The dictionary definition of "Accountable" is; responsible for what you do and being able to give satisfactory reason for it.
How often do we find ourselves looking for someone to blame when things go wrong? How many times we ran away from responsibility- so we wouldn't be the ones dealing with consequences? We all do it. As kids, as adults, managers, team-mates, we do it in relationships and within ourselves.
I am not going to talk about blame today- the connection and reciprocity between accountability, blame and shame are studied and best explained by Brene' Brown.
Today I want to talk to you about being accountable; being responsible for my behavior, my choices, my actions and my horsemanship.
What does being accountable mean to you? Who do you hold accountable? Should you hold your horse responsible? For what standards should you hold your horse? Or should you be the responsible one?
So many questions and only one word. What do we do?
First of all, at least from my point of view, accountability is made out of 3 parts; Why? - the reason, what? – the action, and the consequences that can vary from Who? Where? When? And more.
Most of the time the first thing you'll notice will be the What? (the action). We act, and then ask ourselves- Why? in order to deal with the consequences of our actions. That is where being mindful and aware comes into the picture. Being accountable is a CHOICE- it is your- our choice. It means being pro-active, not just reacting to situations but taking the time to understand why are we acting that way? Is this the best way? What will be the consequences of my actions? This, is accountability. This, is being 100% responsible for YOURSELF-OURSELVES.
It takes time, I know. It takes awareness, self-work and at first it won't be easy, it will be thought consuming and might feel like you are acting in delay. That is okay, and it will become easier- it just takes practice.
Choosing accountability is not only in a matter of how we act and behave, it can also be related to our horsemanship. How many times have you blamed your horse for not listening or doing as asked? Have you ever demanded your horse's respect without offering them yours? Or maybe, you've had the thought 'this horse needs to learn how to be more responsible'?
We all do/ did. That is a huge part of becoming a better horseman/ woman- acknowledging that your horse, is never wrong. Everything the horse does is a part of something we are reflecting towards it. Horses don't have an on-off switch that starts nor ends the learning process. They are always learning; therefore, at any time we are around them we are teaching them something and if are not aware, if we are not responsible, if we can't hold ourselves accountable we will create the same reflection within the horse.
Yes, sometimes there will be situations where you'll need to "correct" the horse- try phrasing it differently, try "offer the horse a different way"- that is accountability, instead of blaming the horse and creating a punishment we look for the "why?" and we offer a different solution, with that we create a different, more positive, outcome (consequences).
Another thing that comes to mind is, for example; asking for our horse to move a certain way or even collect into the bridle- if our body language and posture will contradict what we are asking we will make it more difficult for the horse to preform and cooperate, that might create struggle and once again the need to "correct" the horse. While sometimes (most of the times to be exact) all we need to do to get the desired outcome is to first and foremost be responsible for ourselves before we demand anything similar from the horse.
It goes the same with people too, none of us can demand or hold someone to a specific standard if we are not accountable for ourselves in that same measure.
Does that make sense?
Last thing to keep in mind is this; choose not only to be accountable but those you hold accountable. Who are the people you let in? the ones that will be there, that you can trust, that even when they call you on your BS that's perfectly fine. Separate those and the others- the ones whose opinion will not cause you to move mountains, the ones you do not look up to, those that you will not ask for their advice- these are the people we don't hold accountable.
Photo by The South Dakota Cowgirl
Thats it for today.
Have a great weekend!