I’ve noticed the term “Own It” showing up in social media posts lately, and after some limited research decided that it is being used as a slang term for accountability. Some examples include:
- Take responsibility for what you’ve done
- Be accountable for your actions
- Take pride in what you’ve got
There are numerous ways to apply this across multiple settings, including school, sports, business or personal situations.
A United States Marine Corps Community Services site describes “owning it” as “See Something, Do Something.” Marines are noted for being action oriented, so that should come as no surprise. This context is looking for ways to assist a military family with problems.
Are you owning actions in your business and personal life in a way that makes a difference and that others notice? You might have experienced situations like the following:
- Risked supporting a project that was high profile and risky
- Accepted a promotion and quickly realized that you were in over your head
- Committed to being at your child’s school event and cancelled at the last minute
- Cancelled a family vacation because of work issues
- Asked your boss if you could interview for a position working in a different part of the organization, and after initially being told that they would not stand in your way, being called “disloyal” for not wanting to stay in your current position
- Observed a senior Naval officer telling a junior officer on the bridge of a ship to “shut up” when the junior office tried to tell him that he was making a wrong turn
The situations noted above are actual examples I have heard about from others or have experienced myself. “Owning it” means taking the positive or negative results and turning them into life lessons either for yourself or a colleague, friend, or family member.
Here’s how people handled each of the outcomes in the above noted examples:
- When the project concluded successfully, all the participants were financially rewarded and given national recognition by the company president. If it had not turned out well, they might have been demoted, as others in the organization had been before.
- The person admitted that they were not happy in the new expanded role and asked to revert to their previous role. That worked well for both the individual and the company. In other companies, that might have resulted in the person being terminated.
- The executive routinely cancelled picking up their child for school events and exhibited a similar pattern of not keeping commitments at work. The result is that they had a difficult time attracting top talent and eventually left the organization.
- After cancelling one vacation, this person promised to never do it again and kept that promise.
- After not being selected for the different position, this individual promised to not seek another one, buckled down and continued to be a positive contributor.
- The ship ran aground, and the senior officer was relieved of their duties and forced to retire at a lower rank.
I remember a Naval aviator saying that, “the worst fighter pilot in the world wakes up every day thinking that they are the best fighter pilot in the world.” That’s the attitude that produces success.
When confronted with a decision or action that could be considered risky or controversial, try to think of yourself as a football defensive back who just got beat deep for a touchdown. You can get down on yourself, and if it happens again might get benched. But the skills that you exhibited to become a starter are still there. You need to have a short memory and “get back in the game.”
Are you “owning it” in a manner that says you are “the best in the world,” or waiting to get “beat deep” again? Send me an email and let’s talk further!