Own It

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the statement “Own It”? Some may quickly think of key words such as accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain and other words. Others may think of a situation that reminds them about a time they were able to “Own It”; maybe it was a presentation and they owned it ( it being, they had a killer opening, the presentation flowed, questions were answered, the audience was engaged), maybe it was the lead in a play at a school and they performed to perfection because they owned it (it being, delivering lines, facial expressions, placement on stage, support for others), maybe it was being the leader of a key project at work and goals were achieved because the leader owned it (it being, the project, goals, milestones, actions, tasks, people). The truth is, success as a leader is all about this concept of “Owning It.”

own-itWhat is important to understand is that the key to success is understanding that what changes is the “it” part of this concept. See, no matter what the situation is, when it comes to the “own,” the concept is constant and never really changes. Why? Because of those key words mentioned before; accountability, responsibility, acknowledge, admit, have, obtain. As one becomes more aware of how to own they will build their confidence which is so crucial to be successful when the time comes to “own it”.

So how does one go about becoming good at living by this concept of “owning it”? It has been my personal experience that the following items are vital in achieving success with this concept of “owning it”:

Seek Clarity: When expectations, goals, directions are clear, we give ourselves a much greater chance of achieving success. Clarity also brings with it the ability to have confidence in what one is doing and it is this confidence that unlocks the power to “own it”.

Develop a Plan: Once there is clarity, it is now possible to develop a plan. The process of a developing a plan creates the feeling of ownership which is one of the best definitions of “owning it”. When there is a feeling of ownership, there is more commitment to achieve success. It is important that this plan is detailed and covers goals, expectations, actions, tasks, milestones as well as identifies those who you might need to work with.

Execute and Evaluate: No matter how good a plan is, nothing happens until action is taken. When it comes to “owning it” a leader must lead out by executing the plan. As actions are being taken, a leader must be able to effectively evaluate whether the plan is working or not. This evaluation can only take place if there was clarity up front so that an effective plan could be developed.

There are other areas that could be addressed but my goal is to provide more of an introduction into this important leadership concept to “own it”. As one learns how to live and lead by this concept there will be greater feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction and confidence. These are all feelings that we as humans crave on a regular bases so take control of the “it’s” in your life by saying to yourself, I will “own it”.

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Passion vs Paycheck

Given current economic conditions, it’s no surprise that many people are considering returning to college or a change in careers. AsPassion vs Paycheck some who has spent the past 13 plus years in higher education, I naturally endorse this strategy of looking to return to school or wanting to go into a career you are passionate about. The issue becomes the inability to focus on the right things to achieve ones ultimate goals, doing what they are passionate about. Here are some steps to take to help ensure you chase your Passion not just a Paycheck.

  1. The first thing to do is spend more time thinking about your interests than you do thinking about money. That sounds counter-intuitive  but returning to college or changing your job has to be about more than chasing a paycheck. It’s been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. So finding and following your passion is time well spent.
  2. If you are not sure where your passion would take you let alone what it may be, then sit down with pen and paper and make a list: things you like to do in your free time, different talents or skills that come easily to you, people whom you admire, subject areas and classes you enjoyed while growing up, topics you relish reading about and people you prefer to be around. The answers you provide to these questions will sharpen your focus. 
  3. After you have identified a career path that not only uses some of your strengths but one that also engages you in the type of activity and thinking that you most enjoy, meet and interview people currently working in that field. In some cases, they may let you shadow someone in their office. As you evaluate your options, consider both the positive and the less attractive aspects of the desired industry. For instance, if you like helping people, you might be inclined toward healthcare; but think about how you will respond to sick or sad people on a daily basis.
  4. It’s important to determine what you are willing to sacrifice in order to do what you are passionate about. So ask yourself: can I devote the time and energy necessary to be a successful?  Will I set priorities, budget my time and money and impose discipline in my life? Once you have decided what you are willing to sacrifice, time to create your plan.
  5. Don’t let any opportunity slip away where you don’t set goals for yourself. This is especially true as you are looking to make changes in your career future. Your goals should lead you down a path where you are following your passion. The longer you chase a paycheck, the less time you have to do what you really want. Money is important and needs to always be a apart of your formula for success but don’t to get caught up making it the only focus.

As you stay focused and determined, you will achieve the success you truly dream of. It will not be easy and the reality is, it shouldn’t be. You want to feel rewarded and accomplished. This can happen with greater peace, happiness and joy as you are allowing yourself to do what you feel you can do best and are most passionate about.

Now, go make something great happen!

The Stress to Impress

The Stress to Impress

 If you haven’t noticed, we live in a stressful world. No matter what your current situation might be, stress is no doubt something that influences you in some way. The world continues to try and control so much of what we do, who we are and where we go. Because of that we find ourselves trying to impress others. Maybe its your friends, family, teachers, neighbors, community, co-workers or boss.

As a leader, you cannot afford to lead with the only goal in mind of impressing. If you do, you will create unnecessary stress that can often lead to failure. I am not saying that you don’t want to impress your boss or your team but you have to understand how and why you want to impress them. The problem is that there is often a selfish type of feel that comes when one is trying to impress. Although we try hard to convince ourselves we are trying to impress the other person, at the end of the day we are really just trying to impress ourselves because we are looking for acceptance and validation.

It is important that we find ways to have others see that we are of value and that we can achieve results. This will often lead to impressing others but we need to be sure we are properly defining what our goals are. A good leader has the ability to know how to define these goals and what will happen when they achieve their goals. If your boss is impressed, what a great added benefit. If your team is impressed and it leads them to wanting to work harder to achieve their goals, nice. The key is that you are leading for the right reasons. Selfish leaders have a very short shelf life.

It is important to remember this concept of stressing to impress outside of the office as well. There is a statement I have heard many times and it goes like this, “trying to keep with the Jones’s.” The significance of this statement is saying that people often see their neighbor come home with a new boat so they go buy a boat. Then that same neighbor comes home with new snowmobiles so they go buy snowmobiles. They are not really concerned if they can afford this stuff, they are just trying to keep so they can continue to impress others. We see this phenomenon with teenagers and the pressures they endure daily at school. We see this with our family, friends almost any part of our life. What ultimately happens is that the stress of trying to impress leads to some unpleasant outcomes. I have seen this happen many times to people who I am close with. One thing I do know, it never has a happy ending.

As a leader you should not try and keep up with others just to try and impress others, including your boss. It is just too stressful to keep up and you will become very ineffective. What you need to do is be sure you continue to build your strengths and control your weaknesses, leaders that can do that are impressive in my eyes.

Learn to manage your stress to impress and you will achieve great things, inside and outside the office.

 Heroes don’t stress but often impress.