I tend to do my very-best thinking when I’m getting ready for the day. Between showering and spending time putting on my makeup and doing my hair, I have plenty of time to think. The word “ownership” popped into my mind the other morning. I was thinking about how much my life has changed since I started college and I was trying to figure out what it was that I think changed me the most…
And that’s when ownership started to feel just right!
I’ve always been a responsible and independent person. Almost to a fault as I take things extremely seriously and can find myself missing out on life events and I was always a bit too grown up for my age. (As an example, I insisted on packing my own lunch starting in second grade because heaven forbid my mom not do it “correctly.”)
But it wasn’t until I started living on my own that I really started to take ownership for everything that I do. I definitely had moments growing up where it was easier to play the victim card than to be responsible. I fell into the temptation of cutting corners. I felt like things that were happening were out of my control and there was little I could do.
Taking ownership and having ownership over my own life has been a game changer. It wasn’t an overnight thing and it’s not something that deliberately happened, but I am very glad it did. Having ownership, however, can be something that you actively seek. Trust me when I say that it will be the best thing you can do for yourself.
Ownership, in my opinion, means….
Making a change if you wish to see change. This is the easiest thing to say and the hardest thing to do. It’s like breaking or creating any kind of habit, it takes dedication and determination. It’s all about getting into the rhythm of making the changes you need to make. Wishing and hoping and thinking (even planning) won’t get you there… only doing will! (And it’s up to you!)
Not blaming other people or situations. Being late isn’t about traffic or slow trains, it’s about not factoring morning rush hour into your commute. Getting a bad grade isn’t a professor’s fault, it’s not studying enough. The rain isn’t ruining the day, your attitude probably is. Whenever I find myself making excuses for why something didn’t go well, I stop myself and reel it back in to find the root of the problem. Even when things do seem situational, it only takes a couple of minutes to reframe what happened to take control. The best parts? It makes my mood better and I can make a better choice/judgement next time.
Realizing how what you do impacts the results. When you’re taking ownership, you can see the direct impact you’ve made. In a good way and a bad way, if that’s the case. You’re in charge here! One of the questions I receive the most is how I stay motivated. The bottom line for me right now is that if I don’t work, I don’t get results. The better I work, the better the results. Again, the literal bottom line is on me, and only me. It can be stressful, but also freeing and rewarding to see the direct impact.
Setting and sticking to goals. The best way to get results? Setting goals. Whether you work for yourself or are part of a organization or you’re a student, you have to have goals. Having goals is the best way to stay on track and the best way to ensure you’re taking ownership. (Don’t forget to not blame other people or situations while making your way to the goal!) One thing to note is that a goal may change overtime. Maybe you reached it early or forgot to factor a crucial detail in and you won’t hit it in time, take charge and change the goals as necessary. But remember… you’re the owner here. Don’t cut corners!
Taking a stand for what you believe and standing by what you do. Part of taking ownership is knowing what you believe and not being afraid of that. You don’t have to make a huge deal about it; you can be private about your beliefs! You should know them though. Another part is standing by what you do. Recognizing when something went well or not so well; knowing when to apologize, knowing when to back down, and when to step up. This is when you really have to ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing… if you’ve done the right thing. It’s on you.
Taking care of yourself. THE MOST IMPORTANT! The only person who can really make sure that you’re doing okay physically, mentally, and emotionally is you. It’s the most important and easily one of the most forgotten steps. I personally struggle with this, but make a concerted effort to take care of myself. Having ownership can create stress so you have to stay on top of your own well-being in the process.