“The Responsibility Process” by Christopher Avery

Rating: 5/5

I know that a book has resonated with me when I can’t stop talking about it. And, that’s what happened when I finished reading, “The Responsibility Process.” Actually, I think that I was already talking about it after chapter 1!

This book is about the difference between being responsible and taking responsibility. According to Avery, “Being responsible is a commitment to being good and doing right (even when you are miserable when doing so). Taking responsibility is a commitment to your own life, to self-leadership, growth, and freedom” (page 5). He introduces the reader to The Responsibility Process — a natural human pattern that shows how our minds process thoughts about cause and effect in our lives. The bottom six mental states (Denial, Lay Blame, Justify, Shame, Obligation, and Quit) are how we cope with problems that we don’t yet know how to face and solve. The top mental state is Responsibility, and that is when we own our ability to overcome problems or frustrations.

I loved that this book gave me the language and a process for examining my reactions to stress, problems, and frustrations. And I also loved that Avery continually pointed out that we all experience the states of The Responsibility Process — that these are normal coping responses to stress. Once you notice where you’re at, you’re in a much better place to decide what you want in a situation and figure out how to get unstuck.

Overall, this book was digestible and practical. I came away with a new way of thinking about personal responsibility and ownership, useful tools for creating new habits and behaviour changes, and great reflection questions for practicing personal responsibility. I’d say that it is a must read if you are interested in personal growth and self-leadership and/or if you lead and coach others.