I recently read an article (on how successful people set goals and follow through) by leadership expert and New York Time best selling author, Dr Marshall Goldsmith.

In that article Dr Goldsmith speaks about ownership. He said “successful people have a high need for and reliance upon self-determination. They commit to the challenge, task, or process that needs their efforts and make a plan to meet their goals. Because of this commitment, they are far more likely to achieve success.”

I have known Dr Goldsmith for about four years now, and consider him to be one of my virtual mentors.

He is right on the money when he says that people who make things happen in the world are the people who take ownership!

When I was a Life Coach and an Executive Coach, one question that I repeatedly asked my clients was “Who is accountable for that?”

There were scenarios when a client would tell me about why they couldn’t get this done, or why they couldn’t follow through on that, or how bad a colleague/relative/spouse is.

My role was to pause them for a few seconds, ask them to take a deep breath, smile from ear to ear, and then ask them to continue with their story.

This short exercise (which took seconds to do) put them in a more productive state.

Then I would gently bring up ownership and accountability.

In other words, I would ask “Are you taking ownership of your responses, your actions, and your intentions?” That question would make them think about the role that they were playing in that given scenario.

Through my experience (in human behaviour) as a coach and mentor, I have found that there are two types of ownership:

1. Incline Ownership – This is when you take ownership of your actions, emotions, responses, reactions, and intentions in a way that will push you forward to get things done. This type of ownership is very empowering, inspiring, productive, and liberating. Let me give you an example of incline ownership. There was a client of mine (let’s just call him Bill) who was on a mission to lose 20 kg of body weight in a year. He went on a suitable diet and hired a fitness trainer. He also decided to ride his bicycle to work. He lived in a country town, and his work was about 12 km from his residence. Bill had to cycle past a bakery every day. This bakery was well regarded for their sweets and treats. When Bill used to drive to work, he didn’t have the urge to stop at the bakery. Now that he was cycling past the bakery, the appetising aroma from the bakery was too much to resist. Bill would stop at the bakery every day, and enjoy his favourite treat - a rocky road. By the way, these were massive bars of rocky roads. He would feel guilty every day after eating a rocky road. This went on for two weeks. During a coaching session, he got stuck into self blame, and said that he had to stop eating a rocky road every day. I asked him -“Who is accountable for that?” He took full ownership for his actions, and came up with a plan. He said that there was another route that he could take, that would not take him past the bakery. It was a longer route, which meant that he would have to cycle an extra 6 km each day. So, it was a win-win situation. He got more exercise and he didn’t eat a rocky road each day. Bill took ownership of his actions, made productive changes, and was working harder at achieving his goal. This is an example of incline ownership.

2. Decline Ownership – This is when you take ownership of your actions, emotions, responses, reactions, and intentions in a way that demotivates you. This type of ownership is very disempowering. Decline ownership makes you feel that you are not good enough or that you don’t have what it takes to get what you want. Let me give you an example of decline ownership. I had a client whose goal was to apply for and get a senior role that had just been vacated at her work. Let’s just call her Fiona. Fiona asked me to help her with in applying for this role. We made a list of her accomplishments in her role, and how she had helped her department meet their targets. Fiona was very excited! She went shopping for a new business suit, had a hair done, got a facial, and was ready for the interview. To Fiona, the interview went really well, and she was very hopeful. About a week and half later, she was notified that the role had been filled by an external candidate. Fiona was very down for a few days. I encouraged her to tap herself on the shoulder for meeting this challenge. I praised her for taking ownership for her actions, and giving it her best. Fiona would not accept any of that praise. She was in a state of “I tried, and I am not good enough. What’s the point of doing this again? I will just stay in my current role”. That is a sign of decline ownership – you take ownership of your actions, and go on a downward spiral. Thankfully, she agreed to start applying for external senior roles, and was able to secure a role.
Taking ownership of your actions and results is a very liberating force indeed. Just remember to take incline ownership.

Quote: “It is futile to expect others to do what you can do for yourself, take ownership of your life & regain your self respect.”

I hope I have given you a simple insight into taking ownership and making things happen.

Inspiring you towards your excellence...

Author's Bio: 

Ronny Prasad is the author of WELCOME TO YOUR LIFE - simple insights for your inspiration & empowerment (www.WelcomeToYourLifeBook.com). He is also an inspired speaker who empowers his audience with his enthusiasm and energy. His passion is inspiring and fulfilling lives, and sharing his insights with people around the world. He actively supports animal charities in many countries.