My kids and I were supposed to go spend the day (and night) at the new Chick-fil-A in Kyle, Texas for a chance to win free Chick-fil-a for a year. To get the chance to compete, you either have to be one of the first 100 in line, or if more than 100 people show at 6:00 AM the day before, there is a raffle for the 100 spots. In this case, there were more than 100 people (175) and we arrived at 6:05 AM due to some navigation issues. So we were out of luck. We had planned to make a fun day and night out of this, so needless to say the kids were pretty disappointed.
As I began processing why we were late, I immediately started looking for ways to shift the blame. Why did Google Maps have the exit number wrong? Why doesn't Chick-fil-A have the location of new restaurants in its restaurant finder? Why wasn't there a giant cow on top of the building to make it easy to spot? And suddenly it occurred to me that I had fallen into the blame game. I was asking the wrong questions.
In his incredible book, QBQ, John G. Miller talks about asking the The Question Behind the Question®. So I started asking the right question. What could I have done differently? I could have left earlier. I could have double checked the directions. I could have contacted the Kyle Chick-fil-A to make sure I knew where it was. And I realized that it wasn't Google Maps' fault. And it wasn't Chick-fil-A's fault. It was my fault. I could have done something. I needed to practice personal accountability.
Whenever we choose to practice personal accountability, we're going completely against the tide of our culture. Articles like this one about blame shifting the BP oil spill make it abundantly clear - we're not interested in solving the problem, we're interested in finding someone to blame. That prevents us from finding the failures in ourselves (and gives us a person for the lawsuit).
When you are faced with situations in your life that don't go the way you want, ask yourself, what could I have done differently? And what can I do in the future to make sure this doesn't happen to me (or anyone else) again? And then fix it. Because it's your problem now.
So what did I do? I sent email to Chick-fil-A suggesting that they add maps to their restaurant opening pages. And I did some research and found out that all the major mapping software has the wrong exit for Kyle, Texas. So I'm going to contact Kyle and let them know since they have more clout than me to try to fix it.
And I'm taking the kids to Chick-fil-A for dinner. We didn't make the grand opening. But we can still have a great meal.