Even Jimmy Buffett sings about it being somebody’s fault - and then admits it’s his own! You ever notice how we blame others, even for the littlest of things, like the toilet paper running out, or the trash spilling over - or something as important as our own happiness. We blame the weather, the government, our employers, our parents, our significant others. People have blamed establishments for hot coffee spilling on them, and even won lawsuits.
We tend to lay blame so we don’t have to take responsibility. It actually happen to me not that long ago, my license had expired, but because the DMV usually sends a notice, I didn’t realize it had expired. I blamed the DMV for not alerting me. I felt it wasn’t my fault - but I still had to pay the fine! And while I didn’t enjoy the state trooper telling me it was my responsibility - he was right. The problem was that I was used to a system that reminded me. I didn’t have my own system in place to remind myself. I gave ownership to the DMV. This was a great learning experience, and made me wonder: Who else am I giving ownership to? And why would it be better not to?
Often it feels like we don’t have ownership over a situation. I remember feeling so frustrated back when I worked in corporate, when my boss would give me the responsibility but not the authority. Often we don’t know how to handle this. To take ownership in a situation like this would simply mean having a conversation with the boss. Let him/her know that you can only do so much with the authority level you have. Discuss what might need to change so you can take full responsibility. While you don’t own the entire situation, you do own your piece of it.
Think about how empowering you feel when you do have complete authority and responsibility? Even when something goes wrong, you have a better feeling about it. You feel like you can do something to make it better next time. You don’t feel trapped like a victim.
Take stock of where you are giving ownership, and take back what is your responsibility. Remember, it’s your life; own it! It’s up to you to take complete responsibility for your own happiness and success.
Tune in to this week’s podcast and find out how to know where to draw the line in taking ownership and taking over - aka being a control freak.
And hey, I’d love to hear what blaming or taking ownership situations you’ve heard or experienced. Post them in the comments below.