Own Your Life or It Will Own You

Have you ever felt at the end of the day you did not accomplish anything that you wanted to accomplish?  Are you dissatisfied with the way you look or feel?  Do you find yourself wishing you were able to spend more quality time with your spouse or loved one?  If you answered yes to any of those questions then you have been OWNED.  When you get “owned”, you give up your control over what you are dealing with.  Note the definition of own below:

owned = verb:  To have or possess as property.  To have control over

You may be wondering how does this happen?  It happens because you voluntarily give up control!  When you don’t take ownership of something, then you end up subject to it.  You can be owned by things, tasks, money, and even people.  When these things own you, what you do is dictated, or controlled by those things.  Let’s take a look at money for instance.  When you don’t take control of you finances by not having a financial plan, by spending more then you earn, or by purchasing mostly consumer depreciating items, and not assets, you may find that your choices are limited.  Your choice of whether you can buy a home or rent a home is impacted, your choice of the type and quality of vehicle you drive is impacted, your ability to help others is impacted.  For those who are completely owned by their finances it may affect your everyday living.  Healthcare choices, education choices, etc.

How about your time.  Your time is similar to your money in that if you don’t control the use of your time then you will be owned by the lack of time you seem to have each day.  All of us have more than enough things to do on any given day, therefore we have to be selective over the 24 hours we are all given each day.  If you don’t own your schedule the result is you are pulled in many different directions and you have what seems to be unfruitful and unproductive days.

There are many other areas that we are owned in.  Grocery shopping without a list allows your hunger feelings and grocery store marketing to own you.  The laundry and/or paperwork pile that keeps growing owns us because we haven’t taken control and placed it where we want it.  The technology that alerts us every time something happens on Social Media, every time we receive an email, or every time a phone call is received owns us because we allowed it to interrupt us at all times.

So how do you take ownership of your life, the tasks you have, the people you are in relationship with?  Here are seven habits you can begin today to take back ownership of your life.

#1 Take Full Responsibility

One of the biggest ways we give up ownership is by making excuses.  I tell my daughter, “unsuccessful people make excuses, SUCCESSFUL people MAKE IT HAPPEN!”  Whatever happens DO NOT allow yourself to make an excuse.  This robs you of the learning experience, and the opportunity to get better.  It also robs you of your self-confidence because an excuse points the cause of the result elsewhere, which means you have no influence over what happens.

#2 Be Proactive

I am a BIG planner so this is near and dear to me.  The opposite of proactive is reactive.  When you are reactive your actions are based on the actions of somebody or something else.  Can we all say “OWNED”!  Let me say that again, “when you are reactive your actions are based on the actions of somebody or something else.”  In other words you will not do anything unless prompted to.  Being proactive means you plan ahead based on the things that are most important to you and your loved ones.  Stephen Covey calls this “beginning with the end in mind.”  What is the end result of what you are trying to accomplish, and what will it take to accomplish this result?  Once you know this, allot time and resources in advance to get it done.

#3 Strive For Excellence

My high school baseball coach’s philosophy was “if you are going to do something, then you might as well do it the right way.”  I’m not sure that I really got it back then, but I do now.  If you find something worth spending your valuable time doing, then do it to the best of you ability.  That is the right way.  This creates character that doesn’t change when the stakes are high or low; it doesn’t change when there is a crowd watching or you are alone.  This habit will help you to not only own your life, but be very successful at all you do as well.

#4 Believe In Yourself

I heard a sermon in which the Pastor said the following, “our biggest challenge is the ENEMY…IN-A-ME.”  When we have confidence in ourselves the things we can accomplish increase dramatically.  If we want to own our life and not be owned, then we must believe we can take control of our time, our finances, and accomplish the things most important to us in life.  Believing in ourselves in one of the biggest killers of excuse making.  Be careful of any negative thoughts and words you speak to and about yourself.

#5 Go The Extra Mile

This is a huge character building habit as well.  When you are expected to do something, do it above expectation.  Sales professionals like to “under promise and over deliver“.  I say no matter what you promised, to yourself or someone else, over deliver.  If you are expected to be somewhere at 11:00, be there ready to begin at 10:55.  Think of how you feel when you are 15 minutes early to an event versus when you are 15 minutes late.  Your thoughts are clearer, your emotions are even keel.  You have taken ownership.

#6 Do NOT Multi-task

I heard a quote that I occasionally say to myself (and my kids) that serves as a reminder of how we should do things.  The quote is, “do what needs to be done, when it needs to be done, in the very best way it can be done, and do it that way every time!”  That quote doesn’t say do what needs to be done as well as make a phone call, watch TV, or send an email.  There are so many things going on in our lives and so many tools and people providing ways to do more things at once.  I believe we should simplify our lives and focus on the most important task at each particular moment.  Our focus and quality that we put into that task will greatly increase, which will of course help us practice #3.

#7 Honor Your Time

Many of the above habits will be rendered useless if we do not honor our time.  Another word for honor is respect.  What we give is what we receive.  So if we want our time to be respected, then we must respect it first.  When we respect our time, then others will.  Many people trying to take ownership of their life have not accomplished this because of the lack of respect for their own time.  When you proactively decide to do something, then it must be done.  If you are going to the gym everyday at 6am, then by all means be there (and be there early!).  If your personal spending plan allows you to spend $20 per week eating out, then do not spend $21.  There will be times when things come up that will require adjustments, but I believe there are somethings that have to be non-negotiable.  At a minimum determine your non-negotiable tasks and honor them.  This is so very important, yet so detrimental when disregarded, but you can do it.

It is time for you to take ownership of all aspects of your life.  I encourage you to begin practicing these habits today.  You will enjoy the freedom and joy that comes when you own your life.

Question: Do you have examples in your life where you have been successful because you took ownership?

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