Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

I observe that there are generally only two responses to any given circumstance: 

Act or React. 

We live in a world where everything is happening on-demand. Notifications, pings, alerts, likes, shares, comments, swipe, scroll, click, pick, pay…. It’s exhausting. 

I think it’s conditioning us all to react. The machine is getting better and better at acting, and “the man” seems to be growing more and more content with reacting. 

I have three young children. I love each of them immensely. Being their father is the best and most fulfilling job that I have ever had. On the contrary, it is also one of the hardest and most frustrating jobs. 

The kids are always acting and wanting me to react. Dad, tie my shoe. Wipe my ass. Make my food. Give me food. Give me water. Teach me. Show me. Remind me. I realize this is part of the natural maturation process, and I take pride in being their teacher, coach and mentor. I also realize there will be a day that I will give anything to have my kids need me again. 

With that said, I’m raising my kids to take a complete ownership mentality. Every choice. Every moment. Every circumstance. 

Take Massive Action. Not Reaction. 

I’ve seen this dynamic play out for years in business as well. It’s taken me a long time to realize and admit it, but I would condition my team to be dependent on me. I think I used to get some sort of validation from being in control. I would relish the moment where they’d need me to fly in with my superman cape and save the day.

Now, I loathe it. I loathe it because I already have three children. I also loath it because it can only mean one of two things: 

  1. I’ve failed to lead the team to take complete ownership. 
  2. I’ve failed to put the right people on the team. 

But either way I’ve failed. It’s easy to justify, kick the can, or point the finger. But remember, I believe in an ownership mentality, and if I don’t own these two outcomes, then I’m reacting instead of acting. 

The reality is people always need a guide. They always need a coach and a mentor. We have bad days, and that’s okay. We’re all human and sometimes all we need is someone to talk to. Get things off our chest and move on. 

However, there’s a fine line between needing to get unstuck and staying stuck always looking for people to act so that you can react. 

As we move forward, I am going to remain highly diligent on this principle. I’ll be committed to working through it, but ultimately I will be more resolute to let them leave than to train reactivity. 

Take Complete Ownership

When you take complete ownership of your role, your relationships and your life, something magical happens. You realize that there is always more than one path to the end destination, but you also realize that only 20% of the decisions you make even count. The other 80% are just noise. 

How about you? Do you believe in an owner’s mentality? Is everyone on your team owning their day, or are they looking for the owner to act so they can react?