Always on Stage: Responsibility
People observe and form impressions about one another as part of our daily interactions. We can assume that we are on stage every day and that our performance may affect not only us but other people as well.
We can influence the impressions that we leave with people when we:
- Take responsibility for our performance
- Give a credible performance
- Prepare for the performance
- Give our best performance
Responsibility…the tough questions:
- Are we willing to take responsibility for our performance?
- Are we serious about our performance?
- How will our performance affect our audience?
I feel that taking responsibility for our performance is the most important part of the performance. Once we decide that we will be responsible for everything that comes from the performance, we take ownership. Our agenda, positive or negative, helpful or destructive, motivating or self-serving will be manifest by our performance.
Parents have a tremendous responsibility for their performance. Children observe their parents. Parent’s mutual respect and their respect for their parents is a tremendous lesson for their children. It has a generational effect. Parents are always on stage.
Parents also take responsibility by providing the right environment for their children. They seek a socially responsible environment… respectful of authority and other people, morally sound, drug free, with personal accountability. Children are a product of their environment but the environment is dynamic. Environments can change geographically, socially, and by circumstances.
Responsibility also translates beyond the family unit into our professions and daily interactions in society. Our actions may affect other people’s lives and we don’t even know that it happens. I have heard young people attribute their career choice to a favorite teacher, a minister, their doctor, a coach or someone from the history book. You just don’t know when and how you will affect someone’s life.
Dandelions in my Daffodils
I was in the Home Depot the other day browsing thru my favorite section. Plants. I had been working in my garden and was wearing my bib overall, work shoes, and my favorite lucky beat-up ball cap. Someone seeing me might think that I was an old farmer who just came into town.
If I was giving the clerk a hard time because there was a Dandelion in my Daffodils, they might think I was a grumpy old farmer who just came in to town. But suppose a patient recognized me, didn’t know I was an amateur gardener and saw my performance with the clerk. They would see a grumpy, poorly dressed surgeon giving a clerk, who is just doing her job, a hard time.
Same guy, same stage but different impressions. My performance was focused on me and not on my audience. The patient doesn’t know that I had Dandelions in my Daffodils. He only knows that his doctor is a grumpy disrespectful jerk. My performance might effect a young person’s decision to become a doctor…to enter the profession.
I never thought much about this until recently. When looking back at the students that I worked with in dental school, I found a higher than expected number of students went on to graduate school and more specifically into surgery. I continually coached these young men to continue their studies…to seek and achieve higher goals. The doctors that I brought in to talk to them were on stage. I was on stage.
So back to the questions ‘is it important to take responsibility for our performance? The children will think so. The children will always think back to what “mom always told us” or “daddy always said to me that…” Is a Dandelion in my Daffodils more important than being respectful to people? Seriously? Even in my scruffy overalls, I can affect people’s lives. We are always on stage.
My book, “It’s Not What I Know…It’s how I Learned It” is a story of taking responsibility for helping people. The key thing that I had to remember was to take responsibility for my performance. I wanted to try to touch people in ways that would help them be better, get better, feel better and ultimately to live better.
Make it a great day
Next: Always on stage: The Credible Performance.