‘what gets measured gets done’ J.J. Demmings.
Long before self service became de rigueur in petrol stations I subvented my drinking money as a student by filling petrol in Dooley’s Esso station. It was the quintessential student job – good money, great craic and bugger all responsibility. Or so I thought.
My comrade in arms was a Connemara lad called Paddy Ridge. One evening, the biggest Mercedes we’d ever seen pulled into the forecourt and Paddy proceeded to fill it up. As he filled, the driver chatted amiably to Paddy about business, student life and his plans for a career.
All would have gone swimmingly had Amy Lally not chosen to saunter through the forecourt en route to a Dramasoc rehearsal at precisely that time. Any time Amy strutted her stuff on University Road, the traffic would automatically stutter and inevitably stop. It was said that Amy was the inspiration behind the iconic lines in the Sawdoctors song ‘I useta love her’
‘I useta see her up the chapel when she went to Sunday Mass
And when she’d go to receive, I’d kneel down there
And watch her pass
The glory of her ass’
In any event, Paddy was momentarily distracted and inadvertently spilled a dollop of diesel over the drivers immaculate pinstripe suit. The scowl on the drivers face had a lot in common with the smell and stain of diesel – it was toxic and pungent and unlikely to disappear easily.
I’m always fascinated by the ways in which we react or respond in a crisis. It occurred to me in that instant that Paddy had one of three choices – 1. Mutter an excuse about the dodgy fuel line. It actually was leaking. 2. Blame the driver for standing too close to him. 3. Say nothing and hope nothing happened.
Paddy did none of the above.
Looking the driver calmly in the eye he said ‘I’m really sorry for spilling that diesel on your fabulous suit. It was completely my fault and shouldn’t have happened. Unfortunately it will smell and you do need to get it dry cleaned immediately.’
Taking his wallet out of his pocket, he withdrew the only money he had to his name, a carefully folded fiver and said to the Mercedes owner. ‘There’s a great dry cleaners in Briar Hill called Bee Green Dry Cleaners. They use completely natural cleaning materials and your suit will be as good as new afterwards. The owner is a man called Stevie Langan. He’s my uncle. Tell him that Paddy Ridge sent you and to look after you. If it’s not completely as good as new come back to me and I’ll sort it out.’
That was the thing about Paddy. He took 100% responsibility for the results in his life. His immediate response to every circumstance in his life was:
I AM RESPONSIBLE AND I AM ACCOUNTABLE.
When you live and die by the I AM RESPONSIBLE AND I AM ACCOUNTABLE credo there’s no room for excuses or blaming or complaining. As our other great Smachter Stephen O’Brien would put it ‘It’s either full duck or no dinner.’
These six simple words, if repeated regularly and lived with gusto, guarantee to ensure you have your greatest year ever in 2014. That is, if you have the courage!
Emblazon those words in your mind now. Roar them out loud. Roll them around your mouth as you would a fine wine perfectly chambré’d.
For these words are the panacea to all and every form of procrastination and prevarication.
Imagine if you were to take 100% responsibility for every result in your life right now – positive and negative! That would entail never blaming circumstances, luck or people for any of the outcomes in your life. Try it for the next 24 hours.
I AM RESPONSIBLE.
When you front up to life, and take full responsibility for it, you eliminate much of the scope for excuses, blaming and victimisation. Try it for the next 24 hours and let me know how you get on.
Whilst many of the B. Comm class of ’83 aspired to getting a good job, Paddy ended up owning an entire chain of garages. Whilst half of UCG (the entire male half) dreamed of courting Amy Lally, Paddy Ridge ended up marrying her. And whilst many of us are still ducking and diving and making excuses Paddy is a free man because he always believed and practiced the credo:
I AM RESPONSIBLE. I AM ACCOUNTABLE.
Responsibility and accountability, like routines, comes before results.
The Irish word for ‘accountable’ is ‘freagracht’ which literally means ‘answerable.’
I want to provoke you or stimulate you (remember, the first stage in the anatomy of a result) today to become answerable and responsible for every result in your life. The moment you consciously choose (second step in the anatomy of a result) to become accountable or answerable for your results in life will be a massive turning point for the better.
Becoming accountable firstly involves getting clear on what you want and what you don’t want in life. As the great French philosopher Michel de Montaigne once said ‘No wind favours he who has no destined port.’
There will be rewards (third step in AOAR) – both painful and pleasurable. You will be forced to eschew forever those ultra sensuous rewards of blaming, excuses and complaining. But as accountability becomes a routine and habit (fourth and fifth steps in AOAR) you will begin to develop a character and competence of a true leader. And the results will also be commensurate with those of a high achieving leader.
One of the most powerful and effective strategies to becoming accountable is to commit to a Smácht Cara coaching arrangement.
‘Cara’ is the Irish word for friend. Your Smácht Cara is essentially someone who keeps you accountable.
Our suggestion is that today you choose a Smácht Cara to connect with on a weekly basis. Your Smácht Cara can be a work colleague; a family member; or a paid coach, although I don’t think that’s necessary. It would also be worth considering connecting with someone from the Bootcamp. I see Fiona Egan and Orla Leyden have already teamed up. (Well done for helping Ireland beat Wales so comprehensively on Saturday Orla). Please find attached details of all participants including their iMA colours. It would be really powerful to team up with a person with a different colour.
What’s critical is that you identify someone who also understands and gets the concept of accountability.
We recommend you allocate and schedule in your diary the same time each week – 30 to 60 minutes – to connect. Many Smácht Cara’s meet in person. Letterkenny is now famous for Smácht Cara’s meeting at the same time in specific locations. It is also very possible to Smácht Cara via skype or FaceTime or mobile phone. My Smácht Cara, Joe Coyle lives in Mount Charles in Donegal, and we FaceTime at 8.30 every Monday morning. The greatest Smácht Cara relationship that Smácht has witnessed since it’s inception has been Gordon Ryan and Matt Griffiths. Gordon has recently set up Smácht Oslo and Smácht Cara’s with Matt in Sligo every Monday. They are the epitome of people who hold each other accountable for results.
So for the duration of this Bootcamp we suggest you choose your Smácht Cara today and you agree with them what you are going to achieve by Friday March 7th which is the culmination of our event. Then you agree what you will achieve this week. Then, next Monday you review your progress.
Pádraig Ó Céidigh once said to me ‘Padraic, the things that are easy to do are also easy not to do’. This obtains hugely to your commitment to a Smácht Cara coaching relationship. It’s a cinch to do, and costs almost nothing. It’s also a cinch not to do, and that could cost you everything.
Your task therefore for Day 4 of the Bootcamp is to select a Smácht Cara who will hold you accountable until the 7th of March. Share your goals with them and review them weekly. Please let us know who your Smácht Car is.
All you need is Smácht.
PS: If you were to engage a professional coach to conduct this work it could cost you €2000 per month. Imagine if you could access this intervention for almost nothing! You can. It’s your choice. Let us know who they are.