Whatever we do, may it be in a relationship with others or with ourselves, the responsibility for the outcome is ours.
This may seem to be a tough call, but maybe it’s simply an invitation, a way to enable engagement, and an opportunity to give ourselves feedback.
There are different ways to think about the outcome.
There can be a focus on a transaction that needs to be handled. There can be something one wants to discuss or talk about. There can be some curiosity that one wants to satisfy. In essence, the outcome is something one seeks to move toward. It doesn’t matter if it is for all those involved or only oneself. What is relevant is that there is some clarity on an objective, intention, desire, or maybe need. It is knowing the purpose of one’s engagement and following up on it.
However, what often happens is that people don’t consider the outcome they are looking for or assume that others will know.
Another approach is to think about the outcome in terms of seeking an effective or satisfying outcome.
When people decide to take responsibility for the outcome, they can only do so when knowing what it is they want as an outcome. If they don’t know what it is they are looking for, they leave it up to others and can only react and maybe try to avoid what they don’t want. And if they become attached to having a satisfying or effective outcome, they set themselves up to failure as they’ll naturally try to make it a success, so they’ll start to bend over, and try to please or persuade others. This means that avoiding failure quickly becomes more important than achieving what one wanted.
The art here lies in taking the time to uncover what it is that one wants and what is possible in the given context. That is for example when it is sometimes more efficient to figure out that what one wants isn’t achievable in the given context. Remaining focused on achieving what one wants without leaving space to fail, eventually becomes a consuming pursuit of an unachievable goal.
Taking responsibility for the outcome is based on the ability to distinguish, not on the ability to succeed.