Accountability through Adversity

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Let’s start here: I can be better.

 I’m not the leader, the teammate, the father, the husband, the person that I aspire to be; not even close. These days, I see many of my own faults flare up too often—be it through my actions or, more importantly, my lack of actions. It’s painful, and it’s painfully obvious, too. 

I don’t want to ignore it. Really, I can’t: As I look out my window while writing this, I see businesses shuttered. I see boarded up windows. Just three blocks north, the only signs left of a decades-old local pharmacy are the charred scraps of its siding scattered across the gaping hole that used to be the building’s foundation. Sure, our St. Paul, Minn., neighborhood has “calmed,” but this is a community that is very much still reeling from the double impact of a global pandemic and unbridled social unrest. 

Times like this should cause us to be more reflective, regardless of our situations in life, personal beliefs, ethnicities, political affiliations, etc. Why do we do what we do? Why do we do it in the way we do it? Does our own perception of our work, our teams, and ourselves match what others see? Do those perceptions match what we truly want them to be? 

Maybe these answers come easily. Maybe they aren’t the answers we want. Maybe they change day to day for you—like they often do for me. 

Finding the solutions to the problems we face often starts with self-awareness. We need to understand our own roles, and the impact we’ve had on those challenges arising. We need to hold ourselves accountable to the part we play and the standards we set; the standards we expect not only ourselves but all those around us to uphold. We’re all part of our communities and our teams, and when you’re part of a system, you’re accountable to the results that come out of it—whether that’s due to your actions or your lack of actions. 

So many of you reading this are outstanding leaders, not only in your businesses but in your communities and the industry at large. We try to share your inspiring stories and helpful strategies in our magazine each month. Hopefully, it motivates everyone else to follow your lead. I know it does for me. All of us have the opportunity to lead those around us, to set a better example, to be the person we want to be. We can create work environments that are transparent, honest, collaborative and accepting of people; an environment that allows people to thrive and propels everyone to success. 

I’ve paraphrased the quote before in this space, but adversity doesn’t build character, it reveals it. And here’s the good part: If you don’t like what it reveals, now’s your opportunity to change it. I’ll be the first to raise my hand and say I have work to do. 

So, let’s end there: I will be better; that’s a promise.


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