Taking Responsibility as a Leader

What’s up guys, welcome to Five Minute Fatherhood. So I don’t know if you guys have ever read the book, Extreme Ownership, it’s a Jocko Willink book. He’s a Navy Seal and it has a really basic thesis, which is that as a leader, you’re better off assuming that everything is your fault and a probably more positive way of saying that is, is to take ownership over everything. And this is extremely important for fathers to hear because there are so many breakdowns that happen in the family. And I know that for so many of us men, our first question is, is this my responsibility? Is this my fault? That attitude, or this meal is the way it is, or things are getting clean or we’re not on mission as a family or my relationship with my wife isn’t great, whatever challenges you face as a family.

And I would just say that it’s not true that it’s your fault, a hundred percent your fault. I don’t think that’s true. However, if you pretend like it was a hundred percent your fault, things will get much better, much faster. And that’s a really interesting paradox to decide that I’m willing to treat every problem as if it’s my problem. And when it comes to the household, and basically what Willink is saying in the book is that, that’s what great leadership looks like. If you have a lot of authority and a lot of influence or a lot of responsibility over anything, then the more ownership you take.

In other words, the more responsibility or a sense of that this is my problem, the better things tend to get. And this is really where things break down in families and in marriages, when we’re playing some weird dance with our spouse, where its 50% my responsibility and 50% your responsibility, and I’ve kind of miscalculated, so I’ve left out a thousand things. And so really it’s only 20% my responsibility and 20% yours. And there’s 60% of what is in our family that nobody’s taking ownership for. And it’s always kind of breaking down and that’s the typical Western family. And that doesn’t work real well. It works way better if there’s an extreme ownership coming, especially from the father. But yeah. Jeff, what are your thoughts on that?

Yeah, I totally agree. It’s one of those ones where it’s not ideal, it’s kind of like a bullet to bite. Bite the bullet on it, but, it’s kind of like a, it won’t hurt, it’ll only make things better and only accelerate your growth. It’s a little bit of a life hack, right? You’re not really functionally changing a ton except for you are because when you start believing that or just kind of testing it, then you change things differently. Because it’s very easy for us as humans to abdicate our responsibility based on someone else being at fault.

But if you just kind of say, “I’m going to stop that even as almost a game, you’re almost gamifying of no matter what, and just see how it goes, then it usually goes a lot better. So I would say, yeah, you try it for a month. Try it for a month, just be like, “Okay, I’m just going to pretend like all these were my fault. How would I change it? What would I do? How would I step into that,” and apologize, or repent, or turn around, or help, or offer a solution and see what it does. And I think it would be really interesting on what it does to your family culture.

Yeah. And I think the thing that what’s really hard for a lot of guys is when if they’re really conscientious and you act like everything’s your fault, you might start to indulge in self-pity or just feel depressed or overwhelmed. And so it’s really important to do this in a way where, and this is where it’s a really tricky balance, where you act as if it’s your fault, but you don’t actually allow yourself to take the negative emotions in, as if you’re screwing up all the time. That’s really tricky. When leaders have figured that out, when leaders approach every one of these things as if it’s their responsibility, but they’re not absorbing all of the negative emotion that comes from feeling like, I’m failing all the time. Some of you guys are hearing that, and please don’t hear that because that does not help. But if you do weigh in and take responsibility, I really think that’s when things get better.

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