Take Before You Give

You can’t give blame until you take responsibility”  ~ Craig Groeschel; Pastor, Life.Church

No one likes looking foolish, stupid, or like a failure.  I think this is the primary reason people have a tendency to blame others or circumstances when something we’re responsible for doesn’t go as planned.

In an effort to avoid looking bad in front of others, we almost automatically seek to place the blame someplace, any place, other than on us.  The paradox is that when we always place blame instead of taking responsibility, we actually do look bad in front of others, which is the very thing we’re trying to avoid.

What if the next time something we’re in charge of goes sideways, instead of choosing to place blame, we choose instead to not only take responsibility for the situation, but for its resolution as well?

From a leadership standpoint, this is the right thing to do.  When we take responsibility for our results we are communicating to others that we care about the quality of our work, about our contribution, and that we can be counted on to follow through to a successful completion.

No one has ever looked foolish doing that.

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26 Tiny Building Blocks

I’m blown away by the English alphabet!  From these 26 tiny characters, these building blocks, come great works like the Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, or the “I Have a Dream” speech.  Here’s what’s most extraordinary to me:  we all have access to these building blocks and we get to choose what we create with them, simply by how we arrange them.

A colleague of mine once told me, “Paper will just lay there and let you write anything on it you want.”  Letters of the alphabet are the same way.  They don’t care how you arrange them or what you create with them.  They’re not good or bad.  They’re just available to us to say or express anything we want.

They can be arranged to form something great or to express love and gratitude toward someone we care about.  They can also be arranged to spread hate and fear.  The choice on how we arrange these building blocks is totally up to us.

The next time you have the opportunity to use these building blocks, whether it’s writing a letter, sending an email, or making an update on social media, think about what you’re creating.  Is your arrangement of the 26 building blocks something that will add value to others and lift them up?  Are you creating something that you would be proud to have your name on next week, month, or year?  Does your arrangement make the world, or does it darken it just a little more?

With access to a tool as powerful as the alphabet comes great responsibility in how we handle it.  Let’s be aware of what we’re building and choose to arrange these building blocks for purposes of good, rather than to harm.