We talk about the reason people avoid creating or existing in this type of space [feedback-rich, high expectation, transparent] the same way we talk about the reason people avoid working out. It is hard.

It is hard to get up every day and tell yourself that “I will take responsibility for my choices” just as it is really hard when my alarm goes off- BEEP BEEP BEEP– at 5:00am. The sun isn’t even up yet and I am so cozy and warm. And what happens some days? Some days I hit snooze and roll over for another luxurious hour of sleep. Even though I know I shouldn’t. Then again- BEEP BEEP BEEP– just one (very short) hour later I am woken up, yet again. But this time I know I have to get up and then I start kicking myself for not going to the gym. Because what happens on the days I get up early and go to the gym? I get to spend an hour energizing my mind, body, and attitude, get home, have a great breakfast, and head off to work feeling focused, ready to go, and happy. Once I have a few days in a row with that feeling, it is easy to jump out of bed on time… because I am craving that happiness, that flow, that awesome state I am in after a great workout.

But people avoid it because it is hard. They (myself included) come up with a million excuses- and so much of the time we blame it on someone else. Maybe it is your kid’s fault you can’t work out because you need to be home when they get off the bus. Or maybe it is your coworker’s fault because they didn’t dot their “i”s or cross their “t”s on the presentation you are working on. Or maybe you are just too tired, or too hungry, or don’t even know how to use gym equipment. Regardless of the reason- it is your choice.  Most people will agree, however, that once you get into the habit- you crave it.

Values Based Leadership (VBL) is very similar. It is hard, it takes time and energy, but once you do it- you crave it. But every once in a while, I “hit the snooze button” on my VBL. Like the other day- I was putting dishes away while making breakfast. As I was putting a glass into the cupboard, I dropped it and it shattered into the omelet I was cooking. I was very frustrated and had to throw out my breakfast and start over. As I was picking up shards of glass, my mother called. And do you know what I did? I blamed her. For breaking my glass. Ridiculous, right? I told her it never would have happened if she didn’t recommend I get rid of my (hot pink) plastic cups I have been using since college and get real glasses. I could tell I hurt her feelings, but when I thought about it… it was her fault! Right?! WRONG. But it felt good for it not to be my fault. (I cleaned up the glass, remade my breakfast and called her afterwards apologizing and telling her it obviously was not her fault).

So I ask you- are you sometimes hitting your “VBL Snooze Button”? Are you sometimes blaming someone else for something you know you have responsibility over? How can you start taking ownership of those choices- waking up when that stimuli BEEP BEEP BEEPs and being proactive?



Danielle Aaronson

Danielle Aaronson

Danielle’s mission is to inspire leaders to make intentional choices that move them to positive action. She speaks at conferences, management summits, and leadership programs as well as facilitates efforts with executives and senior leaders at organizations seeking to influence their culture. Her mantra, “be the change you wish to see in the world” has allowed her to strive every day to be the best she can be and help others recognize the potential they have to make a positive difference. @deaaronson

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