Personal Responsibility Is Dead

Sharon ODay at Machu PicchuClick the link below if you’d rather have me read this to you …

Personal Responsibility Is Dead

I recently wrote an article subtitled “Ode to Selfishness.”

By the time I was done writing it, I had a flash of realization:  the world had changed under my feet and I hadn’t noticed.

Worse yet, it had changed under my clients’ feet too and I was no longer serving them well.

Something had to change … and fast.

Moray Peru circlesSo I opted for my version of going out into the desert and wandering for 40 years:  I hopped on a plane and flew to Peru, where I could wander around old ruins, amidst calming energies and a much-grounded population.  I had trekked across Peru the first time in my early twenties, so I knew what awaited me …

While there, I went up Machu Picchu again.

I meditated in the center of the concentric circles dug into the ground at Moray that were used by the Incas to study how micro-climates affected crops.

Peru feeding llamasI stood in an enclosed ruin in Pisac as a woman played her flute in honor of Pachamama (the Andean goddess who watches over the earth and its bounty).

I went from village to village to feel the comfortable predictability of people who live closely connected to the land beneath them.

I walked around day after day, filled my pockets with loose twigs and rocks, fed llamas and, best of all, talked to the gentle people around me.

And I thought.
Little girls in Pisac market

Where I Had Been

I had been writing about personal responsibility for two years.  Month after month I received calls and emails from women who had been touched by something I said or wrote and who had changed their financial lives because of it.  And some of my clients literally turned their finances upside down and took total control of their financial futures.  Bravo!

But, over time I was getting more and more kudos and support from women I knew were not taking responsibility for themselves or their businesses.  They paid lip service to it.  The term “personal responsibility” had grown empty.  Like “abundance” and “financial freedom” before it, it lay dying—on life support—on the pile of expressions made meaningless by overuse and sloppy definitions.

Where We Are Headed

At the same time, we had entered a new political cycle in which economic uncertainty will continue to play a major role:  political stalemates … fiscal cliffs … higher tax rates for the successful … threats of wealth-destroying inflation for all.  And constantly shifting charges and fees woven throughout expected benefits and services.

Is this a cataclysmic time?  No, not at all.  But it is a time of swift change.  And, in my books, that means great opportunity, if one is prepared.  (And rapidly lost ground, if one is not.)

To take advantage of that opportunity, we need to be infinitely more grounded in our beliefs about money and in our familiarity with our everyday and future finances.  And we need to be crystal clear on our most intimate vision of the future, complete with detailed plans of how to get there.  Lip service will no longer cut it.

Most of all, we need to replace “personal responsibility” with a new concept, one I call “responsible selfishness.”  It takes honesty and accountability to a new level.  It blows away some commonly held beliefs as the urban myths they are.  (And will probably blow away some readers in the process.)

The concept can be summed up in two words:  “No excuses.”

I will be looking for some women who are ready to join me on this amped-up journey to true wealth.

Is that you?  If so, let me know in the Comments section below … and welcome aboard!


Bio: Sharon O’Day lost everything at age 53: her home, her business, everything. But how could that be? She’s an expert in global finance and marketing with an MBA from the Wharton School. She has worked with governments, corporations and individuals … yes, she was the secret “weapon,” if you will, behind many individuals in high places. Yet she did! Since then, with her finances completely turned around, Sharon has gone on to interview countless women. She’s done extensive research to understand how that could have happened, especially with her strong knowledge of numbers and finance.

The surprising answers are shared in her posts and articles. Today her mission is to show as many women as possible how to reach true wealth through her coaching programs. She has developed a step-by-step plan to get past all the obstacles that keep women broke and scared … and from reaching the financial peace of mind they so deserve … if they’re willing to do what it takes!

  • Gail

    Yes. I will join you. Love to connect.

    • I’ll be in touch soon, Gail. I knew the word “accountability” would tweak you … 😉

  • Sharon, I love reading your articles because I can always relate so much to what you say and you give such sound advice. Love your attitude and spirit!

    • Thanks, Carolyn. I think you and I are turning into a “mutual admiration society!”

  • Beautiful! So love reading this.

    • Thank you, Michele; you know I so honor your input …

  • Tracy Y Washingnton

    I just ran across your blog today. Good stuff.

    • Welcome, Tracy! Your timing is perfect, as I relaunch my efforts with new energy and focus. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help you on your journey …

  • Very True a lot of People don’t take ACTUAL responsibillty and in a Time like this having a Both and mindset and being creative is vital…

    • Lip service is easy, Carly, and–as you say–that’s no longer good enough!

  • Welcome Back! Missed You. And thanks for the wake-up call. I’m one of those who have been paying lip service and making lists on which nothing gets crossed off. No More! Time to take action and to make a difference. Count me in!

    • Thanks, Sherri, it’s nice being missed! And thank you for the lovely Christmas card. Let’s focus on getting those things crossed off your to-do lists and turning your finances around …

      • The end of the year is a good time for me to figure out the details of my finances. How I am going to continue to get out of debt. How I am going to find the time to work on my book of money-making ideas while working 3 part-time jobs. Need to prioritize my to-do list and then FOCUS on each item til I can cross it off. Have been spreading myself too think trying to accomplish too much all at once. Responsible selfishness begins with me! Will have a workable plan in place by Dec. 31st so I can begin the New Year with confidence!

  • Another great article Sharon! Great idea replacing “personal responsibility” with “responsible selfishness”!

    • Thanks, Tereza. I struggled to find a term that reflected what I feel is a good substitute for ‘personal responsibility’ … and that still ‘means’ something!

  • I love Peru! Machu Picchu is an awesome and powerful place to re-discover your souls mission! Thank you for sharing your process and ideas!

    • You’re welcome, MarVeena. Why am I not surprised that Machu Picchu would be a much-appreciated place for you …? 😉

  • I love this article and your idea of “responsible selfishness.” I’ve met too many entrepreneurs who say all the right things yet have high debt and empty bank accounts. We ARE responsible for our results and I think that is a great thing. I think you really threw down the gauntlet for a lot of folks. Good for you.

    • Thanks, Ruth, for the kudos. Now let’s see how many people pick that gauntlet up! 😉

  • This is very right. People are where they are because they took actions to get there. If you set your mind to it you can achieve pretty much anything but you have to start somewhere. Saying you will do it is not enough.

    • From what I see you are doing and what you’ve done, Pauline, there’s no doubt that clarity, focus, determination … and action … are critical!

  • How cool…going to Machu Picchu for clarity…and getting it! Thanks for sharing your wisdom with us, Sharon!

    • The key was breaking out of everyday patterns, turning off most everything electronic and being in a totally different energy. And what a beautiful place to do that, right? 😉

  • Love it! “Most of all, we need to replace “personal responsibility” with a new concept, one I call ‘responsible selfishness.’ It takes honesty and accountability to a new level.” And, it can be a tough one to wrap one’s head around – I know it was for me when I first started down this road 6+ years ago. Women who take advantage of what you’re offering will be blown away, I’m sure! (And it was fun reading about your journey to Peru. I went there in 2007 in search of a similar grounding experience and found it – even hiked up Wayna Picchu – spectacular!)

    • I also know how far you’ve traveled on that road, Lisa, more than enough to help others find their way as well!

  • Claudia Looi

    I’m on that journey Sharon and I’m bringing the whole family with me. Great article!

    • I know you are, Claudia. As you take off on your long meanderings through Latin America with your family, I know you are helping the next generation of Loois to spread its wings. I look forward to seeing your articles and posts along the way!