By Maureen “Moe” McBride Russakoff
I’ve always had problems with responsibility. I’m not irresponsible, mine is the opposite problem; I’m hyper-responsible. Hyper-responsible people take 200% responsibility. This approach to life and the world around me has many benefits. My to-do list gets ‘ta done! People trust me to deliver. My ego gets both stoked and stroked by conquering challenges as my list of accomplishments grows. Picturing myself as a superhero is merely an unintended consequence.
My mantra in the past (read out loud and started by heaving a big, heavy sigh) has been: “I’m the one who always does EVERYTHING because I’m the ONLY one who does everything JUST RIGHT! It will take me longer to explain it than just doing it myself.”
How many business owners are trapped inside this self-limiting thinking? The downside of being trapped in this type of micro-management behavior is people around you don’t have room to breathe, much less room to grow. And you will inevitably find yourself overwhelmed. Believing you’re a hero who is always right is hard work! It is inevitable that as you attempt to do the impossible, you will start judging others. Resentments begin to build; “They’re not pulling their weight!” Of course, they’re not – you are pulling their weight for them. You end up complaining about conditions that you creating with your choices. And even though being a superhero is hard work, giving up being right and the tendency to superhero is the hardest work of all.
The good news is it can be done. Gradually and steadily, I’ve learned that by taking a good, deep breath and stepping back from my knee-jerk reactions, I’m discovering greater levels of connection, cooperation and creativity. I’m learning to respond rather than react. I’m improving my responsibility. Fortunately, I have a partner and ally who is helping me shed my superhero costume. He understands the urge to play the role of superhero; he can superhero with the best of us. You often hear that in a good partnership people divide responsibilities right down the middle 50/50. We are now committed to taking 100% responsibility for ourselves. My husband takes 100% responsibility for his actions, choice and feelings, and I take 100% responsibility for my actions, choices and feelings.
What my husband and I are practicing today is how to avoid our tendency to take 200% responsibility for the other person, whether in the workplace or in the kitchen. In our businesses, we are learning how to let the people we work with do things the “wrong” way, not just jumping in to try and save the situation. Lo and behold! The world continues to spin on its axis even if we do things differently. Being a superhero is overrated. Now that our superheroes are semi-retired (nobody’s perfect) and we are no longer responsible for everything all the time, we are both better partners, better business people and better leaders.
A serial entrepreneur, Maureen “Moe” McBride-Russakoff founded New Story Games in January of 2014. Having made her living for many years as a professional singer and humorist, her ease, and skill in front of people shines brightest when she writes, speaks and leads in workshop settings. Moe and her husband Rich Rusaskoff provide breakthrough Forum Retreat Facilitation.
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