Last week Don Semple from The Royal Bank left a comment at the bottom of my article “Leaders Take Responsibility for Their Choices.” I was intrigued and asked him what were the major changes he made that changed his life. His response below is a classic example of how moving from a below-the-line Victim to an above-the-line Navigator. It’s also a strong illustration of the critical Self-Control cornerstone of Emotional Intelligence. This is leadership in action.

“My first big change was deciding to control my temper. For many years I thought I was being passed over. I blamed my managers for not recognizing me. When something went wrong I went on a tirade, first in my head then into a manager. I couldn’t communicate with anyone once I let my temper get out of control.

So talked to friends for help on curbing my anger. It was a lot of tough work. But eventually I changed my ‘10 second rule’ to ‘a 24 hour rule’ (or more). I learned to walk away; rant in private; rip apart ‘anything’ figuratively, in seclusion; then I would return. I was able to get my temper under control to the point of not saying a word, then getting a drink of water. I introduced, slowly — oh so slowly – that maybe just maybe ‘I’ could do something different to change a situation; take responsibility. This appeared to work for me.

The second change I made was learning how to say ‘no.’ I used to take on every task managers asked of me. After taking on too much, I would end up blaming others for my work not getting done. Saying ‘no’ to managers is especially difficult if they are aggressive. I’ve found that timing is everything. I have to take a close look at the duties already assigned to me; then I make the decision to say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ I now realize that I am not responsible for anyone’s reaction, just identifying the facts for everyone concerned.

Since making these changes I am much happier. My work gets completed on time. And I have received two promotions since May of 2006. I had been in my previous position for 13 years. I now have a different outlook on how to take responsibility and to stop the blame game.”

If you’re interested in this topic, here are few more articles for you to check out:

Choice More than Chance Determines Our Circumstance
Dwelling on our problems rather than our possibilities comes all too naturally. Too often we choose to curse the darkness rather than light a candle. More

If It’s Going to Be It’s Up to Me
Life is an endless series of choices, happy and successful people take responsibility for choices as well as consequences for their actions. More

Leaders Control Their Own Destiny
Leaders refuse to let fate or others control their destiny. Leaders take responsibility for their choices. Such strong leaders remind us that failure is an event, not a person. To fail to attempt is far worse than to attempt and fail. More

If you’re really into this topic and want even more, these are from a bigger collection of articles on Attitude and Outlook at I would love to get your experiences or perspectives in the comments section of any article that connects with you.