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Why do you think if something's going wrong, it must be your fault? Why are you so sure if your boss is upset, it's because you've done something to upset him?

Your boss is in a bad mood, and the first thing that goes through your mind is "What did I do?" You're sure you've made some terrible mistake. You obsess until you can't stand it anymore and come right out with "Let me know what I've done. Whatever it is, I'll fix it." Your boss looks at you funny and says "What are you talking about? You didn't do anything." "But you're in such a bad mood!" you exclaim. "So?" your boss replies "It has nothing to do with you. Get back to your work," and off you slink. Oh, you're relieved, all right, but you feel so stupid. Why do you automatically assume if something's going wrong, it's your fault?

Because you want so much for things to go right. And because you know - if you're the one messing up, you're also the one who can fix it. However, taking responsibility for things which aren't your responsibility doesn't serve you. Instead, run a "responsibility check" on yourself. Ask, "Is there anything I've left undone, or any obvious mistake I know I've made?" If the answer is "no," then let it go. If you really have messed up, your boss will tell you. Then you can say "Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I'll get right to it."

Running away from responsibility is dis-empowering, but taking on more than your share doesn't work either.

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