A number of years ago, I was traveling to a Mankind Project New Warrior Training Adventure on Vancouver Island in Canada with three other men who were helping to staff the weekend.  We got to the Canadian border and the border patrol officer started asking our driver a number of questions. We were ordered to park and enter the administrative building for further questioning. Ultimately our driver was ordered to turn around, but the rest of us were allowed to continue… without our driver’s car. I called my wife who was at work in Bellingham and asked her to drive to my office, pick up my car and drive my car to the Canadian border and ride back with one very pissed off and embarrassed man.

The other two staff members and I missed the ferry but ultimately made it to the event site four hours late. We were clearly out of accountability. I looked into my mirror to see what shadow may have been operating that set me up for being late, but I could not spot anything. There was, however, an impact to our late arrival. We didn’t have time to connect with the other staff members before we started our meeting. We didn’t have time to unpack and settle in. And, there was at least one staff member who was very pissed at me in particular.

The bottom line here is that breaking an agreement with someone else may or may not have an associated shadow, but it always has an impact, and it is my responsibility to deal with that impact if I want to have any sort of ongoing and healthy connection with those that I broke the agreement with.

If I make an agreement to meet you for lunch and show up half an hour late, there is a good probability that you will be a bit pissed at me, and you may trust me less, especially if I don’t call or text you to let you know I am running late. Saying, “Sorry…” doesn’t really cut it. There was an impact to my actions: I caused you inconvenience by wasting your time. I treated you disrespectfully.

It is useful to explore why I was late to see what was going on that I may not be consciously aware of. This is the realm of “Shadow“. If I am willing to look at my shadow, it may reveal some feeling or belief that I want to project on you. Perhaps you did something in the past that I was angry about and I never cleaned that up with you. I may even be carrying some resentment toward you. Perhaps I did something to you that I don’t want to look at and there is a part of me that is embarrassed by my past behavior. By being late, I may be sabotaging myself.

If I have broken an agreement with you, it may be quite useful to look into the mirror and see if there was some unexplored shadow operating. But shadow may not be present. Sometimes, shit happens.

So where are you out of accountability in your life? Who is our of accountability in your life and how has that impacted you?

It’s the new year. Any resolutions your want to make about how you will keep agreements going forward?

In my ConneXions Workshop, we will look at behaviors that impact connection. What do you think? Does accountability have an impact on the quality of connection you experience in your life?

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Bob Jones

I live in two worlds: my head and my heart. My head world involves computer programming while my heart world lives in connecting deeply with people all over the world and in teaching people to connect more deeply and authentically.

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