Let me start by saying I’m probably not the guy to give career or leadership advice. However I thought I would share this little phrase that I learned early in my career. It has served me well over the years. Maybe you’ll find something in it too. It’s two simple words….
We all have different leadership styles or work within systems that are built on certain leadership styles. As parents or even as couples, there exists a balance of decisions and consequences. We make decisions and they have consequences. Good or bad. We do it all day, every day. As leaders, we make judgement calls. We appoint people to positions of authority that carry out our instruction. When things go well and when they go south, someone must be accountable. Someone must own it.
Owning it when things go bad is not the easiest road to walk. You have to raise your hand and say “that one is on me.” If there is a disagreement in your home, if you’re the one at fault, you have to be willing to admit it. If you’re like me, that is one of the most difficult things to do. I hate admitting that I was wrong. But if I believe in the principle of owning it, I have to admit it when I was the one to blame. I have to set aside my thoughts, and personal pride to admit that it happened on my watch. I have got to own it.
One place I find it increasingly difficult to “Own It”, is when it comes to protecting time with family. It is one of my non-negotiables. It is a hill I will die on. When I became a father, I drove a stake in the ground that I would be present. I would be an active participant in their lives. So long as I could provide, I would be there. I would be true in the little things so they could trust me with the big things. When it comes to being their dad, I make no excuses. I can’t say I have been perfect. I certainly can’t say that I’ve owned it every time.
My hope is they know I tried. I chose them. When it came to my family, I did my best to own it.
Marriage is another place that owning it can be very difficult. Our time together can be the last thing left on a very long list each day. When we’re so busy running to this meeting and that event, we can look back at the day and realize our greatest interaction was via text message. I’m guilty of this. I’m guilty of my text interaction being only logistics of what and where, when and who. This is an area that, if I’m honest, I probably don’t own it. But it’s an area that I need to. It’s one I’m willing to fight for.
I could list other examples. Our days and hours are full of opportunities to own it. Sometimes owning it will cost you. This is where you have to determine what your non-negotiables are. This is where you must know the hills you are willing to die on. It is then that you can move ahead with confidence.
Knowing that you owned it.