Ownership: It’s on YOU


The title says it pretty well.  With maybe capital letters to accentuate who needs to step up.  YOU have ownership.  Of EVERYTHING.

Lately I’ve been listening to a great voice on leadership, Mr. Jocko Willink.  Am sure I’ve mentioned him elsewhere in this blog.  Suffice to say, he knows a lot about leadership, and has some very defined ideas about what that looks like.  Want a taste?  His first podcast was a great indication of the content he’s bringing to the world.  Fresh yet timeless, simple yet not easy, and worth applying to YOUR life for sure.

What’s maybe the best thing I’ve gotten from following Jocko is taking his motivations and inspirations and examples and spinning them into the context of family and parenting.  In fact, when I think about it, a lot of what he has to say I’ve heard time and time again throughout my life:

Take responsibility for your life, for what you do, who you are, and where you want to go.  You can’t control a lot in this world, but you can control yourself. So focus on that.  That is how we make it better.  That is how we make ourselves happy.

It’s simple.  But often not easy, for sure.

With current events in my world right now, taking responsibility, taking ownership for everything that I can control is key to moving forward positively — and just plan maintaining sanity — on a day-to-day basis.

Over the past week I’ve thought more about engaging my family — my wife and kids — to take this approach as well.

I’m very thankful that they’ve taken steps in that direction.  Of course, we all “take ownership” in our own way.  The main thing is not the how — that will evolve, it will ebb and flow — but to simply to think differently, to be responsible.

Here are two quick examples.

First, one of my main roles at home is to be the dishwasher. Especially when the kids were infants, it was a task I could do easily, do quickly, and help keep the house running.  Besides, I was raised that way.  I’m happier that way.  It’s ingrained in my DNA to keep the kitchen sink clear of dirty dishes.

However, in the last few weeks I’ve not had nearly the discretionary time at home in the evenings to do my duty.  This week my wife stepped up to support our family (and my own mild neurosis) by doing the dishes.   That’s ownership.  In this case, my wife took ownership of something I was lagging on to lend a hand.  BIG help and I’m grateful.

The other example is related to the kids.  As you may have learned from my other blog posts, we have three little kids.  They are five years old and younger.

I’m responsible for taking the kids to daycare on my way to work.  It’s a tight time frame. To cope, we have a very established routine in the early morning to leave the house in timeline fashion on workdays.

As we’ve worked to maintain this routine over the past five years, I’ve been thinking of late how important it is for each of the kids to be more responsible for being ready to go.  How does this translate for a five year old child (or three, or two year old)?

They like having their loveys with them on the ride to daycare.  Up to this point my wife and I are the ones who make sure the loveys are in the car when we leave the house.  More than once I’ve elected to go back in the house and find the fuzzy little dog because one of them has forgotten.

I’m taking a new tact starting this week.

I’m reminding my kids that each of them needs to be sure they have what they want to take to day care; they can’t simply rely on mom and me.  That includes their loveys.  Granted, it’s early in the process, and I’m sure they’ll falter some.  We ALL forget things, at least some of the time.

The main point is, learn to be responsible.  Take ownership of the things you want in your life and the things that happen in your life.  It’s the only way you’re going to change things for the better.  It’s really the only way to be happy.


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