A lack of documentation appears to be one of the primary reasons individuals such as you and I fail in our bids to use the law to help us.

Oh dear, you are wondering how on earth did I manage to pick such a boring subject to write about? But it gets interesting if you want to follow up on some points of concern.

Think about this, of the many statistics on divorce, it is noted that up to 50% of marriages will end in divorce. So get this, if this is true, then half of us reading this will experience divorce and therefore the majority of that half will want their fair share of the combined possessions… and no, just saying you want it, doesn’t mean you will get the possessions…’, ‘As boring as all this seems, if you add the other reasons why you might need documents then the chances are very high that at some stage, you will be required to produce something, or miss out.

Whether it is a divorce settlement, a claim against someone for money, a wish to get a loan, you name it, if you can’t produce the documents, you lose.

Now you can think that this doesn’t apply to you, so what the heck! Well just hang on there, I can tell you from personal experience that it happens and it happens when you least expect it. It’s the apathy that we have now towards this, that will prove costly if or when we need it most.

Take a personal diary of your movements through the day. Now I am not even talking about detail here, all it takes is a basic notation in a diary saying what you did and the time. That has saved many when questioned about their whereabouts. It has saved contractors thousands of dollars, as they are able to prove they were on a particular job when the owner refuses to pay. You see, a notation at the time is like gold later in life.

In a meeting, one of the requirements is the taking of minutes. These minutes have tremendous standing in a court of law. If it’s noted down, it’s true especially if it’s done at the time it happened… it gains even more credence if it is agreed to in the next meeting.

Most of us just can’t be bothered with the hassle, but let me tell you that by not keeping a record or documentation, it will cost you big time, even if it is just failing to claim the tax refund you are eligible for.

So what is documentation anyway?

Anything that you can show, that gives an indication of where, what, when, how and why. That’s all it is.

Just imagine getting our pay at the end of the week with no pay slip? No record of how the amount we have in our hand was ascertained… and if the amount varied from week to week we would be even more concerned.

What about a parking or speeding ticket? What if the police officer just verbally came to you and told you to pay. The first thing you would require is a ticket. Most of us won’t pay a bill unless we have an invoice and we always make sure we collect a receipt when we get some clothing, just on the off chance it doesn’t fit and we wish to return it. So you see, when it suits us, we do collect documentation, but only when it suits us.

But when it comes to looking after our own interests we tend to be a little blasé. If you were to look at what you value and make a record of it, using the where, what, when, how and why method, you would be virtually in the driving seat of documentation. Oh and while you are at it, how’s your will?

Becoming Responsible

Hey, don’t look at me, I am just writing this story.

What happens when we privately decide we are going to become more responsible? Sometimes it’s not a pretty sight. Decisions usually have ramifications and when responsibility gets mixed up in this as well, then the result is usually interesting, to say the least.

Life is happening as we speak and as its happening, we either feel like we are the brunt of it or its going well. We rarely look at life as if we have responsibility for it. We don’t have any problems signing up for a mortgage and reading the fine print to make sure everything is in order but we resist defining the fine print for our lives.

When something happens to us, we usually look at it as bad luck or in some instances good luck, we very rarely consider that we caused this by our actions, and yet, everyday, we go about doing things that are potentially outside our boundaries of taking responsibility for it.

You know, we are running late for work so we speed, we have a hard day so when we come home we shout at the kids. If we were to study the fine print of our actions we would see that we slept in, we caused this lateness (sure we may have had a late night but it was us who had it!) We may have had a hard day but isn’t that our problem? What did the kids do apart from being boisterous and playful?

When we start to define or scrutinize the fine print of our lives, we start to see that for every instance of a difficulty or upset, there is an earlier instance of being irresponsible or lackadaisical. Don’t ya just hate the way that happens?

Becoming responsible usually leads (in the first instance) to a fair bit of confusion as we come to terms with our new found fine print of our lives. It’s a strange phenomenon and that is where most of us give up on trying to change. Its like it becomes too confusing to continue, your life gets turned upside down and you don’t like that much.

This confusion dissipates as you go along but you have to go along for that to happen. Keep reading the fine print and you will see a clearer picture of your surroundings. It’s like the fine print suddenly makes sense.

So how did Documentation and Responsibility get mixed up in the same article?

Easy! Have a look at where you are at. Warts and all… what’s it like? There are going to be a couple of answers you could say here.

One means you are going to look at what is written again, and see what more you can take out of it, and the other is that you are going to do nothing. Now which one is the right answer?

Only you can answer that one, I’m afraid!

Even if you are totally happy that you have everything in place… documentation and responsibility… is there anything you could improve on? It’s when you say no to this, that mediocrity may have taken over. In other words, the safeness of familiarity has overridden your desire to improve or take adequate care.

Remember, that if change is forced upon us, we still feel that same confusion as we do when we first take responsibility for our actions. Be aware enough to acknowledge that we might as well be in control of the change, than have that control put on us by others… and by the look of the statistics, half of us will have that change put on us or caused by us regardless.

Until next week

Cheers… Bill

Bill Gray

Bill is a Business Coach. Working with Individuals, Businesses and Organisations to create better environments and to develop and enhance business ”potential”, into successful business practices.

Sydney, Australia

Ph +61 413 949 521

Copyright ©Bill Gray All Rights Reserved 2005.