'Best intentions!' I wasn't happy. 'What exactly was the good intention? How can you say your intentions are good, when you have betrayed my confidence?'
'I am so concerned for you, I felt you needed more prayer, so I rang a few people and asked them to pray.'
'How many people?'
'Well...I don't know...I didn't count...'
'Good intentions are not good enough! That does not excuse your behaviour.'
It is many years since I was part of this sad conversation. I recovered and life continued but I leant something that day. We must be accountable for our actions, without hiding behind the excuse that we meant well. I often remind myself that good intentions are not enough. Good behaviour, coming from sound decisions, is essential.
My husband is a business coach. He helps business owners to grow healthy businesses. One of the first things he requires is they live 'Above the Line' where everyone takes Accountability, Ownership and Responsibility for all their decision. There is no place for Blame-shifting, Excuses, Denial.
In other words you can choose to live as a Victor or a Victim. Victorious people live above the line. Because they know they'll be accountable for their decisions, they consider them carefully. If the decision is wrong they will take responsibly and fix the mess, make amends, or pay damages. They will say, 'I should have better trained my team member,' rather than blame the team member.
In a victorious life there is no place for blaming our spouse, our parents, the dog or our sad childhood experiences.
Victor don't use the kids as an excuse for being late.
Victim: 'I never received an email!' Victor: 'Sorry. I must have overlooked that email.'
Victim: 'It wasn't my fault. Someone changed the settings.' Victor: 'I didn't check the settings.'
Victim: 'I'm not yelling!' Victor: 'I over reacted. My apologies. Can we try again?'
If you look at the first letter of the words above you'll see that victims, those that don't take ownership, end up in BED, the doona over their head as they feel sorry for themselves. But as you begin to take accountability you find an OAR in your hand, a tool that can be used to move yourself forward. It took me a couple of years of practice to make 'Above the Line' a permanent way of life. The chart remains as a constant reminder on the wall of our house. It brings a productive and harmonious home where we live beyond good intentions.
What about you? Do you practice taking responsibility or do think good intentions are good enough?