"That's Not Your Responsibility." (A reminder)

Friday, June 16, 2017

Someone at work recently said those words to me, and it kind of took me aback. He didn't mean it in a rude way, not to put me down or tell me I was overstepping the line - it was, really simply, a reminder that "carmel, you don't have to be everything for everyone." And I was like, "you know what? He's right."
boating in maryland, at the end of our new york trip, because when in New England...;)
Now to some of y'all, that sounds like a no-brainer. Manage everything? Why the heck would I want to do that? And to be clear, I never really thought of myself as a Type-A personality - but as I've gotten older, those older-sister/controlling tendencies, I've found, are still deeply imbedded in me: to protect, to worry, to feel responsible if anything is wrong.

This especially manifests itself in my work life. Being in a position of responsibility over your peers is all exciting and responsibility, until you realize you're trying to do everything - and a lot of times, you didn't really have to. Something really big I'm trying to learn right now is simply how and when to delegate (which is my typical response when I can't do everything) - and when to just plain let go. Because sometimes it's not just a matter of doing too many things, it's becoming obsessive about things that don't matter, or aren't worth the battle.

If you work in the service industry, you know how key this is! Sometimes you just have to bury your nose in what's immediately in front of you and breathe, and trust that everything will get done when it gets done - because otherwise it's so overwhelming to see scores of people waiting in line for help, that you actually become less effective with the work right in front of you.

So here's your little Friday reminder, not because I know this any better than you (in fact, it's probably the reverse!), but because a lot of times the reason we struggle is because we haven't been recently reminded of the Truth we already know. That's the funny thing about being human: we can know so much, but so often when it comes down to the wire, we forget all but a few, key things. So if you're in that place today, I hope you can reassess what actually is your responsibility. One step at a time. Leadership, contrary to popular belief, sometimes means just sitting back and letting things happen, and having the wherewithal to not flip out.

Inhale. Exhale. Now dive back in.

happy friday, dear friends! 💙


  1. I needed this today. I just switched from being a cashier to a customer service representative, and it's so easy to try to be everything to each customer. But then when it goes wrong I beat myself up way too much. That one angry customer will move on, and so should I. I hope your retail life goes smoothly, Carmel! I sure hope mine will.

    1. I know exactly how you feel, Anne! I'm glad to be of service, even if just in a small way. <3

      Thanks, you too!

  2. My goodness, well said! I am the exact same way, and this is a surprisingly difficult lesson to learn. Thanks for writing this. :)

    1. It's so difficult. We'll get there someday. XD


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