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Greetings everyone, it’s Joe Dwyer and I am excited to be with you on week three of accountability.

I would like to start this week with the definition of accountability as it appears in most dictionaries. It simple says, “to accept responsibility”. I must tell you that it is not often that I look to change something in such a formal public document, but I really believe that I like to suggest that we change, in our own minds, this definition for accountability. Instead of saying, “accept responsibility”, I am going to make two points today to make it say “embrace your responsibility”. Embrace your responsibility, I believe, is a much more effective definition of accountability that will take us to a higher level for our life and those that we interact with.

First and foremost is obviously the word “embrace” over the word “accept”. Accept implies, something that I have to do. Embracing it is just that…to embracing it with great enthusiasm and ownership, which will, of course, later roll into the word “your”. But staying with the word embrace for a minute let us consider one of my favorite sayings which is . . . winners are like tea bags, you don’t know their full strength until they are in hot water.

That is really the case when it comes to our level and our embracing of responsibility and accountability in our life. It is ridiculously easy for any of us to embrace responsibility when it’s something easy. Think about it…sure coach I’m happy to take on all the responsibility you want to give me for us winning the game. Sure boss, I’m very happy to take on as much responsibility as possible since we surpassed our objectives once again. Those are very simple and I would say irrelevant to really embracing responsibility in our life.

SHELBY  May 2010 046-smallInstead we must look at those times where things get quite difficult. Here again, this is where I turn to my girl, Shelby. Shelby as I have said to you in previous segments, suffered tremendous abuse in her early life requiring surgery that was quite extensive for both of her back legs. In doing so she needed months of rehabilitation. During that time, I witnessed an incredible act of embracing responsibility and accountability in her life. It is very easy at this point for any of us, Shelby included, to have taken this difficult moment and try to give it to someone else.

Instead she did just the opposite. She couldn’t have been more accepting, embracing and kind in taking on what she was given in this rehabilitation during her surgery than she did. With acts of kindness, thankfulness for what we were doing for her during in her rehabilitation time, and just her overall demeanor spoke volumes of how each of us can embrace our responsibility in difficult times. Oh yes, doesn’t it make us that much more of a winner in life and a winner with our self when we can do this so effectively.

So, I know that this is putting out quite a challenge but now let us look at sometimes how we can get ourselves clouded to our approach on accountability and embracing it. That is why I put out the word embrace “your” responsibility in there. Quite often we take on the responsibilities of others when we react too much to something. I can tell you that just recently I was watching a news show in which a sports coach was being extremely unkind to reporters and people after his team had lost a game. I sat there and said how dare he, how awful he is being that way and in a very telling way I can easily accept or embrace his responsibility by overreacting to it. I can take it to great levels of getting too involved or surmising what I might do or what he should have done. I should probably have been more understanding and relating more to embracing my own responsibility in my life.

I think we could all relate to this important and powerful point. I ask you to consider it very much when you take on this third lesson of embracing our own accountability. So I think it is time for some action items. I think it is time to see how we are going to make progress this week, which I know we will.

First I don’t think any of us should take on the level of difficulty that Shelby endured. Certainly those things are without our control. We could easily take a look at some very small issue that is going on in our life. We could take a step back and say how can I let this hot water seep through me so I can become stronger when a very much more intense challenge is placed before me. How can I be more like Shelby in a sense of embracing this challenge that is before me and my own accountability. It would be a very good practice for each one of us to take this step.

Secondly, I ask you to consider what happened to me when I listened to the newscast about the coach that I referred to. Are there situations that take place that you could relate to in a similar way? I willing to bet there are. When there are, I ask you to put on that necessary radar so that you could step away from that person’s accountability and instead embrace more your own.

So the other thing that I would like to share with you is that this is really a strong relationship to martial arts training. You really need to understand that life is about embracing these difficult moments and what they might mean later on in your life. When you train in martial arts, you need to do just that, as it becomes an awareness of yourself and what goes on in your life. But ever more so is what I was referring to and how we should start out in small ways to make progress. In martial arts if you don’t learn the basics before you go on to learn more advance techniques, you really not going to make much progress. Certainly not anything meaningful, I can assure you.

Let’s take these steps because I believe they will really move us in a positive direction to embracing our accountability. Make no mistake about it, Shelby wears a very impressive black belt so she, once again, has become an instructor for us all.

Thank you very much and as always I welcome your comments.


  • Look at difficult situations in your life and use them to make you stronger instead of weaker.
  • Embrace your own accountability instead of judging other’s lack of.