There is a certain train of thought adopted among certain circles that goes something like this: ” You’ve been warned, so it’s at your own risk.” It’s often circulated in the corporate environment as the CYA attitude. Make sure you cover your a!@S so it’s doesn’t fall back in your face. Or, the one I most often see is, that’s not part of our team’s, or my role’s responsibilities (aka workplace ping pong). It also comes up in relationships, some phrases that embody this attitude ” I told you from the start this is who I was”, “you’ve always known I am this way” I would translate this as stubborn resistance to change, or growth in an area where change might be beneficial, something common, and detrimental in long term relationships.

Seth Godin has done a great job at creating and promoting the Linchpin icon, through his book Linchpin. The Linchpin being the one who takes it a whole other level, the person who gets the job done, who is fully accountable and responsible. As a result, masses of people have stepped up in so many areas of their life. He very much appeals to the work environment, but Seth’s wisdom speaks to all aspects of our lives.

In my day job, CYA may protect me from peers looking down on me for making faulty choices, but it can potentially penalize hundreds of people. I learned quickly that I had to really consider every choice I make and its ripple effect impact on the people that tie into my work. In my personal life, I am known as one who takes full accountability for how I relate to people and the outcome of my interactions. I take my relationships seriously, I take full responsibility for the turn out of events. I’m here to tell you that the CYA attitude is old news. It does very little to raise your contribution at work and at home. The truth of the matter is when you go CYA what you are saying is I don’t want to be responsible for this. You play ping pong and throw the ball back as if you were powerless to have any positive impact on the task at hand. But you are, YOU ARE responsible for the turnout of how you relate to others. It simply is not enough to cover your a#$S if you want quality results. You have to do more, be more. You have to step up to a whole other level of quality at work and at home if you want to foster any sense of fulfillment within yourself and others, if you want to be effective at work and really make your mark. The truth is, when you go CYA, you are playing small.

To rise above, to be more, to raise the standard, is to make conscious choices about how you want to show up at work, with your peers, at home, in wherever and whoever you relate to. It shows respect and integrity. It demonstrates the very noble, effective and powerful quality of accountability. Accountability allows you to ship, like Seth sais, at work, it allows you feel good about who you are and provides the foundation for others to feel good as you relate to them. Experiences don’t just happen, you create them. And, when you choose how you relate you influence what you create.

I strive to hold steadfastly to this principle and to make it a way of life for me. I have, at times, failed. But I can say with utmost confidence and purity of heart that the times when I have fully adopted this principle is the times when I have been most successful at relating in ways that empower myself and others. In ways that have allowed me to honor the people in my life. In ways that have fostered love and promoted growth in myself and others. I walk a little taller when I choose to relate this way. And I shine a little brighter. You shine a little brighter. And when you shine a little brighter, I shine a little brighter. Like one of my dearest west coast buddies puts it ” I don’t shine if you don’t shine”

Step up! Kick it up a notch! Make wherever you are, whoever you are with, a little brighter.