Archive for category Cultivating Awareness


I found this piece on Accountability and I thought it would be worth sharing with you. The piece came across my desk over 10 years ago and it has been with me ever since. Not knowing who authored it, I framed it and added it to my wall and it has served as a guidepost and helped me when I have gotten lost in my elaborate victim stories of what was happening and or going on.  Understanding and accepting this distinction of Accountability in my life has served me well and I hope you find this as valuable as I did and it makes a difference for you.

Have a great weekend.



Accountability is foundational to world class performance in any realm. It means taking a position of ownership for all of the events and actions in my life. When I am accountable, I have the experience of personal power, control effectiveness, and accomplishment.

From my vantage point of accountability, I see that things don’t just happen by accident or at random. I can look at everything that occurs in a manner which illuminates how what I did or didn’t do played a critical role in events turning out as they did. Looking at my involvement, no matter how small it might appear to be, as essential to the outcome, is the only way to look at events which puts me in the position of ownership. It is only from this position of ownership that I can be in action.

If I choose not to be accountable, I am choosing to be a victim. Playing the victim is a good way to get sympathy, attention, and get me off the hook, but it leaves me powerless and at the effect of everyone and everything. When I am being a victim, I have the delusion of being on moral high ground as a result of having unjust suffering inflicted upon me. This is a compelling position as I can induce guilt and shame in myself and others. However, it is not a position of authentic power, for as a victim I always have to wait for others to rescue me. When I am being a victim, I always ask, “Why did it happen? Whose fault is it? Who do I blame?”

My division has been redirected…

My unit has been downsized…

My budget has been cut…

My marriage is not going well…

In these circumstances it is very easy to invent a victim story. “Poor me …They did it to me again.” With a good victim story, I can assign fault and blame and spend lots of time suffering. An accountable approach is to see the circumstances and accept them as they are and then ask, “Now what? Given that this is so, what am I going to do?”

Accountability is a personal choice I make about how I am going to approach life and every situation in it. It is not the same as responsibility. Responsibility is something that can be delegated or assigned. Accountability only occurs by choice.

World-class teams are made up of individuals who have each personally chosen to be accountable for the performance of the team. That does not mean they are each responsible, but that each is taking ownership for the outcome of the whole. As accountability is a personal choice, there is no such thing as team accountability. There are teams of individuals who have each chosen to be accountable, but no accountable teams.

In the realm of accountability, the challenge is to see how far I can expand my horizon of accountability. Can I be accountable for my Self, my Team, and my Business?

When I choose to be accountable, every new situation is a challenge, an opportunity to learn. The more I expand my horizon of accountability, the more I experience freedom from the cycle of guilt, blame, and shame, both for myself and others.

When I am being accountable, I focus on what is working rather than what is wrong.

If I choose to be a “victim,” I will procrastinate, not keep agreements, and invent terrific stories to explain why it wasn’t – my fault.

When I am being accountable, I know that I am choosing and I own the consequences of my choices.

When I am accountable, life is exciting and I am in control; not controlling, but powerfully, consciously choosing moves to effect the outcome.

Victims tend to complain, suffer from all of life’s problems, become easily confused or frustrated, and already know everything.

Accountable people are enthusiastic, alive, and aware. They have inner peace, a strong self-image and are committed to learning.

I choose accountability. If it’s to be, it really is up to me.

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Cultivating Awareness

The following notes are my own personal view point on what Awareness is and in no way do I profess this is the “right’ definition. This is a distinction that I hold true for myself and it is rooted in my work and in my life. It’s not always easy to cultivate personal awareness in ourselves and being more aware is an ongoing part of my personal development – I need to first be able to ‘see’ things about myself before I can fully understand who I am.

Awareness is the process of becoming an observer of myself and my world. Noticing things about me and the world around me that I didn’t notice before. As I become good at this, as I practice this, I begin to notice the gap between the vision I have of myself and the actions I take to make that vision a reality. The challenge is to continually notice that which I didn’t notice before. It takes practice and focus so I keep a simple questions at the forefront of my mind to help me- “What can I see, feel, think, know, smell, touch that I didn’t before?” or “What is really going on here for me?” “what’s true for me right now?”

When I am at low levels of awareness, I often feel like there are few options available to me. I am closed, I feel stuck and I simply cannot “see” many choices. In that mode I am resentful, angry at life, and I am often experienced by others as being dull, stuck, angry or cynical. As I expand my awareness, I am able to see new possibilities and others experience me as being open, alive and vital. There are always options and choices available when I am aware. For me it doesn’t do me any good if I’m claiming to be “aware” and yet fight taking responsibility for my experiences, reactions, interpretations and quality of my life. In my opinion when I am not willing to take responsibility for these things then the quality of my life suffers and things in my life that could be relatively easy become hard and a struggle. It takes courage and strength to continuously look at myself and ask “what can I own about what’s happening here? How did I play a part of how its going?”I look deeply at things for the root cause and the truth.

I begin to see how I am in certain situations, what sort of conversations or occurrences at home or at work trigger me into specific reactions or responses. The challenge is to begin to see myself as I am with other people. The cultivation of awareness is a life-long process that begins with the simple declaration, ”I choose to be more aware.”

We all have what we call an observer. This is the little voice in our heads. The voice that constantly talks to us and tells us what we think, feel, like, don’t like. It tells us who we are, who we have been and, if we’re lucky and practice changing the voice in our heads, who we can become. It has taken years for me to understand this voice and to become curious about the dialogue within me. I need to pay close attention to what triggers it’s responses and as I expand my internal awareness, I practice “Observing my Observer”. This means, I pay close attention to what the voice is saying in my head that is true or not true for me in that moment. Not easy to do and so important for this distinction.

When I am aware of myself, I am more in touch with everything and everyone around me. When I’m not practicing awareness, I feel asleep and as if I’m missing out on the full experience of my life. There is always something to learn about myself when I am practicing being more aware. There is always a place to grow, a place to discover and a place to be surprised. And for me, that’s a life worth living- one that keeps me fully awake!

I hope you have enjoyed this posting on Awareness. Perhaps it has helped inspire you in some way to grow your own personal Awareness. Again, its all about “choosing” it first. “I choose to be more aware”

Some great resources for Cultivating Awareness are “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle, “The Mindful Leader” by Michael Carroll and “Loving What Is” from Byron Katie.

I hope you have a fabulous month of May. I look forward to hearing from you on this posting and possibly some of the other ones that will follow each month.

With respect, Elisa Palombi

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