Episode 5: Power and Progress through Responsibility

About This Episode

Regardless of where you’re starting from, you’ll feel better about yourself. You will make more progress in less time. Your relationships will improve, all of them, including your relationship with your horse, when you develop the habit of personal responsibility.


Transcript for this weeks message

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this episode of The Horsemanship Journey Podcast. I'm Shane Jacob, your host. Hey, I got a pretty cool topic for today. I hope you'll be interested in, I think you will. I know I am. It's something that I work on, on a consistent basis. Today's topic, I wanted to talk about is responsibility.

Now, I'm not talking about the kind of responsibility for that we take in like in caring for the horse or something like that, but what I'm talking about is the responsibility of our results. So, what I mean by that is, well, first of all, when you say the word responsibility, it's like, oh my gosh, it sounds so hard. It's just like a lot of work. I don't even, ah, who wants to talk about responsibility? It just sounds painful. But the truth of the thing of it is responsibility, personal responsibility is just so empowering. It's not being dependent on anyone or anything else. It's being where we don't have to rely or depend on anything outside of ourselves. And it gives us the power to control our lives to the extent that we can control our outcomes.

The thing that we want to control, the thing that we can control and that we want to control is ourselves and we can do that when we have the realization we exercise responsibility. So how do you know if you're responsible as you can be? Now most people are like, well, I'm fully responsible. Maybe you are, maybe you're not. I don't think that it's something that you arrive at and you get and you're there. I think it's more of something that you aspire to.

It's a pursuit that you can work on over the course of your life that you're never like going to arrive and actually be perfect at it and get it all right. A hundred percent of the time. It's something that is, that goes on over a period of a lifetime, if you choose it to be.

Now, a lot of people do look at it like they look at horsemanship, as if oh yeah, I'm good at that. I got that done, check the box done, move on to the next thing. Self-confidence. Oh, yeah, I got that when I was a kid. I got plenty of that and I can prove to you that I have some, so there you go. Personal responsibility. I understand that, I heard about that, and I did that one too. That's not how I view it.

I view it I would suggest that you don't either that you take a look at this and you think it through and you see where you're at on this and you commit to pursuing it and I’ll explain why because it's an important deal So, how do you know if you're as responsible as you can be? How do you know?

Number one is, here's how you know. Listen for your language. Listen to the language and catch yourself. Pay attention to yourself, not really catch yourself, but pay attention, be aware. Be aware of your language. Here's what I mean. You hear things like. Well, that's the way I'm made. That's the way I am. That's the way my family is.

A lot of times I have an opportunity to, in my work, we have a feed sale business and we employ a few people and it's a hard, it's hard, physically a hard job and it's hot in Las Vegas, Nevada and we're moving hay around and we have a little bit more turnover than I would prefer. But I have a chance to talk to a lot of employees that come and go in this process. And I hear the language of employees. What I'm talking about is this, is one of the first things I hear is, well, I was told, or no one ever told me, nobody told me, or I thought, that's the big one. Or I assumed, you know, so and so.

For most horse people, we hear things like, and we do this, I mean, kind of. We've probably all done it a little bit, but we hear things like the language of horse people for irresponsibility is my horse won't blah, blah. He won't let me, you know, he won't go in a trailer or he won't cross water or, he won't let me clip his ears with the electric clippers, or he doesn't like, you know, he doesn't like that cinch or, he doesn't like to have, you know, a bath or, he doesn't, whatever, he doesn't like it.

So basically, what these, the language is, is basically we make these excuses is what they are as hard as it is to accept. We do make excuses and we say them as simply as they're just like facts of life. This is the way it is. Can't you see? He doesn't like that. Can't you see he doesn't like it? That's the way it is. We, go about it a lot of times unconsciously, we're not even really intentionally knowing. We just present it as if it were a fact or a reason that is totally out of our control, that's just the way it is.

And so why do we do this and why do we do it automatically? So what, where is this kind of stuff coming from? Because a lot of times we do it, we're not even aware of the kind of things that are coming out of our mouth and how, like we're either not, why we're not getting the results that we want.

The thing about it is, is that at the core of irresponsibility is the core of excuses. At the very basis, if you go right down to the core of what it is, the reason that we do this, whether it's conscious or not, is because of how we think about ourselves. So consciously or not, we don't want to be seen as less than everybody else. We want everybody to thinks we're right about everything. So everybody think we're awesome. And we want to be right about everything. I mean, we want to, I want to be right. So that we'll think we're awesome. Right. And if, uh, if someone, if it's someone else's fault, you know, we're right and they're wrong. So it's, it's a lot easier if it's, if it's not us, it's somebody else. And we can still be okay. We can feel okay about ourselves because, Hey, it's not us. That's wrong. It's somebody else.

At the core of irresponsibility is an effort, usually a subconscious effort, to basically to prove to ourselves and to the world around us, to the people around us that we're valuable, that we're smart, that we're not an idiot, that we're awesome. So the question is, why are we trying to prove this to ourselves and to the world? Why are we either consciously making these excuses and practicing irresponsibility?

At some level we kind of all do it a little bit. And so why? Why are we trying to prove this to ourselves and to the world? And the reason is because deep down, we are relying on some degree to what other people think about us to determine our value. Because really, we don't know if we're valuable. We don't know if we're awesome. We don't know if we're priceless. We don't know if we are an unbelievably unique and invaluable soul. You know, we don't know that we're the priceless person that we are.  

The other thing is, is that it feels good to push off the responsibility. You know, that's why we do it is because it feels good. It feels good for a moment to have other people look at us and this not be our fault. And so we get a gain for it. We don't just do it for some, it's not because we're crazy, we get a little bit of a gain for it. But it's a paradox in that it works backwards because what ends up happening is we actually end up eroding our self-confidence, and we feel worse about ourselves when we make these subtle excuses. Subconsciously, we feel worse even though we get a temporary feel better in the moment. And nearly, like I said, nearly everyone does this to one degree or another. So don't be over there making excuses about it unless you want worse results.

So there's a book, Extreme Ownership. It's a pretty popular book. It's by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. I’m not sure if hopefully I got pronounce those names, right? But they tell a story inside that book and I'm gonna paraphrase the story because I think it does a really good job of explaining ownership and why, responsibility being ownership.

So, here's the story they are in Iraq, let's say and they are both soldiers and they are both leaders and they have an injured, man. And he's bleeding and he's dying and they need to get him to the chopper, to get him home, to get him to the hospital, to save his life. But the things are going bad. Somebody forgot some of the first aid stuff, somebody lost or the, you know, something happened to their GPS signal so, they're not able to communicate with the chopper. Somebody told them the wrong directions, right?And they don't have the right equipment. And I mean, everything's going bad.

In this moment, they can take a look at the radio guy, who, I don't know, didn't do his job and now they can't be in contact as well as they could. They can look at who gave them the directions. They can do all these things and focus on what's going wrong. Or they can look and say to themselves, what can I do in this moment to save this man's life? Okay, what can I do to get him to the chopper? What can we do? And I just thought when I heard this story, it just so much resonated with me that it just made responsibility and ownership totally clear to me.

Because what the deal is, is it really doesn't matter all this other stuff that's going on around. The only thing that matters is if you want the result, what can you do to move forward in progress and get the result. And once that you take ownership of what's going on, right? Because look, remember the guys, if they're just focused on, if they're mad at the radio guy, because he broke the radio, or they're mad at the first aid guy because he didn't bring the right supplies or whatever, so they can stop the bleeding and on and on and all the things that are going wrong and who's responsible for what.

Instead of looking outside of themselves, and blaming all this other stuff for everything that's failing around them, if they, the only thing that they can do to progress to save this guy's life is looking to say, ask themselves this question: what can I do in this moment, moment to move forward and to make progress to do everything I can do to save this man's life? You know, when it's life or death, it's a lot easier to see, and I think that's why it was so easy for me to see, and I hope I've explained it in a way that you can see it.

So basically, if we want, progress. If we want better results in our life, the only thing that matters is what we can do right now in the moment and what we could have done differently so that next time what we can do differently in the future to make it to where we're not in this spot next time. Now, taking ownership does not mean you're responsible for somebody else's behavior. Okay, you're not a martyr. It doesn't mean you know that you need to assume ownership for something that somebody else did.

The only thing that we're talking about is, is ourselves, right? Regardless of what anybody else is doing or what happens to us, what we do have control over is ourselves. And when we assume that ownership, we've given ourselves the power to move forward and make progress. And when we don't, we're just stuck. You know, I think that really in the times in my life where I really felt stuck. That's kind of why, you know, is because I've been looking at all the blaming, and making excuses for all the things, the circumstances that, you know, I've been blaming everything instead of, instead of looking at myself and asking myself the question, what I can, what I can do.

So the key takeaway here in this conversation about responsibility is, okay, one, to recognize irresponsibility. Listen. And so how you do that is you listen for the language of excuses. You listen to your thoughts and your words, your own of what are you hearing? Like, when somebody says something to you, do you instinctively react with an excuse? Well, hey, uh, you didn't get this turned in on time. Well, blah, blah. I just want you to know that blah, blah. This is why, you know, instead of that language, if you can recognize that, your husband or your wife's upset at you.

Well, is your first language to come up with some, to make up some reason why, or to look at the situation and say, okay, here's where we're at, what can I do in that where we're at right now to make progress moving forward and what could I have done? Let me take a little look at it and see what I can do differently in the past so that I have a better outcome next time we go down this road.

Same thing goes with our horses. It's the same thing, right? It's a relationship with our horse. And so, if things didn't go well, we can sit there and ruminate on his bad attitude and why he didn't do this, what happened, this and that, the other, instead of really the only thing that we're going to do to influence this horse is to take a close look at ourselves and see that what we can do different is gonna influence him to have a different outcome.

So the first thing is to recognize, listen for the language in thoughts and words that we have, listen for the language of making excuses. The next thing, number two, okay, second part, is to have it be okay. Just have it be okay. You're okay, you're normal, you're not perfect, and that's okay, you're an imperfect soul, okay? Have it be okay that you did this.

You're just gonna accept it, okay? You don't have to love it. Here's the thing about acceptance. I used to think that if I accepted that I wasn't as good as I wanted to be, that I was accepting mediocrity and that I could never be good, which is also a paradox, because what I've learned is accepting me for how I am does not mean that I'm gonna stay the way that I am, and by accepting that, gives me the power to move forward and improve.

What I'm asking you to do is, is number two, if you wanna work on this, and you wanna improve, your life and your relationship with horses and people is to have it be okay when you recognize it. Just have it be okay. I recognized this and I did it, so actually I can make it mean whatever I want. How about making it mean a good thing, a good thing that you recognized it because now you've given yourself the power, you've empowered yourself to make progress and move forward. That's number two. Have it be okay. Really important step.

The third step is to take the focus, consciously take the focus off when you recognize this language, take the focus off the other thing or person, okay? Move the focus off. It doesn't matter what they did or what happened, or just move away from that. If it's your horse, just rather than trying to think his thoughts and come up with why he did this and all these things that we do that are not valuable, look and ask yourself this question. Okay, pretty simple. What can I do? Right? What can I do? What can I do in this situation right now? Right? And also what can I do in this situation in the future moving forward if I don't like the result I'm getting so that I get a better result next time?

I'm gonna go through those again because they're super duper important. Number one is to just to listen and recognize the language of irresponsibility or excuses, okay? To hear your thoughts and your words and recognize it. The second one, number two, is just to have it be okay. Have it, make it mean, don't make it mean, do not make it mean that something's wrong with you or you're screwing up or you're totally doing it wrong. You're doing it right if you recognize it.  And that's okay, because you're gonna do it less if you don't wanna do it. you're going to be doing it less because you recognized it. And then step three is simply to ask yourself, what can I do in this situation? And what can I do in the future if I don't, if I want to avoid this situation? And then of course, take action towards that.

So now let's let's go back and look at a couple of these examples that I brought up in the beginning, okay? That's the way I'm made. That's the way I am. That's the way my family is. If I hear myself saying, well, I did that, but you know, well, I do have a short temper. So, you know, that's why. And if I hear myself saying something like that or close, that's the way I am or, you know, well, all everybody in my family has a short fuse. So here I'm just one of my family. So that's why, if I, if I catch myself in that, what's the alternative?

Okay. I was a little bit short with you. Okay. Fine. I was a lot short with you and that's okay. So I'm recognizing that, first of all, I recognize that, I recognize the language, okay? Because I'm saying, well, that's just the way I am sometimes. That's the language.

Part two is to have it be okay. I made an excuse. First of all, I'd like to improve my performance here. I recognize that my language of irresponsibility. And it's okay that I'm doing this because I want to do something different and this is how I'm going to get a better result. So it's okay.

And the third thing is to ask myself, what can I do here? If I, if I did something, I was a little bit short. I was rude. I did have my anger come out and whatever I can, whether it was a horse or people, I can go back and I can, I can try to repair. Right. I can try to repair what I did, make right my wrong. And then I can look at this and I can say, okay, where did this come from? And how can I try to avoid this thing in the future? And then I can move forward on that. Now I'm on my way to improving my life and my horsemanship.

From employees, you know, I was told, well, I was told I get this one a lot. Or, I thought, I get that one a lot too, from employees. And hopefully I don't do it too much because it's not helpful. The fact that no one told you or the fact that you were told is kind of irrelevant to the disaster that you created. The fact that you assume something is awful interesting, but for the fact that you had a thought that directed you to do something that was incorrect in this job is, a fun fact of the day, but it doesn't make a shit really for difference because it's not helping anything. It doesn't help what you did and it doesn't help the future.

So if I recognize that, I can say, okay, I did make that assumption. And so rather than make an assumption, the question is, is what can I do? Okay, what can I do in this situation? Next time that I think that I'm moving forward or I have a thought or I'm making assumption, I can get clarity from somebody who has the, authority to make this decision rather than acting on my assumption when I don't have the authority to do so.

In my example here, if you're with me, from horse people. We're talking about, you know, your horse won't do this and that and the other, he won't let you or he won't really, he won't. I mean, is what you're saying is that he won't ever, are you saying that no one on planet earth could ask your horse in a different way and get a different result? No one, because he won't. Okay, recognize that language.

He doesn't like. Did he tell you that? I know you're very intuitive and I'm not saying that I know your horse better than you, you know your horse better than anyone. However, are you positive that he doesn't like X, Y, Z? I mean, maybe he does and he just hasn't been able to experience in it in a way that he could appreciate it. I don't know. Sounds like the language of irresponsibility to me because it is, and it's not going to help you if you want a different result.

If you want a different result recognize the language, have it be okay that you're doing it, and look at and ask yourself the question, what can you do in this situation? And you're on your way to move forward. Responsibility, like I said, it's not something that you achieve and you get, you can get better at it. Okay. It's a progression, but sometimes we make little mistakes and, but you know, the thing about life is as long as we wakeup breathing, we got another chance to hit it hard and try again the next day Right.

So, it's not something that I don't believe it's something that you arrive at, that you're going to get to a place where you're a thousand percent responsible all the time, you're probably going to make some little this's and that's at least I do. And it's okay. I have no problem with me, when I do, because most of the time I catch it and most of the time I can take a look and have it be okay. And then I can move forward and it makes tremendous being able to progress rather than being stuck is a lot happier place to be.

If you commit to this pursuit of improving your ownership, improving the way that you handle personal responsibility, you will form the habit of recognizing it, you'll get better at it, you'll get much better at it as time goes by, it'll be easier because it'll be habitual, the way you view yourself will improve.

I guarantee you that the way you think about you will improve as you develop this habit, regardless of where you're starting from. If you think you're nearly perfect or if you think you totally suck at it, no matter where you are, the way that you view yourself will improve and that will have an impact on everything because that is the biggest thing,

That's the big thing. So you'll feel better about yourself and you'll make more progress in less time. Your relationships will improve, all of them, including your relationship with your horse. I guarantee it. You're not blaming him as much, will result in better outcomes for your horse and for you, Period.

Again, responsibility isn't something that we achieve, and then go on to the next thing. It's a lifelong pursuit. I invite you to commit to that lifelong pursuit, because I can guarantee you that the results will be better, your life will improve, and that is what The Horsemanship Journey is about, is improved lives, excuse me, improved lives for horses and people.

Hey, thank you for joining me today for this episode.Remember, Don't Ever Stop Chasin It!

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