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Making a Miracle: How accountability saved lives in the Thailand cave rescue

You can make a miracle happen in your life any time you want. A miracle happens every time you change the way you look at things, and we just experienced a miracle of the highest order in Thailand.

Twelve young boys and their coach went exploring in the Tham Luang caves on June 23rd when a sudden storm flooded passageways and trapped the group inside the caves. Fears of the dark and tight spaces were taken to the deepest, and most intense level imaginable. Miraculously, all twelve of the Wild Boar soccer team, who had spent two weeks trapped inside the flooded cave system, have now been freed after a remarkable three-day rescue mission.

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Reports have come out recently that the coach had been keeping them together, huddled to conserve their energy, and putting the boys in meditative states to slow down their mind and body, essentially keeping them alive. And how about the rescuers, who risked their lives to get everyone out in the nick of time.

What an incredible example of miracles in action. And it all started with personal accountability, both from the boys in the cave and the divers putting it all on the line to pull a miracle down to the real world.

I believe there are 6 key behaviors that build accountability in a person or a team, and the Tham Luang cave rescue is a perfect example of how living into these behaviors can accomplish even the most seemingly impossible missions.

1. Think from the end and plan.

Thinking from the end and planning means taking your future goal and bringing to the present to act on it now. When rescue teams realized how challenging it would be to navigate through the caves, they had to work backwards to visualize the best possible way to bring each boy to safety. They had to take into account the heights, the number of tanks needed, timing, and number of divers needed per trip into the cave. Thinking from the end and planning will cause you to visualize your goal, see the cause and effects of each action you take, and think through the impact.

2. Examines all options before acting

This behavior is all about opening your mind to see each option and comparing it to the other. Act too fast and you’ll make a rash, uninformed decision. Think too slowly and the moment will pass you by. The Thai rescue team examined all options before acting with each test dive they took into the cave. After viewing every possible way to retrieve the boys, they found the right one and acted.

3. Is proactive in seeking information

When you proactively seek information, you become one of the greatest things in the human race: an information sponge. You meet with every possible person who can help you achieve your goal, and you research and read about what you need to do in order to make your dreams reality. The Thai cave rescue mission brought in Thai Navy SEALS, doctors, diving instructors, and even Elon Musk in order to find the best possible way to save these lives. Each member played a role in adding their knowledge to the situation so that it could be handled as safely as possible.

4. Sees the connection between effort and results

This behavior is focused on increasing your awareness of how much effort you are putting in, and where. Where can you redirect your effort? How can you grow yourself? Just like the Thai cave rescue saw that consistency was key, and that daily small wins were worth more than one big win. This mission took three days to execute because they knew if they rushed into rescue, lives were at risk.

5. Accepts personal responsibility for their performance

Personal responsibility requires 2 steps: letting go of what holds you back and changing your mindset. When you cling onto your leashes that keep you from accomplishing a goal, you aren’t taking personal responsibility; you are blaming your circumstances. Changing your mindset to see that things are not happening to you, but for you, can make a world of a difference. When the coach of the Wild Boars soccer team saw how grave the situation was, he took personal responsibility to keep the boys safe. He let go of his fears so that he could be the light for his team. When he took personal responsibility for his team’s lives, he saved them.

6. Takes personal responsibility for how their actions impact others

Details of the dedication and bravery of rescue workers is currently filtering through the media. A hero to be remembered forever is Australian anesthetist Richard Harris, who had been visiting the boys and staying with them until the day’s final rescue. Harris would dive each day all the way to where the team was trapped to check their condition before clearing them to dive. And he only left the cave when the last boy of the day was rescued. Harris took personal responsibility for how his actions would impact the lives of these boys. When he checked their vitals before each of them left the cave, he was able to get each boy saved and returned to their families.

This mission was a miracle.

Accountability means taking personal ownership over performance, and as the Thai rescue mission showed, when you put accountability at the forefront of your goals, amazing things happen.

When you put accountability at the front of your focus today, you’ll see your own miracles happen in front of you.

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