With Choice Comes Responsibility

Rachelle Disbennett-Lee

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Choice is a powerful thing. Every choice that you make creates the life you live. However, choice does not come without a price, and that price is responsibility, a word I fondly refer to as the “R" word. We all love choice, but when it comes to responsibility, well, that's another story.

In the on-line university classes I teach, the students are assigned a group participation project. It is not mandatory to participate, but it is impossible to achieve an A grade if the student does not participate. I am very clear with my students that no individual grades will be given for the group project, and they have four weeks in which to complete the assignment. It never fails that several students in each class will choose not to participate, reciting numerous excuses to explain why they couldn't work with the group. However, they are always able to complete the project on their own and want credit. I give them the grade I promised when they chose not to participate with the group, a zero. All of the students have a choice to participate or not, but with that choice comes responsibility. They must take responsibility for earning a zero if they choose not to participate. Most are not happy with this consequence and a few have complained to the Dean. The students want the choice but they don't want totake responsibility.

With choice comes great power. With choice, freedom is created, but with freedom comes great responsibility. As Spiderman said, “Great power comes with great responsibility. " You have the freedom to make the choices that you desire, but also the requirement to take responsibility for those choices. I am very willing to take responsibility for the choices I make that turn out well, but not so enthusiastic to lay claim to the choices that don't turn out favorably. When you are able to take responsibility for every choice you make, you truly embrace the real power that comes with choice and the freedom to live your life as you choose.

The world doesn't always provide great examples of taking responsibility. We see politicians passing the buck, people suing companies for spilling hot coffee on themselves, and executives blaming everyone but themselves for the failure of their companies. Pointing the finger at others might seem like the easy way out, but it comes with a price, and that price is the loss of personal power. Whenever you blame someone for a choice you have made, you give your power away and are rendered helpless.

Learning to take responsibility can be a challenging lesson, but once you learn the power of taking responsibility, you will not want to go back. Choice enables you to create your life, and taking responsibility for all of those choices enables you to enjoy life on your terms.

Coach Rachelle Disbennett-Lee, PhD, is a Certified Master Coach specializing in working with business owners and professionals in being more profitable and productive while staying sane and balanced. Coach Lee is the publisher of the award winning e-zine, 365 Days of Coaching. Her first book, 365 Days of Coaching – Because Life Happens Every Day (Universal Publisher, 2004) was named a finalist for Best Book 2004 by Publish.com and has a five star rating on Amazon.com.


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