True Responsibility Begins When You “Flip the Switch”


"The Power of Responsibility: Six Decisions That Will Help You Take Back Happiness and Create Unlimited Success" is about taking responsibility out of the ethics textbooks and courses and into reality by "flipping the switch". Taking the time to "flip the switch" now is the best way to prevent an "Enron scandal" in the future.

Joelle Casteix

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What makes a business “do the right thing”? What encourages one CEO to admit a mistake and another CEO to do everything to hide that same mistake?

For Joelle Casteix, author of “The Power of Responsibility: Six Decisions That Will Help You Take Back Happiness and Create Unlimited Success,” the answer is a psychological “switch” that changes our thinking patterns. Her book guides readers through the decisions that led her out of a mediocre life to one of personal and financial success.

What is the Book About?

“The Power of Responsibility” is a personal story with larger implications. Joelle Casteix faced years of abuse by a trusted teacher (which led to pregnancy), working as a waitress (even though she had a college degree), suicide attempts and a life headed nowhere. At the age of 27, she experienced a dramatic shift that led to becoming a world-traveling speaker, advocate and best-selling author.

What led to the change?

Casteix recognized that her decision-making, and nothing else, was responsible for her current life. Despite what happened in her past, that past was just that. Her past. It would and could not determine her future. Empowered, Casteix began to trace her thinking patterns, decision by decision, to recover her life. Her reflections on that journey form the “Six Decisions” found in the book.

Casteix found that all of her disempowering thoughts came from a subtle mental shift, the same one all of us (including leaders) make when we experience a problem in our lives. This mental shift is a choice to deflect the problem to our “inner selves” (shame) or someone else (blame). It’s much easier to blame the economy or a co-worker or our upbringing as the reason for our failures than to confront them. That being said, shifting the blame to someone or something else robs us of the motivation and thinking capacity to solve our problems.

Taking back our power to solve our problems starts with the same mental shift Casteix had. This shift, called “flipping the switch” involves a conscious decision to confront and challenge our blame and shame and move toward solutions. “Flipping the Switch” is the missing ingredient, according to “The Power of Responsibility.” This ingredient does not receive its fair due when encouraging a person, business or industry to make a change.

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Who is Joelle Casteix

Today, Casteix (@jcasteix) is an advocate, journalist, award-winning author and international speaker with an incredibly inspiring TEDx speech and the distinction of being listed as one of “Orange County’s 100 Most Influential People of 2015”.

What Was Best About This Book

The best part of “The Power of Responsibility” is the focus on the mental “shift” necessary for ethical decision-making. Most ethics books and courses focus on the external aspects of responsibility (what we do) with only a few paragraphs dedicated to the internal aspects (why we should do what we do). “The Power of Responsibility” is the reverse. It starts with the internal aspects and then explains the external implications.

What Could Have Been Done Differently

The book is geared toward personal responsibility, rather than business ethics. That being said, the implications of our personal responsibility affect how we do business. Casteix, herself, points this out in her discussion on Enron, the Catholic Church, and other organizations. The organizations weren’t filled with bad people. They were filled with bad decisions.

To make the book more applicable for businesses, “The Power of Responsibility” could focus on providing case studies, research, and specific recommendations on how to implement the “Six Decisions” on a comprehensive level.

Why Read This Book

“The Power of Responsibility” is a book that can be read by business leader and worker alike. It is designed to help readers trace the decision-making that leads to the breakdown of responsibility. This kind of reflection is often done after a “crisis”; however, Casteix’s point is that readers shouldn’t wait until the next crisis. “The Power of Responsibility” suggests we need to confront our bad decision-making patterns now to prevent a crisis.

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1 Comment ▼

Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.

One Reaction
  1. I think this is a great way to look at the aspect of accepting responsibility in crisis management. More than that, you should also have a plan on what you should in case some crises strikes.