Provision #648: Take Responsibility

Laser Provision

Coaching is the responsibility profession. We believe it is always possible for people to improve their situation in life through the power of vision and the consistent application of joyful practices. When people are feeling discouraged and disempowered, we remind them of their capacity and potential. When people are feeling encouraged and empowered, we collaborate in designing new, more effective actions. But it doesn’t take a coach to go there. All we have to do is to claim our potential and take one step in the right direction. I invite you to begin the journey today.

LifeTrek Provision


This past week my wife and I went out to dinner with some friends. One of them reported that last week’s Provision on the Golden Rule had really gotten to him. In fact, he said, he stayed up until 2:00 in the morning reading the Provision and thinking about its ramifications. “Where’s the place for righteous indignation and outrage,” he asked, “if we are always to be guided by the Golden Rule? The people who are doing wrong don’t want to be wronged, so where does that leave us?”

Good question. If everyone lived by the Golden Rule there would be no violent or destructive conflicts, attacks, criticisms, or threats to contend with in human relations. Everyone would seek to understand and respect each other’s needs. When misunderstandings or miscommunications arose, everyone would step back, take a deep breath, and begin anew to make for a more compassionate and wonderful world. Were the Golden Rule to be everyone’s intention at all times, with all people, and in all places, life would be a whole lot better.

Is that an unrealistic expectation? Can we even imagine such a world? We can if we learn to take responsibility for our own intentions, thoughts, words, and actions. What I appreciated about my friend wrestling with that Provision until 2:00 in the morning was the clear sense that he was seeking to understand what it meant for his own life and way in the world. He wasn’t just skimming the surface and moving on to the next whatever. He was going deep to see what he thought of the Golden Rule as a guideline for living.

As we talked, it became clear that life is complicated. US President Barack Obama recognized that in his speech to accept the Nobel Peace Prize. Once the Golden Rule is violated, what are we to do? Someone who is being attacked, criticized, or threatened wants protection, understanding, and justice. So compassion for one may entail restraint of another. On that basis, the protective use of force, armies have been launched and wars have been fought. Applying the Golden Rule is a complicated matter indeed.

Our dinner conversation did not, of course, resolve the issue. Is there ever a resolution to such deep questions? I think not. But our conversation did highlight the responsibility we each have for taking those questions and making them our own. And that is the point of today’s Provision: take responsibility. Do not go through life as helpless victims, even though we may sometimes be victimized. Rather, go through life as creative catalysts who always have the freedom and capability to choose our understandings, approaches, feelings, words, and actions.

That concept, of self-responsibility, is a big part of what keeps coaching in business. In some senses, we are the responsibility profession. We empower people to see and to take responsibility for their own welfare and the welfare of others. That’s not to say that we don’t believe in mutual aid or social security. No one is an island. But we refuse to blame others for our lot in life or to believe that there is nothing we can do to improve our situation.

Coaches come from the framework that life can always be improved through the power of the vision and the consistent application of joyful practices. These things are available to and channeled through us as individuals, but only when we claim them for our own. That’s the message behind the famous passage from Marianne Williamson’s book, A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?”

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

So as we go through this holiday season, that is my message and hope for you. Rise up to the full measure of your calling. The way will not always be clear or easy. You may have to wrestle, and wrestle deeply, at 2:00 in the morning. But if you take responsibility for your life, if you avoid blaming others or playing helpless, if you focus on the questions of who you are and what you can do to make life more wonderful, then all sorts of new things become possible.

I know it’s difficult at times, especially when life throws us for a loop. The Golden Rule is not always followed; not hardly. We notice and suffer violations from the most interpersonal of relationships to the most systemic of policies, practices, and procedures. Life is not fair. But we can still manifest kindness in all our dealings and we can still radiate hope in every moment. We can, in other words, become response-able instead of response-crippled for life.

Coaching Inquiries: What makes you able to respond? How can you let your light shine more brightly? Who believes in your potential and abilities? How can you leverage those champions to get where you want to go in life? Why not call a friend today to talk it through?

To reply to this Provision, use our Feedback Form. To talk with us about coaching or consulting services for yourself or your organization, Email Us or use our Contact Form to arrange a complimentary conversation. To learn more about LifeTrek Coaching programs, Click HereTop

LifeTrek Readers’ Forum (selected feedback from the past week)

Editor’s Note: The LifeTrek Readers’ Forum contains selections from the comments and materials sent in each week by the readers of LifeTrek Provisions. They do not necessarily reflect the perspective of LifeTrek Coaching International. To submit your comment, use our Feedback Formor Email Bob.


I signed up for the Pilot Training course of Evocative Coaching after learning about it through Provisions. Here in the United Arab Emirates, your Provisions are my “WOW! weekly letters.” I look forward to them and use them to inspire me daily, to greater heights when the “vase is empty”. Thanks.


I just watched the video of you from the ICF Conference. You are a ROCK STAR!!! 🙂 The video is awesome. You are so well spoken and articulate! Nice going! 



May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
Immediate Past President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org
Author, Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a TimeOnline Retailers

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