Dame Anna Wintour DBE is a British-American journalist and editor who has been editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988 and artistic director for Condé Nast, Vogue’s publisher, since 2013 was recently quoted on the topic of leadership.
In my view, “leadership” for Dame Wintour has, in no small way, been been established by remaining effective and efficient in making extremely nuanced decisions.
Hundreds of times per day.
Within a highly influential, visible and competitive arena.
How is this accomplished?
“Own your decisions”
-Dame Anna Wintour, DBE
So prevalent in our culture is the tendency to find someone else’s behavior at the source of our shitstorm that the courts are clogged with people seeking retribution.
Consider the old story that McDonald’s actually made someone a millionaire because they drank (too) hot coffee.
The claimant was reported as saying the company should have “warned him”,
And yet what should we warn of ?
….” sip don’t gulp hot beverages?
……That hot coffee, comes… hot ?
Or perhaps the warning should be:
“That the McDonald’s experience is not actually responsible to come through on any expectation to make everything perfect in the lives of their patrons.
Ok, there may be anothther side to that story but in inarguably this kind of reward for blame casting perpetuates the myth that someone else is responsible for our choices.
The skill required for the transfer of responsibility to blame, is subtle and one of the first lessons we learn. Learned before we speak when we point to our little sister as her diaper painting critics examine our latest mural.
Parents aim to wean youth off the habit with less than extremely effective parenting memes like:
“ And if Mitchel told you to jump off the roof would you?!?!?”
Well actually I did .. but that’s another story, though we did have a garbage bag as a parachute!
The point is, casting blame is insidious and almost primally wired .
Seeking or averting blame draws us backward into the problem, ironically misguided in some righteous pursuit of the truth.
The truth is – most often people did their best at the time with what they knew and were capable of.
Besides feeling morally, or intellectually superior what makes the blame game such a seductive mindset?
Think about it how useless and exercise it is:
Say for example, you’re driving to Prince Albert and the highway sign blew off at the point where you have a choice to go to Moose Jaw or head toward Prince Albert.
You end up in up in Moose Jaw .
Does identifying the individual who bolted the sign together help you get to see your peeps in PA?
Does locating the exact mile marker of the fallen sign ensure this catastrophe never occurs again?
The pain in any choice is directly proportional to the resistance in making it.
So how are we served by applying the principles of a binary justice system across all events in our lives?The idea that there is a correctable error that can change our past, fuels the obsession that better choices can be made today that will undo past pain felt from choices made at that time.
That’s like arriving out of breath at the top of a mountain to see a full Panorama and missing the vista because you’re too preoccupied looking down the path for an easier route.
The delusion of blame totally eclipses the lessons we learned through the pain learned as we journeyed through all the experiences that brought us to where we are today.
One cannot feel the ownership or accomplishment until one defines in their own life. Through choices accomplished or even mindfully attempted.
As ignorant, unenlightened or obviously wrong those choices appear retrospect and how challenging and unpleasant the consequences may feel.
It is only when our perspective shifts and we acknowledge that any given event is actually an event that is occurring in our life -can the light of our true self be revealed as is free to color the event in real time.
And brighten the path that lies ahead.
So I concur with the words of Dame Wintour:
Whether it be JC Hammer pants or a weird personality, from the lips of the Editor of Vogue: “Owning your decisions” would be my right choice for now.
Not only will it make tomorrow’s past better but that image never goes out of fashion.