Taking total ownership turned my life around a few years ago – about twenty-one years ago to be precise – I am fifty-six at time of writing. BTW – if you prefer an audio version of this, I have included one just for you at the end of this article.
I am in a constant battle with myself to ensure I keep taking total ownership. It is not easy, but it is absolutely the right way to go. I am all about self-confidence and total ownership is step one in building and maintaining self-confidence.
When I work with coaching clients, total ownership is front and centre. It is a number one priority. It is the first question I ask people and there is only one right answer. I will not work with anyone who will not take full ownership.
Why is it so important? Let me define it for you.
What is total ownership?
For me, total ownership is about choosing and accepting full and unreserved responsibility for my part in my own life.
By accepting full responsibility for my own part in my life, I also take full and unreserved responsibility for developing and implementing any required solutions to problems in my own life.
What it does not mean
Total ownership does not mean I am responsible for everything in the world. That would be ridiculous.
I cannot affect the weather for example. What I can take responsibility for is doing my level best to check weather forecasts, assemble and wear suitable clothing and/or securing and maintaining the correct shelter or other protection required for any weather conditions which do occur.
Does it mean I have to fix everything myself? No. Again, I cannot do everything, but I can reach out to people who can do it. Learning is an option, and I can seek informational support to learn how to fix it. I can take total ownership of the process of fixing something. I can take responsibility.
Total ownership of response
So, I cannot control what other people do, say and/or think. I cannot always control external events. What I can do, and this is super-important, is control what I do, say and/or think in response to those people or events.
I will say it again, I can control how I respond to the world, the people in it and any events which occur.
So can you. If you choose to do so.
That is why I always ask people the question about responsibility and total ownership. You must hold the belief that you can control your responses to situations which you face. Belief that you can and will engage fully in developing solutions to any problems which you face is essential. You must also be prepared to choose to take total ownership.
Here is a not very surprising confession. I have put weight on over Xmas as I always do, but it is no good moaning about it. It is no good saying, “well it is what it is, what can I do?” or even blaming someone for feeding me too much. I ate the food, and nobody twisted my arm or held a gun to my head.
If I want to lose the extra weight, I must do something about it. Eat less, eat more healthily and exercise more effectively. If I go to a gym, I must do the exercises – it will not be the gym’s fault if I do not – it will be my fault. It is my responsibility. I can also work on portion control and food quality because again it is my responsibility to eat less and eat more healthily.
What is the alternative to total ownership?
The alternative is that you let life happen to you. You let events dictate your life. You let the actions, thoughts and emotions of other people determine what to get to do, think and feel.
It could go well, or it could go badly. Either way you have no real part in it. You have no agency.
The “drift along and hope for the best” approach appeals to many people because when things go wrong, they get to play the wonderful blame game. Nothing will ever be their fault because someone or something else will always get in their way.
This is victim mentality. It is a seductive and easy state to get into. However, being a victim is the absolute best way I know to destroy self-confidence. I spent many years in full victim mode, and it sucked. When I finally stopped being a victim, my life turned around.
Some final thoughts
Building self-confidence is not easy. If you are looking for a quick fix magic bullet solution, then you will not want to hear my thoughts on the matter. Lots of people will offer what you want. Try them out but don’t blame me if they don’t work for you. Take responsibility for your poor choice and resolve to do better next time.
Anything worth having is worth working for. Building self-confidence, especially when you have little to start with, is arduous work. It is worth it.
In my world, the first step in building self-confidence is to take total ownership of your life. Once that happens you can build a well-engineered and designed structure bit by bit on a rock-solid foundation.
Self-confidence is a work in progress for me. Total ownership is a constant battle. When I am battling, at least I know I am alive, and I know I am living.
Do not fall for the seductive lure of victimhood, give total ownership a try instead.
That’s all for this one
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PPS Here is the audio version of this article if you would prefer to listen.