"Results. Often harsh, but always fair." This is a great quote by Brian Klemmer. In so many aspects of life this is true.* Look at your income, your net worth, or the growth of your company. Those numbers are a result of your choices. * Get on the scale. The number that appears is a result of your choices. * Is your house clean or does it look like a tornado came through? However it looks is a result of your choices. (If the mess was caused by your kids, remember that you chose to have those kids and therefore the mess is a result of your choices!)
This is one side of the coin and I have measured most everything in my life according to MY choices and MY responsibilities. However, there is another side of the coin where we have no control over the results, because the choices belong to someone else.
Here are a few examples:
Pizza. When delivering pizza, my job is to get the pizza from the pizza parlor to the house that ordered the pizza. That's it! I am not responsible for what happens to the pizza - if it is eaten, fed to the dog, or thrown out.
Kidney. When donating a kidney, my job is to be willing and go through testing, surgery, and recovery. That's it! I can not control how well the recipient's body receives the kidney, or if the body rejects the kidney one, two, or ten years down the road.
Kids. When raising kids, my job is to teach, train, and love my kids to the best of my knowledge and ability. That's it! I can not control the outcomes or results. My kids may reject my input and want to walk in their own rebellious ways as teenagers or adults. I am not responsible for their choices - I am only responsible for mine.
There are plenty of choices we make in each of these scenarios. For example, if I deliver pizza. I chose to take the job, or start the business. I chose to accept the order. I chose to drive the pizza to the customer's house. I chose to take their money and give them the pizza. I chose to drive away. There is no place for me to own (through guilt or pride or disgust) what happens with the pizza next. This sounds kind of silly, but it is so easy to own things that are not ours . . . as easy as it is to not own things that are our responsibility.
We cannot mix up our responsibilities. We must - in full ownership - accept our choices and we must also fully release the choices that belong to someone else.
I have been wrestling with guilt over someone else's choices lately. I did my part, but instead of releasing the rest I have been holding on to it and it has made me miserable. Then my coach talked to me about pizza delivery and my pastor talked to me about kidney donation and I am reminded of where my responsibilities end. Keeping this line - or these sides of the coin - straight brings freedom. Only in freedom can we live a truly extraordinary life.
What about you? Are you holding the guilt or grief of another's choices and making it your own? It's time to own your choices completely and release the rest. Deliver the pizza and clock out. Would love to hear your thoughts.