Today I want to share with you a concept that is absolutely essential for the success of your business. In fact it is essential for success in all areas of your life. A big claim? Let me tell you a story about my fridge and then you can decide for yourself 🙂
Refrigerators are like a great whiteboard in the kitchen. We always have whiteboard markers on top of the fridge and use that lovely clean surface to write messages or display a countdown to the next big family event (it now says there are 43 days until we fly to Thailand).
For a long time, it was used to teach our children an important concept. Well, OK it was also to remind myself of its importance. Here’s what was on the fridge…
A horizontal line.
Above the line were written the words:
- Take responsibility
- Think of solutions
- Look for the lessons
- Keep my power
Below the line were written the words:
- Blame others
- Make excuses
- Victim (give my power away)
Here’s How We Use The Concept In Our Family
If you’re a parent you’ll relate to this (if you’re not, just think back to when you were at school). It’s 7pm and your son is in tears because he has an assignment due the next day and he hasn’t started it yet. He’s angry because his sister is always on the computer so he can’t get his research done, his teacher didn’t remind him it was due, his parents expected him set the table bla bla bla. You get the picture.
In our house that is called “Below The Line Behaviour”.
I wish I could remember where I first heard the concept, but I’ll credit my friend Sharon Tieman because she uses the same concept with her staff.
Instead of going into lecture mode (very tempting as a parent) we simply refer to the fridge and concentrate on “Above The Line Behaviour”.
My husband and I continuously call each other out about “Below The Line” behaviour. It’s not always easy to accept 🙂
I knew the concept had sunk in when I heard my daughter chastising our new puppy for “Below The Puppy Line Behaviour”!
How To Use The Concept In Your Business (and personal life)
Personal responsibility is the absolute basis of successful behaviour. Sure, other people do the wrong thing but it is up to YOU to accept the responsibility for how you will respond. In the example above, it is my son’s responsibility to negotiate with his sister for equal computer time. In business it is up to YOU to decide what behaviour you are willing to accept.
I recently had a huge challenge to “Act Above The Line”. Last month our entire online business disappeared because our web host went “belly-up” without warning. I must admit, my initial response was “Below The Line”. I had a great excuse to just quit. It was all his fault and I wallowed in the comforting muddy pit of blame and complaining.
But then I remembered my fridge.
By accepting personal responsibility for how I would respond, I reclaimed my power. I could look for the solutions and lessons to be learned and make a decision based on what I COULD do, rather than what I COULDN”T. I chose to rebuild. I could also have chosen other options but as long as I made those choices from a place of personal responsibility, and not as a victim, then I was acting above the line.
Do You Make Excuses?
Be honest with yourself? Do you have excuses for why you haven’t created the success you want?
Just to give you a quick example, here are some (paraphrased) comments I have received while interviewing different successful women:
- “It’s OK for her being a single mother of 2, it is so much harder if you have to deal with a partner”
- “It’s Ok for her, she has a husband, it’s hard when you are raising kids on your own”
- “You have to be a technical person to have an Internet business”
- “Everyone expects you to pay for their coaching, it’s not fair. Why don’t they support us for free when we don’t have any money?”
Reclaim Your Power
It can be tough acting “Above The Line”. That’s why the majority don’t do it most of the time. That is why people selling “Magic Bullet” products do so well. You know, the products that promise you will make a heap of money without doing any work? Of course it takes effort and persistence to succeed but that is nowhere as sexy on a sales letter. That’s why so many people get disappointed because they thought they were buying a solution but what they were really buying was hope. They thought by handing over money they could transfer the responsibility for their success to someone else.
Don’t give your power to others. Reclaim your power and accept that if you are to succeed, it is YOUR responsibility. It is up to YOU to implement the programs you are studying. Up to YOU to ask questions of your mentors if you have trouble implementing. Up to YOU to challenge yourself to not act like a victim and look at what you DO have the power to do.
As you can see, my fridge gets me pretty fired up. Tell me what you think? What challenges face you when it comes to acting Above The Line or Below The Line?