Take Ownership or Fool Yourself

Have you ever had a project or a goal that just didn’t seem to move forward? It could be because you haven’t given it attention, or it seems too difficult. Whether at work or in our personal life, we all have these moments.

The first time I felt this way was on my first engineering internship. During my mid-summer review, my manager at the time told me that I needed to take ownership of my biggest project. At first, I was insulted by the feedback. How could he say I wasn’t owning the project?

The more I thought about it, the more I could see that he was right. Unconsciously, it didn’t matter to me whether the project succeeded or failed. I felt it was too complicated for an intern and I couldn’t see an obvious solution – so I just took a casual approach to it. After he told me that I needed to take ownership, I could see that it was exactly what I had avoided.

If I didn’t “own” the project and it failed, my mind could believe that failure was outside of my control. What a sneaky trick. The truth was that if I didn’t OWN it, the project would never have a chance to be successful. When I got more serious about ownership, creativity and passion flowed around the project and I was able to find a solution in time.

I have applied this principle of ownership again and again. We can never be reminded too often about taking ownership. Former Navy Seal Commander, Jocko Willink, is a popular speaker on the topic of ownership. In his book, Extreme Ownership, he says, “Leaders must own everything in their world. There is no one else to blame.”

Whether you lead people, projects or initiatives, you are a leader. If we don’t own what we need to, we will always have excuses that stand in the way of our creativity and success. We must take true responsibility for results if we want to see them. We can’t let excuses take the lead.

In the Bible, God prepared Queen Esther for a time when she would need to take a risk to accomplish what she needed to. She was uniquely positioned and God had prepared everything, but it was up to her to own what she had to do. Esther took the risk. She took ownership and God saved her nation.

God has a path planned for each of us. He has designed it. He is always guiding, shaping us, and preparing us. Remember, we must be faithful even in the little things if we want God to use us for the big things. Sometimes we understand every detail and other times it seems like we know nothing. We need to learn how to trust what God wants to do through what He brings to us.

So, what do you need to take ownership of? Results? A relationship? A tough project? A broken process? Whatever it is, make certain that you are not fooled into making the same mistake I did years ago. Take ownership.

Colossians 3:23 tells us to do everything with our whole heart and to do it for God and not for man. Big or small, what will you take ownership of today?

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