Owning It (#56)

As a young boy, I vividly remember the feeling I had each inauguration day; it was a combination of excitement and nervousness. I was sure that a new President would “feel” different in some way and would mean all kinds of changes in my life. Inevitably though, life went on and, over time, this feeling subsided.

Every election cycle inevitably brings both elation and despair as some believe that the anointment of a new leader will dramatically affect the course of our lives. History has shown, however, that this sort of transformational leadership (both positive and negative) occurs very infrequently.

Many of us want to be inspired and led. While understandable, the fact is that it’s the decisions we make and the actions we take each day that will have the greatest impact on the trajectory of our lives. In this well-written article on the emotional responses to the election, author Sean Edwards writes, “The problem is the faith, the trust, and the hope we place in one individual we think can change the course of our lives.”

As Edwards alludes to, it’s dangerous for us to abdicate our happiness or belief in our ability to succeed to anyone but ourselves. Depending on the person’s perspective of the outcome, it creates either a false sense of optimism or complacency.

Believing we are in control of our destiny and that the choices we make each day matter is extremely powerful—as is personal accountability. These principals are behind our primary core value at Acceleration Partners which we refer to as “Own It.” In our culture deck, we define Own It as:

“We step up to the opportunities in front of us, bet on our own abilities and rise to the occasion.

‘Owning it’ means being proactive and taking accountability for outcomes, even when variables are beyond our control and ambiguity is present. We are confident and accountable in everything we do and are comfortable holding our teammates accountable as well.”

When you decide to “own it,” there is no longer a victim mentality or a feeling that life is just happening to you. Instead, you put yourself in the driver’s seat and eliminate the excuses and limiting beliefs that stand in the way of your definition of success or happiness.

Let’s all give up the notion that we are in the passenger seat in life and resolve to make an impact, each day, in our own way.

Quote of the Week

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

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  1. Kush January 27, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Yes! If you don’t like it, change it. If you’re not willing to commit to changing it be at peace with it and stop bitching/complaining.

    Reminds me of Conscious Business by Fred Kofrman, and his example about victims blaming the weather for being late and players planning for weather to be impacting the drive, and leaving a little early so they don’t have to be sorry about being late.

  2. Bill H. January 30, 2017 at 11:42 am


    This is a powerful concept and one we should all embrace. I read the related article and some of the comments, and all of this has me with a nagging concern that there are some things being glossed over. Not things that nullify your point, but ones that need to be considered as well.

    Each of us decides what portion of our lives will be tied to tied to the collective of society and what part is independent. If you’re a libertarian, that collective portion goes to zero as you widen the concept of collective (from family to neighborhood to town to state to nation to world). That is a robust position, minimizing the impact of “bad actors” on your personal well-being. That is also a privileged position to have.

    Not everyone is so fortunate. Many (most) people in the world find themselves as a condition of birth intrinsically connected to the collective. Actually, I would dare to say “all,” since we’re all dependent on our families for a long period of time.

    The problem comes when someone with power in a social context chooses to violate the sacred vulnerability that is inherent in any societal or collective situation. The kids who won’t stop talking loudly in the movie theatre. The person who litters your street with trash. The husband who beats or berates his wife or kids. The gang-banger who mugs you coming home from work. The terrorist who hijacks a plane and flies it into a skyscraper. The sex trafficker who kidnaps a girl and sells her into prostitution. The slave owner who whips a man in public to punish him and terrorize anyone else who thinks to follow suit. The politician who decides to use his power without regard to the laws that protect civil or human rights.

    All of these cases vary in degree sharply, yet they share something in common: violation of the social contract. Some people can organize their lives to be less affected by this violation, but others cannot. This is an uncomfortable truth to some, but it is true none the less.

    How, then, do these two truths — the one you shared and the one I am highlighting — co-exist?

    My thinking is that they co-exist by combining the power and privilege to “own it” with ownership of being a protector of the vulnerable. In the olden days, this was known as “chivalry.” With it, “owning it” is a powerful concept that propels us forward as individuals and as a collective — from families to global citizens. Without it, “owning it” is self-serving and even callously ignorant.

    I very much believe in “owning it,” and I also realize that one cannot put the whole world on his back and bear that weight. So the challenge in life becomes understanding what one can bear, and growing in that capacity over time. That balance brings a necessary humility to the concept of “owning it” that this kind of message can unintentionally lack.

    Thanks for your commitment to bring us great and thoughtful messages every Friday!

    Your friend,

    Bill H.


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