Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Accepting responsibiity

The day after the election a news program was interviewing various people about the results of the election. One of the interviewees was a former adviser to Bill Clinton when he was President. In fact, I think he might have managed one of Clinton's campaigns but I do not remember. Regardless, he had been in close proximity to the Clintons and had seen behind the curtain.

He was asked how Hillary Clinton would take this surprising defeat. He was certain that she was blaming various persons, that she was not one to admit that she might be responsible for losing the election. It appears he may have been right.

She reportedly did tell some of her campaign staff that she had "stepped in it" when she said that half of Trump's supporters were "deplorables." However, according to news sources, in a telephone call to large donors, she was putting much of the blame on the FBI's letter announcing that new emails had been discovered on another computer, and the case was being re-opened. Her internal poll numbers immediately went down. They rose when a few days later the FBI reported there was nothing new in these newly discovered emails, but she claimed that report re-energized some of Trump's supporters even more.

The fact is that these emails would not have been much of an issue in the election if (1) she had not used a private server to send classified information and (2) if she had not lied about it to the FBI and the American public when it was discovered she had done so. The FBI is not responsible for her email problems, she is.

Clinton's response to her election loss is typical of many of us today. We always want to find a scapegoat to blame instead of looking at how we have responsibility for our problems. It is so easy to play the "victim" card and pretend that all our problems are the fault of others.

Maturity comes when we accept responsibility for ourselves. Instead of pointing the finger at others when we fail we look inside to find out why we did not succeed as we wished. After our family-owned small business went under I could have blamed the economy, our suppliers, our competitors, our employees, but the truth was that none of them were ultimately responsible for our problem. As the owner/manager I was responsible. As Harry Truman said, "The buck stops here." After the business sold at auction I wrote a book called Mistakes: Avoiding the Wrong Decisions That Will Close Your Small Business. The book is available for either Kindle or NOOK devices.

Some who have read the book have said that I was too rough on myself, but I don't think so. The closing of our small business was the direct result of poor decisions I made. I accept total responsibility for it. I wrote the book to help others avoid similar mistakes that might lead to losing their businesses.

Our God is a God of grace and forgiveness, but in order to receive that forgiveness we must first admit that we have made mistakes. We have to own them and stop blaming others. Maybe the environment we grew up in wasn't the best. Factors outside ourselves may have made it easier to make bad choices, but ultimately the choices we make in life are ours. While it's never easy to admit we messed up, it is the only way to true redemption and ultimate freedom and success. Own your mistakes, and ask God to forgive you. He is far more willing to do that than many people believe.

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