortgage). His constant and unwavering commitment to the "Baby Steps" have been an inspiration to me.

Through Dave's teaching, I have come to realize that I control my own destiny. As a Believer, of course, I know I have my limitations. I know that God ultimately has a specific and unique plan for my life. (On a tangential note, I've never understood the title of the 1940's book, "God Is My Co-Pilot." Shouldn't he be the pilot and I'll play the role of the co-pilot? I guess I should read the book before I comment.) However, Dave has taught (or constantly reminded me) that I am personally accountable for my own actions.

Personal accountability is a Biblical concept. Romans 14 tells us that someday we will present a personal account to God. 1 Corinthians 12 tells us that we are members of a body, the body of Christ, which requires each person in the body to cooperate with the others. And Galatians 6 even tells us that we're accountable to others, our friends, and to encourage them when they waiver.

As a physical therapist, I have a unique view of personal accountability. Unfortunately, all to often it is the lack of personal accountability that stands out. I do not profess to have skills as a physical therapist that will provide the health benefit that each and every person desires. For those that do have a condition that would benefit from my physical therapy skills, though, the most common reason an individual does not achieve his potential is a lack of follow-through. These people do not hold themselves personally accountable to do what they must.

I often consult with industries to provide optimal health solutions. It is sad, even maddeningly frustrating, to observe a corporate culture that is permeated with a "blame them" mentality. When some refers the "them" when describing the source of the problem and that person has the same employer as he who is speaking, there's a problem with personal accountability.

Let's not even get into politics! In the wake of Ted Kennedy's passing, I find myself longing again for the message made popular by his brother, JFK, as he poignantly expressed, "Ask not what your country can do for you..." to be politically correct once again. What can we do about blame, complaining, and procrastination? Look inward.

It is Dave Ramsey who introduced me to John Miller and his book (and philosophy) "QBQ!: The Question Behind the Question." It is a short, easy-to-read book dedicated to blowing the horn of personal accountability. A simple attitude shift ("How can I make a difference?) brings about amazing results: problems get solved, internal barriers come down, service improves, teamwork grows, and people adapt more quickly to change.

Do you have any personal accounts of examples of personal accountability you can share?

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