The 100 Percent Mentality: Removing Barriers to High Performance

As a coach, one of my fundamental beliefs is that most people have good intentions; they want to do the right thing. Invariably when I see others who repeatedly fail to produce desired results, it’s due to a systemic issue—it is a fundamental orientation that leads to some unproductive behaviors. I offer the following “best practice” to establish a proper foundation for producing the desired results repeatedly, and eliminating behaviors that typically get in the way. Beyond being successful in life, if you can work on this concept it will help you get more of what you really want in life. Let’s take a look.

You may have noticed that when something goes wrong there is seldom a rush of individuals to accept responsibility for the problem. In organizations, politics, and even families, much effort is spent blaming someone or justifying why a problem occurred. Usually, the effort goes into avoiding being identified as the culprit. The legal profession has developed assigning blame as an art form, and unfortunately, our litigious society rewards the opposite of individuals holding themselves accountable for their own behavior.

I present to you a concept called 100 percent responsibility.

While no one can be 100 percent responsible for everything in life, everyone can choose to be 100 percent responsible for producing desired results. This concept, though simple, is frequently difficult for some to adopt, but dismissing this concept too quickly will work to your disadvantage, so I encourage you to maintain an open mind and consider the possibilities as you read. The beauty of this concept is that it will work, whether you believe it will or not. The act of trying produces the result.

The first time I was presented with this concept I was both intrigued and resistant. I was also a little disappointed as I considered my own past attempts at getting off the hook. I knew things had to change, so I shifted my thinking and therefore my actions. I decided that I am 100 percent responsible for what happens in my life and everyone else is 0 percent responsible. There is no 50-50 or even 100-100. It was me, 100 percent! There is no one else to blame. Whatever happens, I did it. If the result was achieved, I did it; if not, I did it.

I was highly resistant and skeptical of this concept the first few times I heard about it. I mean, clearly there are situations in my world over which I have no control! To think that I was solely responsible for the results in my life was too big a leap for me to make. In fact, it took me several times sitting through the presentation and gracious coaching from my mentors to finally realize what the value could be. It really sank in when I realized that if I applied the principle, it worked whether I believed it would or not.

Acting as if I’m 100 percent responsible forces me to move forward.

I don’t wait for or rely on anyone else to produce the result for me. A key point here is that I still can ask for help because it is one of the options I exercise to produce the result. Ultimately, however, I alone am responsible for producing the result. The reason that the ratio must be 100 percent to 0 percent is that as long as the zero spot is occupied by any value, I can blame or justify the non-result. That is why the best approach to any two-party relationship is where both parties assume the 100 percent to 0 percent position. Consider how your relationship at home, work, etc. would be if no one blamed or justified when something fell short of the desired result. Most importantly, consider how the world would be if more people invested energy in producing the desired result rather than blaming or justifying when something went wrong.

Bottom line: blaming and justifying limits options, and 100 percent to 0 percent responsibility expands options. Obviously, this concept is not a panacea and will not correct all the problems of the world. It will, however, increase your own personal power and, in the process, allow you to get more of what you truly want in life.

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