Your Success Thought for the Week of March 20, 2007

The topic of ownership has seems to be a hot topic in recent coaching and other conversations. Specifically, what you own or are responsible for and what you are not.

In this area, I find little middle ground. There are those of you who choose to own everything meaning that you feel responsible for what happens around you in most directions. And then there are those of you who feel no sense of ownership, irrespective of what those around you desire. Both sides are equally frustrating to the other.

Here’s what taking on too much ownership looks like:

  • As a Leader: You solve everyone’s problems rather than encouraging them to come up with their own unique solutions. While this may be the easiest approach, it in no way enhances the growth and creativity of your staff.

  • As a Service Provider or Sales Executive: You assume what your customer wants, wearing yourself out to please or take care of their every need. Simple questions could prevent hours of unnecessary labor and annoyance.

  • As a Parent: Your children’s challenges become your own. As with the Leader, you take on the responsibility rather than teaching your children the value of finding their own resolutions to normal childhood predicaments. What type of adults are you forming?

  • As a Spouse, Partner or Friend: You take on ownership practically before a problem occurs. Anyone comes to you with a dilemma, and you immediately leap forward with the perfect solution. How does that honor the other individual? What if you instead asked more questions and persuaded those closest to you to come up with creative approaches? Your relationship would be more balanced and they would unfold self-sufficiency.

You can see challenges with each of these scenarios and how each blocks a successful outcome. The opposite is equally debilitating when you take too little ownership:

  • As a leader: Few individuals who avoid ownership become leaders, yet some slip through. Your focus is on the problem rather than the solution. You doubt yourself, so you ask for others' opinions to the point of exhaustion.

  • As a Service Provider or Sales Executive: Again, it’s always someone else’s fault, or the market, the weather, etc. This is no way to learn. Others are succeeding where you may be failing. Learn what they are doing differently or more effectively. Ask your client or customer what you could have done better. Be realistic where you were not in your best mode and find a way to improve. This is your constant goal.

  • As a Parent: Sadly enough, you may believe that any dilemmas that arise are your children’s fault and that it has nothing to do with you. You are thus teaching them blame, instead of responsibility. Take a look in the mirror as your children are more often than not emulating their parents. Where are you sabotaging their development? The answer is probably the same way you sabotage your own development.

  • As a Spouse, Partner or Friend: You are not dependable, most likely the type of partner that cancels plans at the last minute, doesn’t commit, or is wishy-washy. Since those who don’t easily take ownership for their actions find solace in being surrounded by similar beings, you may not even notice the lack of depth or dependability in your relationships.

The key to ownership is be conscious and not in autopilot. There are times you might consciously choose to be responsible, and there are times when it’s best to share or delegate the responsibility. You may take on more responsibility in certain areas than in others.

Just because you are a responsible person doesn’t mean that you take on the ultimate responsibility in all aspects of life. This is exhausting, and prevents those around you from growing.

Enjoy your discoveries and make wise ownership choices this week.


P. S. We'd love to hear how you used our ‘Success Thought of The Week’ in your business or personal dealings.

Ann Golden Eglé, MCC
Executive Coach & President
Golden Visions Success Coaching, LLC

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