Responsible TO vs Responsible FOR

I’m working on my power tool. For me it’s key key key …

Responsibility TO vs responsibility FOR.  (RTo vs RFor)

In the first I’m relaxed and offer myself as a support for a peer, a person who I deep see as capable, who has all they need to find their own best answer. I’ve gotten the feedback from clients that they felt totally equal with me when I felt I was doing my best coaching. It’s one of the highest complements I feel I am ever paid by coachees. The process itself, when I’m RTo is light and energy giving for me, it’s joyeous and playful even when we’re talking about death as I find myself often doing.

In RFor, I feel I am responsible for the outcome and when I search my soul deeply enough I see that I carry some assumption that the other person is “not enough” and therefore I need somehow to carry them. I feel tired. burdened. nervous. … responsible!

So what are ways to move from RTo to RFor?


For me … it probably first happened when I did lots of exchange exercises and I has a big reaction when the other person seemed to be patronizing, that is, when I felt patronized, talked down to. I also noticed I sometimes said “yes” to them for the sake of moving ahead, and I felt suddenly empty like I’d left a piece of myself behind. If I don’t stand up for myself, who will? (that sort of thing)

Which led to me thinking … in what way am I doing exactly that to them? That’s when I remember my own lightbulb going on. It probably happened several times, and still happens. I just try to catch it before I get nervous, tired, etc.

I have a little list I keep around that reminds me of how “responsible for” feels. Just that is enough to kinda refresh my mind-set.

More on this, I’m sure, many times.

Got an email this morning that a client is close to death and urgently wants to see me.

What was my reaction? Gosh, I’d better finish that edit job with an unfortunately poor quality scientific paper I have hanging over me so it can be finalized and create absolutly no noise for me. Ha! Then I responded by calling the client on her mobile as instructed, expecting someone else to answer, seeing the possibility that I would not make this my day(s) as the highest priority use of my time. Long wait. Answer. Lots of fumbling. Eventually a tiny voice. Hi! This is Jane. Friend “X” talked to me. How can I help you?

“Are you busy tomorrow at 1pm?” I had to smile.  I told her I know where she is (checked hospital room number) and told her I’d be there at 1 tomorrow.

Hanging up I was amused at my role. If it were me dying, I’d like to have one person who took appointments with me for into the future with no question. I’m reminded of an Erickson teaching tale about a 1.5 year old learning to swim, but it’ll have to wait, cause I need to get to editing!

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