On-the-line-ophobia: the fear of responsibility

Seth Godin sited a survey in a presentation on which students were asked if they wanted to be a CEO of a global company, president of a non-profit, or the personal assistant to a famous singer or actor.  And over 40% of the respondents said “personal assistant.”  He described that the role of a personal assistant is close enough to the action to have bragging rights and to be part of the fun, but far enough away as to avoid the responsibility and vulnerability that comes with being in charge.

Are you afraid of responsibility?  Do you select roles where you are supporting others, implementing their ideas, or working their priorities?  Teamwork is critical and collaboration important, but do you work on teams to avoid personal accountability for the results of your actions?  Are you quick to blame others when things are not successful?  Are you comfortable and confident enough in your skills and opinions to advocate for them?

As Theodore Roosevelt said in his speech “Citizenship in a Republic” given in France in 1910, “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

See you in the arena!