Take Ownership or Whine

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I have a private office at a co-working space in Denver, and every time I walk by a television there’s some type of protest on CNN. It’s frustrating for those who bust ass day in and day out to see others who have nothing better to do these days than to hold up signs, and kick and scream about how bad they (or someone else) has it. Is this where we are as a society? Does seemingly every group of people have it this bad these days? Instead of taking ownership that somewhere along the way YOU probably made a bad decision; that YOU hang out with the wrong crowds; or that YOU have played “victim” most your life blaming others for where you are (or are not)?


When we take OWNERSHIP for ALL our decisions and everything that happens to us it’s very empowering. Wake up every day knowing YOU control your destiny. Not the government. Not the President. Not your parents. Not your family. Not your friends. But YOU control your environments, the people you surround yourself with, the decisions you make, and, ultimately, the success or failures YOU have. If you don’t like where you currently are take ownership that YOU can change it.


Be very selective of the crowds you are running with because it can be easy to get caught up with the “poor me” group who won’t change until they change their mindset. And that change is unlikely to come for them. After all it’s “the mans” fault that I’m not where I am. It’s always someone else’s fault. Here’s what I know, “Misery loves company.” We become the sum total of those we hang around most. I try like crazy to hang around professionals (spend time with talent) who take ownership instead of amateurs who cause nothing but an emotional tax on those around them.


It’s human nature for us to want to be part of something.  A greater cause. To be accepted. Standing around a building and yelling obscenities does not create that change. It pegs you as a whiner. As an amateur.


To some extent, every single one of us has been dealt a bad hand in life. It’s why emotional intelligence continues to be the number one indicator for success. How aware are you of your surroundings. How aware are you of your feelings. How quickly can you bounce back from adversity. Or do you choose to roll with those who enable the actions that caused your struggle in the first place? Take ownership.


Personal Reflection:

On a personal note, I was having a drink with a friend last night, and we were talking about the “emotional state and softness” our society is currently at. It reminded me of the time I moved to Nashville when I was 24.


I was ready for something different. To start this next chapter of my young professional life. Two days after I arrived I was told the graduate assistant position that was promised (and the reason I moved) was “no longer open.” It was crushing. I was nervous. Scared. Had no money in my bank account. At that point I had one of two decisions to make. (1) To pack up the one suitcase I brought with me and go home or, (2) to stay and try to make it in this big new city I’ve learned to call Nash-Vegas.


Truth be told I had nothing to go back to so I decided to stay. That continues to be the best decision of my life. It’s amazing how one decision can change everything, and how the support group you have can impact that decision. It’s why me must get around people who call us on our bullshit. Who challenge us. Who won’t let us quit. Who won’t enable our “weak” attitudes and mindsets.


Special thanks to Chad and Lee for giving me that support in Nashville. For helping a friend in need. For helping me take OWNERSHIP of my life, and not kick and scream and blame someone else for my current situation.


Humble brag: 9 months later I was accepted in as a doctoral student despite not having a masters. The first known student in university history to have this happen. Because over those 9 months I took ownership, worked my tail off, and proved my value to the department and decision-makers.


Take ownership. Don’t be an amateur. Be a professional. And, of course, stay thirsty my friends.