Spencer Hays has always said that there are two types of people in this world: those that find an excuse and those that find a way. Everybody has an excuse, but it’s the rare individual who finds a way over, under, around, or right through any obstacle. I remember learning from Spencer the principle of ownership. I also remember hearing from Dan Moore, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me”. I thank God that 17 years ago I walked through the doors of Southwestern and learned that principle at such an early age.
Ownership is one of the most important assets you have. It doesn’t matter what your title is, you can own what you do. Someone with ownership has freedom. Someone who doesn’t have ownership is a prisoner in their own mind.
Ownership is the thing that reminds you: If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me. It doesn’t matter if you’re the “leader” because the leader is the person who finds a need and fills it. Without ownership, frustration sets in. Without ownership, it’s a feeling of “yeah, I would be able to do that… but…” And whatever comes after that “but” is your excuse.
People who don’t have ownership point fingers, and they say, “I could do my job except for this one person or this one thing or this one vendor or this one whatever”. As long as there’s no reason why you can’t do something, then you’re right, it won’t get done. However, when you take ownership and find a way and not an excuse, there’s a paradigm shift. Mountains move. You can problem-solve. You can figure things out. You don’t stop when you hear, “I can’t do something.” You figure out how you’re going to do whatever it is you’re trying to do.
Ownership reminds me of people like Nelson Mandela—people on a mission to change the world. He went through some tough circumstances. He went through probably the most challenging 30 years anyone could imagine, but he kept the vision and took ownership. He didn’t blame other people for failures or why he couldn’t do something. He took ownership of the mission he was on and in doing so, he changed the world.
When you think of your level of ownership, do you find yourself saying, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me”? Or do you find yourself saying, “You know, I could do that if such and such would happen… I would be able to reach these goals if my boss just helped me a little bit more… I would be able to do this if the company did this or that… I would be able to do this if the economy was just a little bit different… I would be able to do this if…” and insert anything that you might say about why you can’t do something. If you find yourself in that mode, my challenge for you is to take ownership. How do you do that?
It starts with deciding that you are going to be in control of your destiny. Nobody is stopping you from doing whatever it is you want to do. Start with an affirmation. It can be the most basic affirmation that I learned from Dan Moore, which is, “If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me”. If you need to, put the quote from Spencer up on your desk or on your screensaver or on your cell phone, and remind yourself every day that there are two types of people in this world: those that find an excuse and those that find a way.
Taking ownership is realizing that whatever you put your mind to and believe you can do, you will do. When you own that concept, you will own your life and create freedom. That’s what ownership is all about.