These two powerful terms totally resonate with me. “Fierce Accountability” and “Radical Responsibility” I just feel their meaning deeply because they highlight my values for being responsible in relationships to others in all areas of life.
I believe we need to embrace 5 principles and qualities of consciousness, compassion, curiousity, committment and courage to have the ability to create awesome relationships personally and professionally. I want to explore more deeply what it takes to actually action the principle of consciousness, how to develop this quality and make the changes you need to create positive relationships going forward. These steps are what will change your life towards a direction you want; towards more harmonious relationships, more professional success and ultimately a happier and more fulfilling life.
Thinking impacts how you feel and only you can change how you think by becoming more aware of what you are saying to yourself and how you are feeling. You can’t have a feeling without thinking something.
What does it mean to be fiercely accountable? For me that starts with the simple idea that no sentence starts with ‘You did this, You did that….” which implies that someone else is responsible and can often sound like a criticism and as we know relationships of any sort, personal or professional do not thrive on criticism.
Fierce accountability means that you take responsibility for your own feelings and needs, and express them in a positive and collaborative way. Doesn’t mean that you aren’t emotional but it means that you don’t blame anyone and that you are acutely aware of what you need to express without criticism, contempt, defensiveness or withdrawing known as the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse by Dr. John Gottman. It means staying in the conversation until everyone feels heard and understood and there is resolution and understanding. It means “own your stuff”
Managing to be fiercely accountable means you understand that you need to be clear with yourself first on how you are feeling, what you are thinking and what you need to happen going forward.
We know through science that what we think and the stories embedded in our minds affect our perspectives and how we feel. Then there are a few other underlying principles that one needs to be accomplished at to be a successful communicator.
One is being able to be in your own process of figuring out what you need. That means being able to wait until you understand what you are feeling and what you need.
We all have needs and values so learning what your needs are, is an important step to being more aware and conscious, which is essential if any of us are to create wonderful successful relationships. Sometimes for me I have to take time to process what I am feeling so I can sort out what I need and I would like to suggest that until you are clear you don’t even try to have any important conversation. One must have clarity and awareness of oneself to Create Successful Conversations.
To help you understand some of our needs I have listed our most basic human needs;
1) Physiological: hunger, thirst, bodily comforts etc
2) Safety/security: out of danger, emotionally and physically
3) Belongingness and Love: affiliated & connected with others, be accepted
4) Esteem: to achieve, be competent, gain approval and recognition
5) Cognitive: to know, to understand, and explore
6) Aesthetic: symmetry, order, and beauty
7) Self-actualization: to find self-fulfillment and realize one’s potential
8) Self-transcendence: to connect to something beyond the ego or to help others find self-fulfillment and realize they’re potential
These needs are huge drivers for our happiness and fulfillment and then beyond them are our individual personal needs such as respect, loyalty, honesty, authenticity, integrity, punctuality, cleanliness etc I think you get the idea.
Dr. Marshall Rosenberg author & creator of NVC-Non-Violent Communication says “conflicts between individuals or groups arise from miscommunication about their human needs, due to coercive or manipulative language that aims to induce fear, guilt, shame, etc. These modes of communication, when used during a conflict, divert the attention of the participants away from clarifying their needs, their feelings, their perceptions, and their requests, thus perpetuating the conflict”
This next statement to me is so profound, when you consider all the negative strategies we do use to get our needs met.
“NVC theory supposes all human behavior stems from attempts to meet universal human needs and that these needs are never in conflict. Rather, conflict arises when strategies for meeting needs clash. NVC proposes that if people can identify their needs, the needs of others, and the feelings that surround these needs, harmony can be achieved”
Let me share with you a wee simple story to explain what I mean. Some of you may even have experienced this yourself.
I have 4 wonderful adult sons, which means I have been through 4 teenage boys that all did sports and didn’t value or have a need for tidy rooms in the same way I did. Now some professionals would say “just close the door” and ultimately I know that is a good healthy option however I on the other hand need organization to feel relaxed and secure. So for awhile I was trying to do what the professionals tell you to do and failing miserably every time I would see their rooms I would get anxious and so not “zen” which was my responsibility to deal with, however sometimes one needs help and support to bring out ones Zen qualities.
I had to really figure out what was behind it for me and I learned a few things, I have a need for tidiness and organization and I value aesthetic beauty and symmetry. So once I was clear on that bit, I had to decide what my intention was before having the conversation, as I did not want to damage or strain my already fragile relationship with my teen. My intention was for my son to understand me and what was important to me in the HOPE that he might (if I was lucky) support me so I could feel more at peace. There was always the chance he might not think it important but I could at least try. Most people want to please others, as long as your request doesn’t compromise their needs or values. When presented with a well thought out request it is more than likely people will cooperate or at least negotiate with you for a compromise.
So here is what I said:
1. INTENTION or HOPE–I was hoping to help you understand how your room impacts me and that we have a conversation to come up with a solution that is a win-win for both of us.
2. STATING THE PROBLEM without criticism or judgment-When I see your room with clothes and sports gear on the floor
3. FEELINGS-I feel anxious, unsafe and unsettled
4. NEEDS & VALUES-because I have a need for order, cleanliness, tidiness and organization and value symmetry and beautiful surroundings
5. ASK-Would you be willing to clean up your room once a week and do laundry so your room is tidy and clean?
We have to be prepared for a no and not be attached to an outcome but the response I received was positive and showed me he understood what was important to me. He did collaborate with me to do his room and laundry once a week, which was my compromise as I would have unrealistically preferred it once a day LOL but the beauty of this is it shows how to create connection and cooperation rather than disconnection, discord and disharmony.
So I hope you can see the importance of understanding yourself so you can be clear on your feelings, needs and values so you can Create More Successful Conversations in your life. Here is an exercise to help you:
FIGURING IT ALL OUT
You are the primary caregiver of all of your own needs physically, emotionally & spiritually. If you find yourself triggered, feeling anxious & panicked it is important to take some time to reflect on the real causes of the upset so as to not damage your relationships. Here are some ideas to help you stay with your own process and not get into the judging and blame game with anyone.
Here are a few questions we all can ask ourselves in regards to the issue at hand:
1.What am I feeling? Check in with your body, what can you feel and check in with what you are thinking, what am I saying to myself this means. Is it about something else current or historical? Am I being triggered? Why might that be? What story are you telling yourself? Ask yourself what is true?
2. Given these feelings, what do I need or want? How can I take responsibility and care for this? If appropriate, what do I need from others? Be concrete & specific: compassion, listening, acknowledgement, reassurance, support etc……..
3. Through compassion and curiosity spend some time contemplating: What is the other person’s perspective? What might their feelings & needs based on what you know about them or by what they are expressing?
4. Ask yourself; is there anything that I need to take responsibility for regarding the issue at hand? Am I causing disconnection & suffering? What am I doing that is contributing to the problem?
Ie: self-defeating behaviour like using my anger, quitting, lying, being defensive, blaming, criticizing and using contempt to name a few. What do I need to validate & acknowledge the other person’s experience?
5. Ask yourself; What is my intention? How will I share this information? Considering tone, timing, and honestly asking yourself: Am I ready (am I still reactive)? Am I coming from a place of love and an open heart with the intention to achieve understanding and to create connection?