Growing up in my parents household was rather great. I mean don't get me wrong we had our dysfunctional moments and sometimes months, but overall my childhood and upbringing was on a whole other level compared to most.
I am completely and utterly aware of how lucky I was to be born to them and raised in that environment and I realize that not everyone is that lucky.
However I was that lucky and I am grateful for it everyday.
Largely because they taught me about what it means to be an honest, hardworking person and instilled in me values that will continue to serve me and my loved ones for many years to come. Gifts that I will never be able to repay.
That being said I know that for my parents doing their job of raising me wasn't always fun or enjoyable.
They didn't take the easy way when it came to parenting.
They took the hard way.
They set expectations, clear boundaries, explicit consequences, and most importantly they executed on these consistently.
This is what allowed them to pass on their beliefs and values to their children effectively and raise children who have become happy productive participants in civilization which at the end of the way I think is what all parents want.
I'll never forget in fourth or fifth grade while playing basketball in a local YMCA league I began to dread going to games.
I just wanted to stay home and play video games. I would whine and complain about having to leave and would often ask repeatedly to just miss this one game.
But my parents never let that fly.
You might think that that is a little controlling or maybe unnecessary.
I mean c'mon the kids only in fourth grade he has many more basketball seasons ahead of him and many more games this season how much harm could skipping one game do, right?
That is the easy way and that is the path of least resistance.
My parents could have taken it and they could have rationalized it with that mindset, but they didn't because they saw the larger picture and the real "head-fake" that existed in making me go to the games even when I didn't want to or felt I had something better to do.
This is because as I said before my parents set clear expectations and they held to them regardless of the situation.
In my house growing up the rule was when you committed to play a sport you were all in.
That commitment was ironclad and you were expected to honor it in its entirety.
Even if you decided the sport wasn't for you halfway through the season. There was no quitting mid-season and there was no half-assing it and only making it to the games that were convenient for their schedule.
Again you might think this is overkill especially for something at trivial as a little kid's participation in sports, but I think in my parents eyes it was about teaching me about the importance of making a commitment and following through on it.
They wanted to make me understand the importance of integrity - of doing what I said I was going to do.
That meant if I said I was going to sign up and play for a team for an entire season that meant I was going to do just that.
They did not want to teach me that a commitment was something that you only honored when it was convenient or you wanted to.
Yes while the reality of the situation may seem trivial on the surface my parents saw the bigger picture which was that their job was to teach me values and lessons that would turn me into a man they could be proud to call their son regardless if it meant making their lives more complex and difficult.
And in doing this they continue to reinforce the importance of being held accountable and teaching me how to handle it and ultimately now how to hold others accountable even when I don't want to and it's just going to make my life more difficult.
Accountability is everything and we all need people in our lives to make sure we toe the line that we know we should be on and are capable of sticking to.
And even more important is the ability to be accountable to your own self.
You see accountability makes everything so much more simple.
Practicing accountability is as simple as setting a standard, meeting that standard, and holding yourself accountable when you fail to meet those standards.
I like the simplicity that accountability offers me so much that I prefer to practice what I call "radical accountability." I mentioned this earlier today on my Facebook page.
The general idea of this concept can be summed up with the saying "no excuses."
That is I believe that I am 100% responsible for everything in my life even when there are legitimate excuses to be made.
Looking back now my parents practiced this with me before I even knew what they were doing. Niether my mom or dad wanted explanations nor accepted them. The only thing they were interested in was us striving to meet the expectations they had set for us and making every effort possible to make meeting them possible. They knew when their was legitimate excuse to be given, but they didn't want to hear it. They wanted to hear us reflect on what we could have done better or what we can do differently next time.
I've carried that no excuses policy on with me as an adult.
I am responsible for my current income, my business's growth, the health of my marriage, and my inability to do the splits.
I know though logically this isn't true. I know that there are factors that influence my life which are beyond my control.
However it does me no good to consult and consider these factors and it does my no good to acknowledge them or waste any of my time analyzing them.
Instead holding myself completely accountable for everything helps me focus only on the things that I CAN control.
It puts me in the driver seat and forces me to answer the toughest questions which largely center around what I can do to get to where I want to be.
Simply put it reinforces what my favorite stoic philosophers have taught me and that is I can only control how I act and how I react to the things that happen to me the rest will take care of itself.
I know this approach might not jive with everyone.
I know it may seem over the top, unnecessary, unrealistic, and possibly too harsh.
But it works for me. It simplifies everything in my life. It constantly forces me to reflect on my choices and evaluate myself.
If it does connect with you then I'd love it if you take on the practice of radical accountability and join me in accepting absolutely no excuses!
Happy moving and heavy lifting!
Practical, Purposeful, Effective Training