When does your calendar become a suggestion?

We’ve all experienced it. We have our agenda set for the day and we sit down and take that first sip of our drink, and either we open up an email or the phone rings and the client or your boss hands you something that means you can’t do what you planned to do today, or maybe even this week (or longer – yikes). There are two ways to react to this event.

One is to grumble how it’s everyone else’s fault for messing up your plans and now you can’t possibly get everything done that needs to be done. The other is to re-prioritize your plans, determine what is the most important and what can be put off – basically revise your plan.

While the first option feels warm and comfortable, the “it’s not my fault” attitude is one of the things I think is most wrong in the world today. People say their problems are due to their parents, their poor lot in life or just plain old bad luck. Nothing is “their fault.” The second option is more about taking responsibility. Life constantly throws us curve balls and the question is how we adjust.

While our profession is about integrity, putting the public first and doing what is right, in the end all of that adds up to being responsible. The first act of responsibility is how you react to the events around you. Note I said react, not control. We like to talk about controls a lot in our profession, but we can never forget while we can attempt to control processes, we ultimately can’t control life. Instead we need to be prepared for things to get out of control and then it is our job to bring come semblance of order back to the situation. And bringing order means taking responsibility for doing so.

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