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Step up and take responsibility

Updated: Oct 4, 2019



One of the things I have noticed over the years - particularly during the time I had my private practice - was the lack of responsibility some people took for their own actions and certain situations in their life. I found many people just wanted that "quick fix" or "magic pill" to take all their problems and concerns away without having to put in any effort. These were typically the people who would have the "yes, but...." excuses. "Yes, but....the strategies didn't work", or "yes, but....I couldn't do it because the dog ate my notes", or "yes, but....I tried once but I still felt like it was pointless". You get my drift.

Over the last (nearly) two years since closing my counselling practice and working as an employee in two different industries, I observed a 'surge' in the lack of responsibility taking. Whether it was a student complaining about a lower-than-expected grade (despite the fact they may not have completed the assessment correctly), people having their compensation payments ceased (despite their injury/ies no longer deemed related to work by independent specialists), or others who cannot accept their own short-comings and instead try to put the focus on others so no-one has to look at them and their 'issues' (which, incidentally doesn't change or take their own issues away - merely just pushes them aside into the 'avoidance' corner).

I expect, but don't condone, this kind of behaviour from my 9-year old, but certainly not from grown adults. Sure, admitting you may not be the "be-all and end-all" may be difficult, as can be accepting that you may have messed up on something, but avoiding it by deflecting responsibility onto others won't change the truth or reality of the situation. I personally have a lot more respect for the person who admits their shortcomings or mistakes and is motivated to do something proactive about it, rather than shirking their responsibility and blaming someone else.

So next time you may find yourself in a position of blaming someone else, take a moment to reflect on your own actions, and how you could have done things differently. After all, life (some would say karma), has a way of biting you on the butt if you do the wrong thing - and then how would that make you look when the truth came out?

Time to step-up and accept responsibility for your own actions, and be mature enough to admit how your actions contributed to this. If it is a situation that needs to be rectified, think of all the possibilities you can, and how you could potentially problem-solve the situation - and then consider implementing the one with the best possible outcome.

I'm fairly sure you will gain a lot more trust and respect from your loved ones, friends, peers, co-workers, etc by stepping up and taking responsibility for your own actions. I, for one, definitely would!

About Dr Nadine Hamilton

As a leading authority on veterinary wellbeing, Dr Hamilton helps veterinary professionals get on top of stress and conflict to avoid burnout and suicide, and also works with practice managers and owners to increase wellbeing, productivity, and retention in the workplace. Additionally, she provide workshops to small and large groups within the private and corporate sectors, and speaks at conferences and symposiums both nationally and internationally.


Her book "Coping with Stress and Burnout as a Veterinarian - An Evidence-Based Solution to Increase Wellbeing" was released in March 2019 through Australian Academic Press, and is already making a positive impact within the profession - both here in Australia and internationally.


As an advocate for the veterinary profession, Dr Hamilton founded the charity "Love Your Pet Love Your Vet" and partnered with Royal Canin to reduce stigma in veterinary professionals seeking help, raising awareness within the community about the realities of working in the profession, and providing psychological and educational support to veterinary professionals.

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