Taking Ownership

All too often, it is easy to fall victim to your circumstances and not take ownership of your decisions in life. I think the reason we avoid ownership is that it feels better to have someone else take the blame instead of taking a good, hard look at yourself and owning up to how you may have contributed to your current situation.

Like most people, I too have subscribed to this philosophy before and I sometimes catch myself doing it again, but it is the worst place to be. It is a hopeless, unproductive place and one that can cause negative implications if you don’t start taking true ownership of your life.

There are a ton of variables in life that prohibit us from reaching the goals we want. If you stop and think about where you are in your life financially you can probably think of a couple of outside circumstances that contributed to where you are now. Taking ownership of your life turns that thought on its end and says no matter what the current situation is, I am going to take extreme ownership of how I got here. Even if you just got fired from your job, a person who takes ownership would say, “There were things I could have done differently in order to positively affect my company and if I were to do that I wouldn’t have been fired.”

This works for all aspects of life. When you condition yourself to take this kind of ownership, not only is it more enjoyable for others to work with you, but you also start seeing a positive effect on your life. It is when we take ownership that we start controlling more things around us and responsibilities start coming in at a record pace!

There is a great book on this principle called Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. This book does a great job of showing you how powerful it is to take on more ownership. They also give you real-life examples in a business setting to show you how extreme ownership plays out.

Before Donald Trump became President of the United States, he was on a little show called, The Apprentice. Every week, this show played out with a cast that took the opposite of ownership. Every single time, people placed blame on others about why their objective wasn’t met and it would almost always be someone else’s fault no matter what the situation. I know they made it more dramatic for ratings, but I think this happens in everyday life as well. I would love to have seen a contestant on the show take complete ownership of the loss their team suffered. It would have been interesting to witness what would have happened in the board room.

Here are a couple of things that happen when you take extreme ownership. First, the pressure is taken off of your other team members. They now see a humble leader who really is trying to get to the finish line and win but not by playing the blame game. It also allows others to start taking ownership of small things themselves. That last point doesn’t take the mantel of ownership off the leader, but it does let the team feel a sense of ownership as well. It also creates an environment where you are your biggest critic. This style of leadership works really well with many different personalities.

So the next time you find yourself in a situation you may or may not like, how can you start taking ownership of the things you did to get you there? When you see the part you played, what are you going to change to make sure you don’t wind up in the same spot again?

All of this is great advice but what does it have to do with your finances? That’s easy – if you’re not in the place you thought you would be or should be, take ownership. Ask yourself some hard probing questions and you might find that reaching out to someone for help could be just what you need to break through to the next level!