100% Responsibility...An Example

communication responsibility strive principles May 14, 2024

I know it’s challenging to practice the STRIVE principle of taking 100% responsibility for how you respond to life, so I will share an example of how this played out for me recently.

I’ve been supervising the work of Peter and Geoff (not their real names). Peter is an extrovert, an alpha male, confident and experienced. While superb in his technical knowledge of the role, Geoff suffers in other areas where he is not so confident. Geoff is an introvert, quiet and reserved.

Throughout the week, I would stop them from working and admonish Peter for being too critical. I sensed he had a perfectionist streak, and it was making life difficult for Geoff. On several occasions, these admonishments led to arguments between Peter and me in the presence of Geoff, where we would talk about his performance in front of him while he sat there wondering what the hell was going on. 

One night, I told my wife, Liza, that I was having a problem with Peter. 

She said, “What is this situation reflecting at you about yourself?


This is why it’s essential to surround yourself with people who won’t join your pity party.

Here’s what I learned.

  1. I was protecting Geoff, but not from a healthy place of SELF. A Part of me that was bullied when I was younger became triggered, and it used aggressive tactics against Peter to try and make him stop. Meaning I was in the drama triangle in the role of Hero. I had cast Geoff as a victim and Peter as a villain. It’s important to remember that being a Hero is self-indulgent. It’s about satisfying my fears ahead of the well-being of others.
  2. I felt nervousness and anxiety in my body at times throughout the work because I didn’t fully believe in my capabilities as a supervisor, and I was hiding this through my aggressive attitude towards Peter.

What did I do?

I had two conversations at the end of one of our work shifts. I told Geoff I was sorry for treating him like a victim and not asking him how he felt. I told him that I imagined it made him feel lonely, isolated, mistrusted, and scared and that his views didn’t matter. I apologised to him and asked him what he thought about Peter’s behaviour, which he told me, and it changed everything.

I told Peter that I had been treating him like a villain all week, that I judged him, and that this behaviour had come from a part of me that pictured him as a bully. I told him that I imagined my behaviour made him feel frustrated, angry, and confused and that I wanted to move forward more healthily with him, which he agreed to.

What I didn’t do.

There are many things that I could have addressed regarding Peter and Geoff’s behaviours and competence. Still, I didn’t because I wanted to regain my integrity and take 100% responsibility for my responses to them. 

The conversations led to a much more open, relaxed, and safe environment, where nervous systems were calmer, and humour came in where before there was tension. From this space, I could give feedback on their behaviours and performance away from the chaos of being in Parts-energy, and it was well received.

Later that evening, during dinner, I asked Geoff what was the one thing he could do better in his relationship with his wife. He told me that he would be too defensive during disagreements. He then continued to say that when I took responsibility for treating him like a victim and apologising, he said he had never felt more seen, and he made a note to try to do the same in his interactions with his wife. By the way, he has a young daughter, so the ripple effects of a SELF-led life won’t end there.

Let me know if you have any questions, observations or lightbulb moments about this.

Much love and STRIVE on!


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