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Stop whining – take ownership

I teach my kids about winners and whiners; that winners:

  1. are in charge of their own lives
  2. don’t blame others or God
  3. take responsibility for making good choices, having a good attitude and for good behavior

are you a whiner?At 10 years old or at 30, at home or at work, it’s all the same — we only thrive when we take ownership of everything in our life. In each moment we are interpreting events around us with the opportunity to take the high road of responsibility (and leadership) by stepping up to bat, or the low road of avoidance.

Sometimes these events are mighty transgressions: “I admit, the train wreck was my fault!”  But these big events are few and far between. More interesting are the tiny, constant, momentary decisions that sum to become our careers and lives. At the end of the game, we are clearly either leaders making things happen or whiners, the pawns of events and circumstances.

At the most basic level, this is what it means to take ownership – if I ask you for something as your boss, I want you to:

  • write it down and remember it
  • understand what it is I’m asking – not just the details, but the big picture as well
  • execute – act like you’re the boss of this item and get something done
  • track and communicate your progress or lack of it if you can’t finish immediately (without waiting for me to ask)
  • get feedback

blaming others for mistakesWhat stops an otherwise talented person from taking ownership? Blame! Imagine this – you work all night long on a presentation, or perhaps weeks brokering a difficult agreement, only to have your ‘moment of victory’ viciously stolen when your foul-mouthed manager shoots down your idea.

Your reaction might include elements like:

  • That manager always wastes my time by letting me go down the wrong track, just so he can tear me apart at the end!
  • He’s attacking me personally!
  • His criticism is so rude!
  • I’m a competent, driven person, but he is negating and demotivating me!
  • He’s wrong!

blaming the companyNote that in each of these responses we have placed the cause of suffering outside of ourselves; i.e., we have placed the blame on someone else. But there is another option – we could take responsibility for each of these things with responses like these:

  • It was silly to get so far into this project without periodically checking with the stakeholders to see if I was on the right track!
  • I’m under attack and defenseless, how did I get myself into this poor position?
  • Why am I taking his criticism so personally?
  • What fundamental difference is making him think something so different from me, and who’s right?

In reviewing the two paths of response, blame or responsibility, note the following differences:

  1. Blame subverts the process of our own improvement.  As soon as we blame, we remove the need for ourselves to change; we place the requirement for work and improvement on the shoulders of someone else.
  2. Blame makes us victims of our environment, rather than masters of the universe.

the impossible projectStrength has nothing to do with doing things that are easy – real strength is being strong when you feel weak. Strength separates the wheat from the chaff. Like shooting free throws, getting better and better gets harder and harder. The 1% improvement is easy when you are young and foolish, and takes increasing concentration the better you get.

Blame is easy to recognize when obvious as in: “You moron! I can’t believe you did that! This is all your fault!”

It’s less obvious here: “I was late because Joe couldn’t finish on time.”  The path of responsibility: “I failed to plan well with my team.”

It’s even harder to see here: “I was late because the plane was delayed.” But, we can always take earlier flights, so try: “I need to allow a little more slack in my travel schedule.”

Instead of saying,  “Yupi hasn’t sent us the contract yet,” let’s try this: “We haven’t received the contract from Yupi yet.” See how the burden subtly changes between Yupi, (“those irresponsible jerks, when will they send it?”), to us… why are we failing to receive it, and what can we do to change that?

This is subtle: “I didn’t have enough time.” Here, we are actually blaming the universe for being herself, for creating a dimension of time that is not to our satisfaction. What a childish tantrum: it’s like blaming water for being liquid! Try this instead: “I didn’t schedule my time well enough to finish.”

An extremely subtle and advanced lesson – look within. Maybe you’ve heard the saying “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.”  Often when accusing or blaming someone, we find we are talking about something we were actually committing ourselves. This law is as mysterious as the relationship between matter and gravity, but a guarantee: the closer you look, the more it turns out to be true. Heard long ago in our office:

“Apologies for the emotional outburst. … I also realized that it was a bit hypocritical to personally attack you for personally attacking others.”

When you begin to see that you control everything, you will begin to see that you control everything.

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  • This lesson really embodies what it means to integrate who you are into the work that you are doing, no matter if you are working in the field you want to or not. With the most basic levels of taking ownership mentioned from this article, you can hopefully value what you are doing. My most recent job is a great example. It is a job that I haven’t really done before, but I looked at the bigger picture in how it fits with what I want to do and how I can integrate my past experiences to improve where I work and the position, I did my research of my department, I took notes of everything my bosses have mentioned, executed what I could, and organized my work so the whoever gets my job next knows what’s been done. I enjoyed every minute of doing this because i felt connected to the work even though I haven’t done it before. Because I invested so much time and effort into my work, my bosses have already noticed within 6 months of my time working there. They already acknowledged hopes of giving me a raise and other departments have already encouraged me to apply for higher level positions. So, I know first had that if you take ownership even on those basic levels, you will hopefully enjoy your work more, people notice, and will open new opportunities for you!

  • I truly believe that one reaps what one sows. I do not believe in the blame game. I think that the need to blame will get no one anywhere. One needs to take ownership for his or her actions and move on to fix the problem effectively, if there is one. 
    In the restaurant business we often encounter unhappy customers, in which we need to strive to make happy. On one such occasion, a customer had approached me, the manager on duty, with a complaint about her waitress and the service she had been receiving. The customer was disgruntled because she disliked her dish and the waitress would not refund the entree. The waitress claimed it was not her problem because she only brought out the dish that the customer had ordered, and that it was the customer’s fault for ordering a dish she would dislike. Obviously the customer did not know she would dislike the dish as she wanted to try something new. The waitress feared that the cost of the dish would come out of her own pocket, and did not feel that disliking a dish was a legitimate reason to refund the cost. As a restaurant manager, I am inclined to ensure happy customers and a positive working environment for all employees. I apologized to the customer for the dish, and asked if there was another dish that could be prepared for her. We had the kitchen whip up the new dish, and provided the customer with a complimentary dessert for her poor experience with the waitress. Despite the discounted dessert, the customer was so happy with this special treatment ensuring her happiness that she left a larger tip than expected for the waitress. The waitress then realized that it did not benefit her to waste time blaming, but it is in everyone’s best interest to take care of the matter effectively. 

  • It is important for one to take responsibility for their own actions or that of their team whom they are working with. This is important in the work field because when one takes the blame they are also stepping up in a sense. The team and/or co-workers will learn to rely on the teammate who stepped up and took blame. This will also help build trust for the one who confesses. The boss/manager will also gain respect because he/she will now know they can rely on the person who confesses and admits their wrongdoings. All in all there is much more to gain then lose when taking the blame.

  • Jman006
    Through my experiences in life, nothing is going to be handed to someone in a silver patter, therefore it is of the outermost importance to strive and work hard to get what you want.

  • Taking charge of one’s life is critical. Whether its owning up to a mistake, or changing something undesirable. The only person who can change your life is  you. Sure it sounds cheesier than fondue, but when it comes down to it, the only way to change your life for the better is to step up and do it. 

  • Taking ownership is super important.  I hear so many people making excuses or whining about why something didn’t work in their favor.  Most overlook the real reason and refuse to accept any responsibility for their own actions.  If something such as a job promotion, didn’t happen for you, it seems that the first step would be to examine the process and the role you played in making yourself a serious candidate.  Secondly, don’t be afraid to be objective about the things you could have done better without beating yourself up needlessly.  A more constructive approach on what needs improvement and asking concise questions with your interviewer just may be what makes the difference with the next opportunity for advancement.

  • It is extremely important to ownership. One should understand the responsibilities that he/she has been given at the job. If one of those responsibilities is not achieved there is only one person that can take the blame, yourself. Whining doesn’t make the situation any better. You are the only person that can make your life better. Don’t blame others for your mistakes. Take the blame, it will make you a better person by putting an effort to fix whatever you weren’t able to achieve. 

  • We are responsible for everything that happens to us in our lives. It irritates me when others say things like”‘My parents never encouraged me in school. I could have been a doctor or a lawyer”. They should accept the fact that that was the hand they were dealt and make choices to encourage themselves to make the necessary changes to improve their education. When I was 15 my Father remarried and moved out leaving me in a house with no parental guidance. Not surprisingly I made the wrong choices and found myself out of school along with my pregnant girlfriend. I thought I knew it all till I when on a job hunt only to discover that no one wanted to hire a know it all who knows nothing. That was fourteen years ago. since then I have been on a journey of self discovery and mess cleaning. I managed to teach myself how to create websites with good search engine placement. I now do online advertising for several companies and generate money to support myself. I repair broken electronics from home. And I also have a contractors license that I do on the side. I accepted responsibility for my mistakes and made a choice to be self employed. I looked for and created opportunities that would enable me to achieve this. Now I want to learn more in my field of study in order to refine the skills I have developed up to this point
     

  • “At the end of the game, we are clearly either leaders making things happen or whiners, the pawns of events and circumstances. “To be a leader clearly entails coming into terms with your environment. Your environment doesn’t determine how you will react or what you will be.

    Rather your environment is shaped by you. If you are constantly, on the defensive, blaming others for your mistakes, you will never feel the urge to change yourself. And although you might be the one causing the problem, you will never realize it until you stop blaming others.

    We push our problems to the outside, where they cannot be solved. If instead we come to think positively and say “well If I take charge of the situation then maybe I can shape my environment so that it’s more of my liking”, then we will be able to take ownership of the situation and shape it
    so that it does not hurt us twice.

    To think that the world revolves around us, is to think that we are the only ones in the universe. This is why taking things personally isn’t a way to thrive. Because when we think that everything that goes wrong is due to people trying to harm us , we block ourselves from taking control of the situation.

    We have to take ownership, think positively, and look for ways to better our situation. Others will not do it because they are only perceivers and therefore you should not wait for them to change in order for you to feel and live better.

  • Claiming responsibility or taking ownership of one’s actions is vital to being apart of any business or organization. If people did not step up and accept ownership over what they have or have not done whether it be positive or negative, the work place would spend more time on a game of “Clue” searching to find who did what. Instead, taking ownership of one’s actions allows the company to address the problem, give a solution, and move on. Whether it be your fault or not that something bad has happened in the work place, step up and take ownership. By doing so it allows the bus to roll on. 

  • I too work in the restaurant industry where there is always happy to put blame on you and vice versa. I’ve tended the bar in the restaurant in which I work at for the past six and a half years and I have to admit that the work ethic has been going down hill year after year, often times, the waiting as well as the kitchen staff (I’m including myself in this) have complained that it all starts with how poorly managed the place is.

    What some of these people that are complaining don’t mention is how them being on their cell phones texting half of their shift affects their productivity. Instead of blaming management or the kitchen or the customers for their mistakes or bad day at work, put your cell phones away and focus on your task at hand.

    It’s easy to blame me for not having their drinks out with 30 seconds of them ringing them in, but how about of standing their phone in hand clean up the place a bit, pick up some plates or walk other’s people’s food that’s been in the window not getting walked because “it is not your tables”.

    Taking control over situations and claiming responsibility are something that are often missing in these types of work environment, we all have to change that.

  • Taking ownership of one’s life is essential to accomplish the most basic goals. Whining takes away the energy that should have been destined to act to correct the fault or to cover for the lack…. I believe the more self-awareness the more power to control the outcome.

  • Everything in life happens for a reason, if you are late to an important meeting it is better to take responsibility for your action; the fact that you did not plan your time or future events well. If something unfortunate happens in an important event, I always try to plan ahead in case of anything, usually about an hour or 45 minutes. I would rather take responsibility for anything I failed to do because of me than blame others and let them get in trouble. Anything else is no excuse for your lack of planning ahead. To always have a positive attitude and always being responsible is the key to a bright future.

    • Everything does happen for a reason, and we are in control of those reasons. I think it is a cop-out when people say that things just happen. We are in control of our own lives. In addition, if your are not, you can not possible “own” your successes.

  • I lke this simple advice on why a person taking ownership. Blaming is a cause preventing people from taking ownership. However, blaming always make people more favorable because it release them from guilty and responsibility. I am interested on the way the author describing the most basic level of taking ownership, it is a base to further with popular models such as plan-do-check-action or define-measure-analyze-improve-control. A question relating to me is how to get my people, from family to business, familiar with this way of thinking? My learning requires to get started from myself first, be sympathetic with everyone by taking control from the smallest thing in life, being serious in correcting failure, don’t mention about blame and be active to take responsibility with society. It is a good lesson to remind me being on track with my goal!       

  • The subject of “Blame” is very significant to me.  I learned this valuable lesson while on a temporary assignment and am continuing to learn from it as it applies to many different situations.  Placing blame can be very subtle as blame has many disguises.  It can seem like giving support to a co-worker or friend by agreeing with their situation or the reason for their frustration.  The lesson that I learned is that blame has more to do with the person offering it as a reason or excuse than with the person upon whom it is placed.  In my own case, I learned that blame was a reason for me not to accept responsibility for my actions and mistakes.  It was a cover up for my own fear of being less than perfect.   In every instance where I placed blame, I found I was doing it to take focus from me and on something or someone else.  It was a way out for me.  It was a way for me to look good in someone else’s eyes.  It was my mask.  Blame allowed me to stay in a rut and not to grow or evolve.   As I learned these things, it was then up to me to change my behavior and take responsibility.   When I began taking responsibility and not playing into the blame game and not allowing myself to be “caught up” in someone else’s drama, I found a new respect for myself.   When it came to blame, I examined myself to see where I needed to change.  What I found was that when I did this, there was no blame to place.  I found that there were things I could do so that blame disappeared.   I examined my motives and acted accordingly.  What I gained was respect and found that others were more willing to trust me with more responsibility.  I also found that I treated others differently and became an asset to my job and a positive contributor to my team of co-workers.  The “blame game” is one of the most important hindrances to any career.  It is toxic to any relationship whether personal or professional.  However in the professional arena, this game can be a killer.
     

  • I manage a T-mobile store. tardiness is something that no one wants to take responsibility for. I have heard all the excuses, from the dog dying to the tire blowing out, to the traffic-jam. At the end of the day we dont want to hear these excuses, we want an individual to take ownership of the problem and proceed in the proper direction to fix it. Responsibility, ownership, respect… these are all part of the growing-up process of an individual. In order for us as young men and women to be successful we must first grow as adults. As adults you take responsibilty for your actions and take ownership for completing the tasks that you are assigned, no matter where they are assigned; be it work, school or any kind of community project you commit to. From this text you take away the difference between winners and whiners,respect. Winners have respect for themselves and for the way they do things. It is an attitude that breeds success. As a winner you take pride in producing results and not excuses. There is a large part of society that takes solace in making excuses and blaming others for mistakes they could have fixed themselves. Winners take responsibilty for the outcome of their work no matter whether it is a positive or negative outcome. At the end of the day it is this path that will get you the respect of your peers and will lead to ultimate success in today’s ever-changing business world.

  • I remember when I received my first job at a school district. My supervisor would alway tell us to take ownership for our actions. If something had arised and we wanted to explain the situation the only comment that came out of his mouth was “Don’t Defend.” Eventually we learned to just except it and to this day when a problem arises I don’t consider defending.

  • I
    am an Armenian. My people have an infamous history of suffering several
    atrocities; including the horrific consequences of the Armenian Genocide.
     Stories passed down from my great grandparents and reiterated to me by my
    parents and grandparents, have molded my moral compass.  By the time I was
    about 15 years old, I realized that I had something taken away from me, and I
    wanted it back. Moreover, I was ready to do anything to get it back. What was
    taken from me you may ask?   The simple answer to that, which in essence
    is not simple at all, is part of my identity. I felt a part of me was missing
    and I felt that my life was incomplete without it.  I joined the Armenian
    Youth Federation, which is an organization that mobilizes community youth to
    stand against injustice throughout the world. The AYF is the leading political
    youth organization in Los Angeles where over half a million Armenians reside.
    Here I was a 16 year old trying to discover my identity, amongst a 75 year old
    organization, in hopes of making a difference in the world.

  • Taking responsibility for your own actions is one of the most important thing that can be learned in life. On every job I have ever worked at, the most important part is the character that the person has. When people try to shunt the blame onto someone else, it first looks bad and reflects a poor image on them. While most people i have worked with don’t realize how much the managers are actually watching them. I work at a job during the summer in which i have to get rehired each summer, and even with budget cuts in the company, the people who took other peoples blame and owned the faults they have are the ones still with jobs and working, not the people who tried to displace the blame off of themselves. Especially with the economy now, businesses cant afford to keep workers who aren’t taking responsibility and not performing at 110%.

  • This principal is extremely important in every professional relationship.  If I communicate blame for a mistake to my manager, or my customer, I’m essentially telling them I think I’m above them.  It devalues my customer, and challenges my manager’s authority.

    However, when I do take ownership of a task from the beginning, it results in some really great fruit.  There’s nothing more satisfying then my manager asking me to do something I already took care of, or following up with a customer on a problem I said I’d handle and hearing their satisfaction and gratitude.

    I had an experience with this when I had a customer at the financial institution I work for come to me with a problem they had with their debit card.  It wasn’t allowing transactions, and even though I’d worked with similar problems before, I couldn’t seem to find what was going wrong.  Not wanting the customer to wait, I offered to take their number and call once the problem was solved because I anticipated it could take a short while.  They appreciated that they didn’t have to stay and wait, and said a phone call would work just fine.

    I brought in a couple other people who knew more about debit cards than me, but continued to follow the problem with them until we found a setting I hadn’t known of before that fixed the problem.  I called the customer and let them know that we’d found the problem, and their card was set to go.  They were very grateful for the help, and it established a good rapport between the customer and I that continues to this day.

  • I have been self-employed for most of my work experience, and just love it. Talk about accountability and responsibility, I had to have it so I could succeed in this type of career or business. Self-motivation is also the key when someone is self-employed in order to make money and support your family, especially since I was a single mommy for the past twenty years.

    Blame in self-employment is no good because you were only accountable to yourself since you are the boss. I could only blame myself if I didn’t make any money. I chose this type of employment so there was no one else to blame but me. If I didn’t like it, then I needed to decide on doing something else. However, I like being mine own boss for it has helped me considerably to learn accountability and responsibility for me and my children.

    For years I have led by example to my children not to put the blame on someone else, but to hold themselves accountable and responsible for their wrong choices they make in life. My children have learned at a very young age that if things go wrong most of the time it will be their own fault. They acknowledge full well that at times there will be malicious people trying to put the blame on them or others. However, if that occurs they know to ignore those individuals as much as possible unless legal action needs to be taken to stop them from wrongfully or falsely accusing them.

  • I have been self-employed for most of my work experience, and I just love it. With this type of employment there is nothing but accountability and responsibility to face in my business dealings since I am mine own boss. There is no one else to put the blame on for if I make or do not make money it is my problem. Self-motivation, and taking ownership is what good business is all about. I like taking ownership in mine own business because it teaches me to hold myself accountable and responsible for the decisions I make. In addition, I can also have pride in my business because I know that my hardwork and dedication assisted in my success.

    I am thankful to God because he has helped me to stop whining and having self-pity if things go wrong. I have learned through trial and error to put my trust in Him, and to quit worrying about what others do or say to wrongly or falsely accuse me for the truth always prevails. What I need to focus on is what I am going to do for the betterment of my family, country, and my life. There is no time to waste on trivial battles such as who did what or who didn’t do what they were supposed to do because at the end it is the dedicated hardworkers who get it done.

    It is by my example in words and actions that have led my children at a very young age to learn about accountabiliy and responsibility, and not to blame and whine but to take ownership of their lives because ultimately we all have to answer to God, and ourselves at the end of all that is said and done.

  •  As a retail sales manager for the last three years, this really caught my eye. I have worked with ages ranging from 18-50 years old. As a twenty-four year old, I was extremely happy to be promoted to a store manager in a high paced store. I agree with all of the twenty items listed, however taking ownership is by far the best. In a work force, taking ownership is a must with your employees, boss and customers. When you are taking ownership of a situation, you develop a relationship of trust amongst your peers and customers. Happy customers is what keeps a company running, so being able to take ownership and developing trust, will get you far in a career.

    • You gave a good example in a retail environment. Taking ownership eases people to solve problems with clear direction. A team who owns the same thought on “ownership” is what managers should develop for their career success.

  • Blame is the acceptance of responsibility from an individual for a mistake
    or fault. Sure no one is perfect, so everyone is entitled a mistake. One once
    has realized the mistake one must take responsibility to be a leader in the
    workplace, in sports, and a home.

    Passing blame on another for your mistakes show weak
    character. Taking blame and showing others gratitude for understanding represents
    the model of a person with great character. Being supportive of others who take
    blame also comforts the person at fault, creating a better society.   

  • Teaching our children the importance of taking responsibility is vital in our society. The best way to teach them is to lead by example. I am a mother of six children, the teaching is never ending, and I have strived to show them the benefits of taking resposibility for your part in verything. There is one instance that comes to mind that ensures me that I am on the right track. I managed a store, and my GM had given me a list of things to accomplish. I had deligated these tasks amongst all of the imployees, including myself. I would ask my staff to make off these task as they accomplished them. Once the deadline came up, my GM came to check the outcomes. To my surprise, one of my employees had not done one of his tasks but marked it off. When I was confronted by my boss. The only reply I could come up with was, “I am sorry. I failed to follow through and verify that they did what was asked.” Instead of pushing the blame off on the employee that did not do the assigned task. My son was at the store at that time and overheard what was going on. He had later asked by I did not tell her that it was not me that that did not do it. I tolt him “It would have been very easy to say ” Well, He was supposed to do it.” But being honest enough to take responsibility for your own actions in everything you have a part help build respectable charactor and by accepting your part in a situation you show maturity, respect, and responsibility.” He seemed to understand what I was trying to tell him and at that moment, I knew I was doing my job as his mother, just by allowing him to witness me doing my job.

  • This discussion completely grasp my attention. Taking ownership of your responsibility is a tough task, but a task that makes your life true and admiralbe. As my adolescence mind turned it mature seasoned one, the importance of taking ownership of my actions and their consequences and repercussions evolved with my maturity. The true nature of ownership of ones actions really set in when my employment entitled me with the responsibility of other’s actions. The actions of my subordinates and completion of their assigned task directly reflects my ability to take control of not only my responsibility but of others.

  • Life alters in seconds and often times unexpected…This is my experience when dealing with self and the blame game. I went from being a stay-at-home mom with six children to being a single unemployed woman within 24 hours. My X husband sexually abused my children and left me to run away with my 6 children to a shelter. I was able to find a job immediately. However, the emptional toll still was high. I went through how could he do this to us, he this or he that. Until I realized this was partially my fault as well. I allowed him to have so much control that it left me isolated, broke, and helpless. I understand where it says “Strength is being strong when you feel weak.” I live this saying every single day. He has since been found guilty. I went back to school. I now have control of my life. We are doing well. I want to show my children that life throws curve balls and whatever else; but determination still keeps you moving. I AM DETERMINED!!!

  • my high school basketball coach always told us to own up to are mistakes. if a guy got passed us it was are fault not because the floor was dusty, or we got hit by a screen. it was because we didn’t want it bad enough. we blamed it on something else so that we could feel better and act as if it was nothing so we would never get better but as the year went on. we realized that taking ownership made us better players and made us work harder so that we could make a mistake and wouldn’t have to own up them mistakes. we would just to it right and get it done. at the end of the year we were 17-6 and everyone had cam away a better person for it.

  • This is a lesson I have always tried to teach my children.  Today there is a sense of entitilement , where it comes from I have no clue, Hollywood, the Music Industry, reality tv.  Everyone today wants the power, fame and money but wants it for free and they honestly believe that is how it works.  Take ownership of your work and yourself, you can only control your actions, make them count and make them right!  Know what you are doing and why you are doing it, make the right decision and follow up with the right course of action.  You should be able to stnad by your work, your decisions and defend them because they are what you believe to be true!

  • As a child I was taught to be accountable for my actions no
    matter if they were good or bad, honesty is the best policy. Know that I have
    three children of my own I am teaching them they same thing. Unfortunately not
    ever one is like this. I worked in a call enter cell phone company for many
    years and would everyday get a call from an unhappy customer how was either
    lied to or not told the full truth. Not only did this make the customer unhappy
    it made the company look bad. I took pride in my job and loved helping my customer
    the best I could and always not matter what I told the truth and made sure they
    fully understood everything before they got off the phone with me.  I worked in collect cutting peoples phone off
    for past due bills so many of my calls were not one customer wanted to get but
    many times I had customer thanking me at the end of calls because I was honest
    and did not sugar coat things for them. I remember one time I had a customer
    who had fall on hard times and I was set to call them get a payment or cut them
    off. When the person answered they were very unpleasant but I claim them down
    and explain that at the end of the call without payment I would have to
    disconnect their line because they were two full bill behind but I told them if
    they were able to in the day to make at least the further past due balance payment
    I would reconnect them and allow the time to pay the other past due. Well they
    said whatever but they were sure that I would not do as I said because they had
    been lied to before by “us” and the call ended. I watch their account and they
    did go pay the part of the bill I had asked so I as promised reconnected their
    phone and called them on it to let them know. 
    They were amazed that I did what I said I would and they promised to pay
    the other on a set date to avoid another disconnect for which they did also. This
    customer was so happy and thankful that I stood by my word and did what I said
    that they had renewed faith in our company.

  • For 15 years I worked in a industry I love, Restaurants. In the last 2 years the industry changed. The 65 hour work weeks started to wear me down. I love food and the way people look when they try something new. It is the reason I became a chef. Sad to say the economy hit the restaurant industry very hard. The restuarant that I put my lifes work into, I had to sell. I have alway been very good with numbers. Infact, a chefs job is 85 percent numbers. So I started teaching myself the stock market. I loved it so much because I was good at it. I was up 200% my first year. I had decided to get a job in that career field, so I could get a sponsor to take my series testing. Well, no one would hire me, they said what do I know about investments. I enrolled in school to get my degree in finance. The next day, I went on another interview and I told them. This is what chefs know: we understand cost and P&L breakdowns, we are specialists when it comes to projects and masters at labor budgets. I continue to tell interviewer, I believe in my skills so much I am going back to school. So I can join your company or I can go somewhere else, either way I am getting in this industry.
    I got the job and I currently studing for the Series testing to be a Financial Advisor.

  • My son constantly is blaming others for his mistakes, whether it is at school or on the field.  We have constantly told him he will be in less trouble and look better if he just takes responsibility.  I learned when I was in the police academy all about taking ownership, whether it was my fault or not.  My peers wouldn’t listen to me on a task.  When the sergeant came out and saw what we were doing, He began to yell at me.  Instead of blaming my peers I just took responsibility and took the punishment. 

  • At work, when I was transferred for a different job task,  the first time was hard because I didn’t really get a enough training to learn the job and it was a short notice so basically, I have to learn on my own, I remember I was whining because of the pressure of doing  two to three things at the same time and so, it came to point that I realize that I need to take ownership so I tried to learn the workflow and identify the bottleneck  (the system wasn’t automate most of the job were done manually), so what I did, I learn through self-study how to program using MSAccess and to make the story short, I implemented the programs I did, and now, I’m proud to say that we reduced the overtime expenses and over-all as a  team effort we increased efficiency at the sametime.

  • I was in a position that I had just taken over from another manager. I had worked my way up through the ranks, and had been in the industry for 14 years at this time. He had royally messed up a very large account, and by the time it was realized the account was in jeopardy. I was told “at no cost save it”. I worked on saving this account for two weeks, and had made large headways, but then I received a cancellation of service order.

    I was getting the finger pointed at me for the cancellation even though I had only been associated with it for two weeks, and this was not going over with me very well. I had the experience and know how to fix it I just did not have the time. I was complaining about this being on my record, and I was told “we all have things on our records; it’s how we choose to learn from it and move
    forward.

    We each have sacrificed, and fallen on swords that have not belonged to us.” It was at that time I realized that when something is turned over to you to fix, repair, save, or you take ownership in it then at that point it is yours.

  • Stop whining-take ownership: I used to be a whiner. I had 2 children by the time  was 19. I didn’t go to college because I didn’t think it was in the cards for me since I had children so young. I whined about it to anyone who said I needed to go to college. Finally when my kids were about to hit their teenage years my daughter said to me that she didn’t want to go to college. When I asked her why she said that Mommy and Daddy didn’t go. To learna lesson from a ten year old is tough. I realized that I was not teaching my children how important their education is. I enrolled in an associates degree nursing program about three months later and now they are 19 and 21 and I’m back in school again getting my BSN. They are extremely proud of me and are both going to college. Stop whining about your life and take charge of it!

  • I enjoy reading this lesson especially because it reminds me of my co-worker.  I am part of a paint team with immediate members of my supervisor and co-worker.  My co-worker comes up with excuses for everything to cover up is professional incompetence.  Every day my co-worker blames traffic when he is two hours late for work when there is no traffic, pushes the blame on others
    that he did not have the opportunity to work if they were occupying space for a short amount of time. 

    He will also use the weather to get out of work just so he can talk or text on his phone all day.  Of course everyone else is able to get the job done and if there is an issue we do not whine about it but try to figure out an alternative plan. 

    Every day I am reminded of the differences in being personally responsible and how it gives me a better appreciation for it.

  • Your example is typical for a thought about individual responsibility. I recall activities of some my learning team when I further my education. In a team assignment, each member receive his or her part  to complete. Surely, some parts connect with each others and if the first one not coming yet then the later one may have to wait. Excuses of late posting come very often because of the first one not yet arrive. Assuming you take ownership in your learning, I think we should be comprehensive the whole assignment. Taking ownership in a learning team is you should be ready for alternatives to complete the assignment in due time and not blaming you could not post your part because of other reasons.

  • Most offices have a water cooler or someplace where people
    conjugate to take a little break from work. 
    This article put into realization just how often talk is often
    “whining.”  We tend to share mainly
    negative things about work because sharing positive successes would be boasting
    and most of us don’t want to be “that guy,” or maybe we just like to
    whine.  With this negativity does come a
    lessened mood and possibly work ethic as you go back to your desk and think
    over what was said at the water cooler how something isn’t fair in the company
    and it isn’t fair for you either.  It
    decreases workplace productivity.  This
    is a little different than what the author was talking about with taking
    ownership rather than whining, but in effect, stopping whining would also have
    other positive outcomes. 

  • I believe that there comes a time in people’s life that they have to take responsibility for themselves. It should have started at a very young age but in case it didn’t, it needs to start today, right now!

  • I really enjoyed this lesson! About six years ago, I started working at a large hotel as the assistant to the HR director. At that point in my life, several of my main catchphrases were: “I didn’t know”, “You didn’t tell me”, and “It’s not my fault if [insert someone else’s name and failure to do something]”. Fortunately, I began learning the joys of accountability!

    My boss at that time, Sarah, taught me so many things in the course of my employment at that hotel, but the thing that has had the most lasting and positive effect on me has been her insistance that I own my work–both my successes and my not-quite-successes. (I use the term “not-quite-successes” because I am not a fan of the word “failure”. Read on to find out why.)

    Once I started owning my work–all of it–I realized how good it felt! Not only did my successes begin to feel more rewarding, my failures became learning experiences and, because I was able to turn them into positive things by owning them and learning from them, they were no longer failures! All of a sudden, I had a new attitude. I carry that attitude to this day and try to pass on this lesson to people I meet who are looking to be better at something, whether it is a job, school, sports, or some other challenge.

  • The line, “Strength has nothing to do with doing things that is being strong when you feel weak” is particulary striking. I have worked in the retail, front desk, and call center environment, and I am a mother of two small children.  Early on I had a painful lesson on ownership.  I was in my training period as a front desk clerk at a small inn.  I started my shift in the morning, and discovered that the person the night before had not charged a no show as it was the companies policy.  When asked about the issue, I advised the owners of the oversight and took full responsibility.  Unfortunately, I had lost my job, but it did not waiver my integrity.  I had felt strongly that I had closed my shift as policy had mandated.  That experience could have altered my perception, but it did not.  It just reaffirmed my dedication to taking ownership.  It is now my job to teach my children good values regardless of the outcome.  

  • There is no better advice than what we see here, in this lesson. It does not matter if we are talking about at work, at home, or just in every day life. Taking ownership of ones responsibilities and mistakes can lead to having a better relationship with everyone around you, whether it is a boss, a family member, or even yourself.

    In the workplace, mistakes happen on a daily basis. The mistakes that are handled swiftly and smoothly are the ones that people take responsibility for. For instance, while working as a gate attendant at a town pond over last summer, it came to everybodys’ attention that there were a few receipts missing. When the boss asked who was responsible, all three of the gate attendants, including myself were quick to deny any involvement. The issue dragged on for about a week until one of the other attendants realized what had happened and stepped forward to admit their mistake. Once she had taken ownership of the misunderstanding, the issue blew over in two days, and it was easy to move on from.

    My father has always lectured me on the importance of owning up to mistakes and responsibilities. He always tells me how it takes an adult to own up and take responsibility for things such as mistakes or tasks. Once you finally accept your responsibility, things will come easier and feel better he always says. This article and my father could not be more correct. When I get in trouble for not completing a chore or leaving something where it isn’t supposed to be, it is always smoothed over much faster when ownership is taken of the mistake. If i don’t mow the lawn in time, it is always easier to just apologize and then go outside and mow rather than to try to make excuses.

    This article could not hit the nail on the head any more directly. Taking ownership is crucial in the workplace, at home, at school, or anywhere else for that matter. The sooner people learn that taking ownership is part of everyday life, the sooner they can progress throuhg life and become a better worker, friend, student, family member and person. Thank you very much for this important life lesson.

  • I have been working retail jobs for almost three years now, and it has taught me that you are accountable for your actions. If your doing the job your supposed to be doing and hired for then there are no problems. People need to take account their actions and personal gains and failures. They have to make sure what they are doing is align with everyone else goals or parts of that project.  

  • This is so true, I am a manager in my company and Im always trying to find ways to become better, I wonder sometimes what am I doing wrong, why cant I empower my employees more, motivate and get them to stop whining, take responsibility and thrive.
    This was very enlightening and enjoyable to read. I am going to incorporate some of its lessons and I printed it out.

  • This is very true, I started working at a retail store as a supervisor. I was happy with my position and I loved working at the store, not just the environment, but with the people as well. There was 2 supervisors (one of them me), 2 assistant managers, and 1 store manager. Only one of the AM had been working there longer than 1 year and during that time, there was a high turnover with the second AM position. Knowing this our district manager decided that instead of hiring a completely new employee, he would promote one of the supervisors. Before I had started working, the other supervisor had been considered before for the AM position but was never promoted. In the end, I was promoted. The other supervisor was so upset for being passed over 3 times, she blamed everyone for not being promoted and quit the very next day. She never showed up again. Instead of figuring out what she was doing and/or considering what she could do differently to get promoted, she all together quit and gave up. Definitely, own up to your mistakes and learn from them.

  • This is one that everyone should know and DO. It is so easy to always blame others for things and take the responsibility off of yourself, but when we do that, what do we really learn? We learn how to get ahead by putting the blame on others. We are so quick to own up to our successes and pat ourselves on the back. I started to feel that conviction after awhile, and it did not feel good. I did not want to be one of those people who skated through life and work on others skirt tails and by misplacing blame. We are expected to make mistakes in life, that is how we learn and grow. I am quick to take the blame now and own up to my mistakes and I have to say that I can sleep better at night. I know that everything I have I have because I have earned it!!

  • Acknowledging errors and taking ownership is a
    quality that we all should adopt for individual growth and for the betterment
    of the organization. In the workforce, no one person knows everything and no
    one person can operate in a business by his or herself. Taking ownership really
    lays out the team environment and it improves professional relationship with
    co-workers and customers. Although the advice is simplistic, it is a valuable
    lesson that many forgo for individual advancements.

  • As a college student with a summer job at a small restaurant in my hometown, I will admit that I mess up orders or spill things every once in a while. I have learned that my boss responds more positively when I own up to mistakes that may have led to such an issue. Even if other employees may have contributed to the mess-up, I do not implicate others, only what I am responsible for. That way I have a good relationship with them and do not look like a tattling brown-noser to my boss. I also make sure that I fix the problem or mention how I will prevent it from happening again.

    This lesson reinforced those concepts for me, and allowed me to see that I do not have to take criticism that is harsh in the moment quite as seriously as I normally do.

  • As a college student with a summer job at a small restaurant in my hometown, I will admit that I mix up orders and spill things every once in a while. I have found that my boss responds more positively when I own up to my mistakes without implicating others. This upholds good relationships with the people that I work with and proves to my boss that I am responsible enough to hold myself accountable for my own actions.

  • I have worked for the same company for over 16 years. I’ve moved from position to position with increases and promotions and increased job responsibilities along the way. The one thing that stayed constant in all of these changes was that I always ran across a person that pointed blame at others or at me for something that went wrong.
    The most important thing I learned from those people is to take responsibility and to be in control. This lesson strengthened the ideas I learned first hand. Blaming others will only get you the title of squeeky wheel and complainer. You instantly become the person that they avoid giving the bigger and improtant projects to because if anything goes wrong they know they will have to hear about how it was someone or something else’s fault.
    On the other hand, as the lesson explains, taking responsibility is what your boss is looking for. It shows that you are secure in your decisions and are willing to make changes to improve and reduce future mistakes. Its a very mature trait to have and it is highly sought after in most if not all job positions. If one wasn’t blessed with the instinct to be responsible, I would suggest they work hard to change and become a responsible worker.

  • As someone going into the education world, nothing rings truer than this lesson. For teachers, it really can feel like there are not enough hours in the day. We have to focus on twenty-something students at a time, attending to their individual learning needs, as well as basic needs that they require to get through the day. We also have to play politics, making sure that our kids are prepared for the big state tests so that our school doesn’t get slapped on the wrist by the big-wigs in the capitol building. Add to that the business of keeping parents up to date and satisfied with their child’s education, and we teachers have more on our plate than a small village at Thanksgiving!

    While doing observations for my education classes, I have heard so many teachers saying that they do not provide feedback on student work or keep Johnny’s Special Education forms adequately documented because they just don’t have time. Some teachers only present the information one way and then swiftly move on to the next topic, regardless of whether their class has learned the material because that state test is coming this May whether we like it or not. Is this doing our job? Are we making a positive difference in the lives of these children by cutting corners? Every child deserves a top-rate education, because they are the future citizens of our society.

    Teachers have the opportunity to shape tomorrow by investing in the lives and minds of those who will run our future, but taking short cuts and cracking under the pressure has left a lack-luster generation behind those desks. We need to own up to the tremendous responsibility of our career, continue our own education, and do everything we can to produce life-long learners.

  • I think I have been saying this for years to my kids and coworkers.
    This article is funny and informative at
    the same time. The message is more relative than ever today with the economy in
    the condition it is. We have to take responsibility for our actions to keep the
    job we have and move forward. I love the
    first cartoon. I worked in a call center and I am pretty sure I was the one
    that received lines two and three most nights. I think this is common sense
    that we all know, but don’t apply it until it is pointed out to us again. I really enjoyed this article and hope
    everyone prints it out and posts it on their cubical or office wall.

  • I was delighted to see this article, because I work in a position where I am solely responsible for the creative files that get submitted to outside vendors for production. There is no one to blame but me for any mistakes. It is crucial that I manage my time and workload, because I work against strict deadlines. I am empowered by my ability to complete my work in a timely fashion, with rarely a mistake. Ownership of a position can be rewarding and exhilarating.

  • Long ago, my dad taught me this very lesson. It’s always better to take accountability. No one likes the person who never takes responsibility, even if it isn’t theirs to take. If you’re accountable, people are more likely to trust you. Not only that, but you’re also more likely to get credit for the things you do right more often, if you’re accountable for the things you do wrong. This is a lesson I’ve always kept in mind throughout life and has helped me in football, school, personal relationships, and work.

  • Weakness can sometimes become an excuse for mediocrity. Being strong is being in control whether you are feeling sick or well. Anyone who can fight the weakness can control their destiny and open the doorway to success for themselves.

  • The WSJ article lead me here. Good advice. Hilarious cartoons. Will be back to read more soon. Although I have to say I don’t agree with the part about controlling everything. This may be true re: managers but for rank and file workers, not so much. The only thing we can ‘control’ is our attitudes towards something.

  • As a Barista at Starbucks, I know that teamwork is vital. My line of work depends on everyone pulling together and successfully accomplishing the tasks that have been assigned to them for that day. When even one person is either behind or guilty of slacking off, it affects the entire operation.

    I am guilty of being overly direct when communicating a need or problem to my associates. When I recognize there is a problem, and can identify the person responsible for it, I can be quick to point it out in implicative manner, and can cause more personal damage than constructive criticism or inquiry.

    Reading this article reinforces the need for me to be more aware of how I am coming across to my associates. If someone is struggling or is not meeting expectations, I need to remain calm and more civil. I need simply find out why there is a problem, or why they are struggling, and offer my assistance or a solution before openly criticizing them, or directing the matter to a manger in anger. I definitely intend to use this information to further myself as a professional.

  • Laziness can result to failure, so don’t give room for failure and i thank you for such opportunity. the points are noted and will be put in use starting from now. thanks so much

  • Taking ownership for my own responsibilities has always been a downfall of mines. It’s easier to blame the rest of the world on my own problems then to just “man up”, so to speak, and to take responsibility for myself.

    Over the years I have gotten better at realizing my own faults but at the same time I have still not triumphed over it. It has to all do with the ego. I have a HUGE ego and it is something that will probably always stay with me. However, I do need to learn to tone it down and see that the Universe actually doesn’t revolve around me.

    Life actually isn’t just about me: it’s about everyone else. And my actions not only affect the outcomes of my decisions but other peoples’ lives as well.

    I am 22 years old and I have recently transferred to the Savannah College of Art and Design to finish my degree in Film and Television. When I started out at Columbia College in 2008 as a first year college student I thought that would be my final path. I would graduate from there, land some amazing internship with Oprah, the queen and then be on my way to being the CEO of Sony, inc or Disney, inc. Unfortunately due to my financial reasons I could not stay and had to leave. I begged and pleaded to stay in that school actually and tried to find as many avenues as I could but it was just not viable. My mother had gotten laid off. We had no savings and selfish me decided to go to probably one of the most expensive schools in Chicago!

    I blamed the WORLD for me not being there. I became jealous of my classmates since they could continue going. I started alienating friends. It was all quite sad.

    The next year I attended the Illinois Institute of Art for Digital Video Production, took part of the Disney College Program in 2010 and then transferred to a community college there after to finish General Education Requirements.

    I wanted more out of my education since I wasn’t being challenged enough so I decided to apply to SCAD. I worked diligently to get as many scholarships as possible and I am still continuing to do so: this is me taking responsibility.

    I could just pack up, go home and give up. But I don’t do that anymore. Now I have learned that it is not the Universe’s fault if I don’t get a good grade or can’t afford a certain school: It’s mine, and mine’s alone.

    I still have the same dream. And yes doors have been closed on me and heck aren’t even there! But with each missed opportunity I gain the chance to see what else is out there BETTER for me, and now I see that.

  • This article has valuable words of wisdom. Blaming others for your failure or team’s failure makes a person seem weak. Taking control and responsibility for a situation reflects strength to others.
    Do not take a defensive, closed-minded stance; instead, work as a team and solve the problem together. Lead the team by taking control and planning ahead for success.

  • “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back to you.”

    This is a simple quote that I think is relevant to many students. Students have many demands EVERY DAY because they desire success. Often times, the road to success is studded with failure. Those failures can help define the type of person that comes out of the journey.

    I can say that I was in denial for a majority of my college career. I let personal factors dictate the type of student I was. Because of that, I earned my F’s in a lot of my classes. Ten years later, I no longer let those events define who I am. Second chances are invaluable, and I’ve received that second chance when my school readmitted me on my promise to do better. I took ownership and no longer blamed everyone around me, rather, I took the experiences that I went through in order to be a better student. I learned from my mistakes, and I put my best foot forward knowing that it is MY foot and no one else’s.

    Thank you for the article! I believe every word written.

  • I really enjoyed this lesson. At times, I see that many people, including myself, tend to blame others for our failures. It tends to be easier to blame rather than taken responsibility for the outcome. I agree with the tips that the author of this article wrote because how will we mature and succeed as individuals if we don’t take responsibility for our actions? Now with the insight, I strongly believe that we are in charge of our own lives, regardless of the circumstances. We always have a choice on how to overcome the obstacles that come our way.

    In addition, I had a friend who would constantly blame his family and God for his failures. I would understand that at times, his family wouldn’t encourage him to continue his education, but that was not an excuse not to continue. There were so many instances where my friend had a choice to ignore his parents’ discouragement and follow his dreams, but chose not to. Now, after various times of encouraging him to accomplish his life goals, he is finally getting closer in achieving them. He has learned to take responsibility of his own life and make his dreams into reality. I have got to say, I am so proud of him. I just hope that more people realize that it is easier to stop blaming others and start making changes on their own behaviors.

  • I really liked this lesson. I often blame others for my mistake. It is easier to blame someone else for your mistake because you do not want to seem wrong, or that you did something wrong. Many of us do not want to fail and this is something that everyone should work on. It has opened my eyes to see that I do need to make blame on myself, or reword my statement when it was not just my fault. This lesson gives great examples of how to reword your statement to make it seem better so you are not making excuses but only stating a fact. This really hits home with me because I have worked as part of the management team for a retail. I see this all the time, with me and my co-workers. It can make such a difference when you are talking with customers when you make a mistake and own up to it. Customers do not like it when you put blame on others.

  • Its all about taking ownership of your life and your happiness. I recently quit a 15 year career in law enforcement because I felt that it was eating away at my soul. I decided to go back to school and finish my degree and follow the career of my dreams. I want to show my children that its hard work and dedication to your dreams is whats gonna make them come true.

  • Over 20 years ago, I entered the workforce at age 19. As
    a young employee, I had the most difficulty with speaking-up when I didn’t understand
    and being accountable for my mistakes. When I was at work, if I didn’t
    understand the conversation entirely, I simply nodded in agreement as if
    understood everything perfectly. I never tried to come up with clever input or extract
    additional information. When the conversation concluded, I would silently
    berate myself for not being confident enough to ask for more explanation. Often
    I would end up conducting a large amount of research on my own instead of asking
    the knowledgeable people that I worked with. I was more concerned about looking
    stupid and/or uneducated. I didn’t want to be A-Know-It-All, but at the same
    time I didn’t want to be perceived as not knowing anything!

    When it came to my mistakes, I generally used Plan A, which consisted
    of frantically trying to correct them before anyone found out! If a mistake spiraled
    out of control with no hope of return, I moved to Plan B. Imagine this scene, something
    gets broken in the household and Mom or Dad ask “How did this get broken or who
    broke this?” Silence. Parent replies “It didn’t just break on its own!”. The
    scene moves to a sheepish kid shrugging his/her shoulders with the facial
    expression “It wasn’t me!”. Well that is what I called Plan B. I would turn to my boss with
    a bewildered look on my face,expressing absolutely no knowledge as to how this mistake
    happened because, of course, my house was in ship shape. I felt so guilty for not being able to say,
    “Boss, I screwed up!” But I was too afraid of the consequences.

    During the earlier years these barriers prevented me from recognizing
    the value of my mentors. At some point I was able to conquer my lack of
    confidence and fear of consequences. I matured, learning to accept myself and
    experience “real” failures along the way. I am thankful because when I learn to
    do this, it opened up the doors to the wonderful mentorship available to me. Much
    of my success, professionally and personally can be attribute to the mentorship
    I received along the way. As manager I continue to “pay mentorship forward”.

  • The ideas presented in the article are quite elementary for workplace behavior and tendencies. However, such ideas are often overlooked in the workplace today.

    For example, I began my first job as a grocery store cashier. I assumed the job would be quite simple and it most certainly was. Still, I’d find myself forgetting orders given from my managers or making simple mistakes. After troubleshooting the problem, I found that I increased my work efficiency greatly.

    The problem was simple: confidence. Like the above article says, simply listen to and remember orders. Then go and perform those orders. I would often tell myself, “Don’t mess up.” When one focuses on NOT messing up, messing up is the very thing that will happen. However, this changes with a shift of mindset. I began sending myself more positive messages like, “Do this thing.” By simply focusing on what needs to be done, rather than what doesn’t need to be done, one can completely change the way they perform in and out of the workplace.

  • Yes, this is so true! What a thorough, in-depth article on how important it is to own up to our mistakes. Whining seriously does not do any good for anyone nor yourself.

    In fact, this article made me reevaluate the attitude I’ve been having this past week about an “internship” I just started. I put “internship” in quotation marks because it is extremely unlike what I expected in terms of structure. I came in expecting to be working in a typical office-type work environment for a team with a defined goal and a clear task list for me to work on, only to find that I was working for only a few people who were not even sure what to assign me or when to have me at the office, mostly because they were so busy with their own work already.

    Feeling disgruntled and frustrated about what I had gotten myself into, I admittedly did blame them for not delivering what they had promised in terms of an “internship.” But after giving it a second thought, especially after reading this article, I now realize that I myself failed to clarify the terms of the internship with them before I accepted it in the first place.

    So instead of harboring useless blame against them, I can treat this opportunity as a personal challenge to set and define my own goals, essentially going above and beyond in crafting my own internship. By doing this, I am not only taking ownership of this situation, but I am also taking initiative in making sure I can still learn as much as possible from it, rather than view internships as having to be served on a silver platter.

  • “Stop whining – take ownership” was a very relatable article for me. There have been many instances in which I have had to stop myself from complaining and take responsibility for the parts that I played in the situation. For example, during a final presentation for a class my partner forgot the information that she was supposed to read. Instead of asking, “Why me?” I started to think that there must be a reason that this happened and there is definitely a lesson to be learned from it. I did not blame myself or anyone else. I simply asked myself what could I have done to ensure that nothing went wrong. I could have had backup information or made sure that she had everything she needed for the presentation to be successful. Like the quote said, “When you begin to see that you control everything, you will begin to see that you control everything.” Everyone makes mistakes and nobody is perfect. Since finding this out I have been more positive when things go wrong and even more attentive so that much more goes right.

  • “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade”. This is a saying that came to mind as I read the article. Throughout most of our work time we may come across many opportunities for just about anything. It could be an extra pen, or even any sort of coupon. A lot of people will gladly take these opportunities and go about their day with less worries. Others decide that they don’t need it and they might end up passing on something good. Then they get upset, and start blaming others for their lack of common sense. At the end of the day, they don’t take responsibility for what happened, they don’t take ownership for their mistakes and will simply complain about it.

    This was a very helpful lesson for me to read, because I realize that many times I should have taken ownership of my mistakes but instead complained about it. In high school, working on group projects was most of the school work for my Technological Principles class. One day we got randomly divided into groups of four and I got stuck with what I thought were a group of slackers, and I was the leader of this group. I scolded them a lot of times for the grades that we got when I didn’t even stop to consider what I could have done better as a leader. In fact, using all that time to complain, might have even made me lazier than them! My complaining attitude served as a shield, that prevented me, from pushing myself harder and to be a great leader.

    I have learned over the years to take responsibilities for my screw-ups. If I’m late for some sort of important meeting, instead of blaming circumstances or other people, I have to realize, that if I had prepared myself on time, none of it would have happened. So even though I still find myself blaming others from time to time, I can still own up to my mistakes, learn from them, and move on .

  • I chose this article “Stop whining – take ownership” because I have been victim of this mentality. It is inevitable that things in life will not always go as planned. There will be times when you must fail in order realize a better way forward. If you have not experienced this, then you may not be putting forth enough effort. I have failed both personally and professionally. I have been through divorce, taken credit loss, receive poor performance ratings and much more throughout my life. Despite all of this, I am still successful and happy.

    As this article eludes to, there has to be a point where you face yourself in the mirror and stop looking at your reflection as being a victim. No one is perfect and even though your situation may not be fair, there is usually something you could have done to prevent it. The first and most important step is taking ownership of your faults. If you can’t do this, you will never be able to move forward. Concentrate on being a solution rather than a problem.

    Something I had to do to initiate a change in myself was, whether right or wrong always look for a way to make things better. I always had excuses. When you take responsibility and you take ownership you take control. This is pivotal in changing the way people perceive you as well. I had to realize that I couldn’t do anything by myself. I needed to trust others and ask for help. Most importantly however, I had to remember without God, anything I achieve would be empty rewards. This article sums up life lessons I’ve learned along the way and bring more insight on how to continue to improve myself in all areas.

  • This is great lesson to learn earlier rather than later –that life is often not fair. However, our reactions to the challenges we experience are generally more consequential to our happiness than the difficulties themselves. For instance, I love playing the violin, and years ago had the false impression that competing my Doctoral degree in violin performance would assure me at least a decent living wage as a professional musician. In 2003, after completing coursework but before completing my doctoral dissertation, I was even invited to interview for music teaching positions at two universities. In part (or perhaps only) because I was ABD at the time, I was the “second” choice for both jobs. I then completed my degree, the economy immediately plunged, and I have had no success even getting an interview for a college teaching job because almost all of those already highly-competitive jobs have dried up for the foreseeable future. Oftentimes I have found it tempting to place external blame: the economy, my Alma Mater –for offering me a fabulous assistantship only to grant me a “useless” degree, 9/11, former teachers who didn’t seem to take an interest in my future career following graduation, and even blaming myself. I have learned, however, that placing such blame is debilitating and will never solve this challenge I have lived with for about a decade. About a year and a half ago, I decided that my musical abilities will help me to become a successful occupational therapist–a career path that appears to have many more possibilities. I am grateful to have discovered this opportunity, and I am even grateful for the difficult life experiences which have led me to this decision. We can choose to be upset due to our current circumstance, or to accept our circumstance as an opportunity for personal growth and learning. As I have gained in life experience, I have also learned that it’s best to assume that everyone faces significant hardship at some point in his/her life. By experiencing hardships ourselves, we understand other’s problems more completely, and can then relate to others we know who desperately need support in overcoming their challenges.

    • “it’s best to assume that everyone faces significant hardship at some point in his/her life”
      yes Chris, I certainly have, in spades.

  • I love this article. I have found the idea of “Stop whining – take ownership” to be so true in every job I have ever had. I am a teacher, and the relationship above with a boss if the exact same as a teacher’s relationship with her principal. Part of the teaching experience seems to be whining about the principal. Everyone “needs” someone to blame, and teachers jobs are in my opinion some of the hardest jobs out there. However, the finger pointing game gets you nowhere, and often leads to either unemployment or extreme dissatisfaction with your job. Being a teacher should mean you are there to teach children, within the confines of your school, if you are lucky enough to even have a job today. Taking responsibility is hard because adults, just like children, love to be praised, and often taking responsibility involves going above and beyond without anyone noticing. Something I think this article does a great job of reminding us, is that often our pointing finger is really just an excuse. To be successful at whatever you do, you must be able to problem solve and focus on what you have control over. Not what the boss or the principal should be doing – in my experience any time I have stood up for what I really believe, I have been successful, only because I came to the problem with a solution. If I think the principal should let me teach in a certain way, then I need to be prepared to bring a viable solution – something I will do to compromise, or take on more responsibility. If there is something to whine about then take responsibility and do something about it. Fight for it, think of way you can make it better. I really love this article and think more people should read it and consider why it is they are whining.

  • Let me start by saying that almost everything I’ve learned in the past 5 years about blame and taking ownership came from the game of golf. It’s funny to say because wrongful blame is about as common in golf as sand bunkers (at least two per a hole). When you hit a bad shot it is easy to blame the wind, the ball, the course, and sometimes your caddie. And that’s where my experiences came from. For the past 4 summers I have been a golf caddie and have earned my fair share of blame.

    Very early on I got blamed for a lot of things, not getting flags, not raking bunkers properly, and the list goes on. The mistake a lot of other kids made was trying to cover their mistakes. They would claim they never learned something or that it was someone else’s job. But when you are telling this to very knowledgeable people (who are bosses in their own fields) you don’t get very far. I learned the best thing to do is to briefly explain what you thought. It is important to accept blame, but it is also important to show that you are thinking about what you are doing and that you do in fact care.

    By doing this I found that I picked up skills very quickly. Golfers knew that I wanted to learn and were therefore more willing to teach me. Soon enough I had members request me as a caddy on slow days so that they could teach me skills that the best caddies had. In many ways my ability to take responsibility not only for my mistakes but also for my learning was what got me promotions. Most importantly I realized that the best golfers were the ones who took responsibility for their own mistakes. It’s important to realize that whether you are the caddie or the golfer, boss or employee, that owning up to things is the best way to stand out. Great article!

  • When I first started school, I struggled. During test, I could hear each student’s screeching pencils racing to be the first one to finish, and I always came in last place. I was the girl that was assigned the lower level books to read, and the girl that always failed her spelling tests.
    I was diagnosed with Dyslexia at the age of eight. I got down on myself, a lot. All through middle school, I would have repetitive thoughts like, ‘I will never be good enough,’ and ‘Why did this happen to me?’
    Oddly enough, once I entered high school, something in my attitude changed. I took the responsibility for my education. I stopped blaming genetics for my problems, and I began working to overcome my problems. My negative repetitive thoughts subsisted, and they were replaced with, ‘What is stopping me from rising above this learning disability?’ and ‘I am in charge of my future.”
    Four years later, I am graduating high school as an “A” and “B” student, an above average ACT score, and a member of National Honor Society. So I can relate to this article because once I stopped blaming other factors for my misfortunes and took responsibility for my own education, I was able to see my full potential. I chose to be a winner, not a whiner.

  • I enjoyed this particular lesson. I think that sometimes we allow our circumstances to bring us down, allowing ourselves to believe that this is it. We begin to feel sorry for ourselves and believe that we are our failures and shortcomings. This lesson is a reminder that we are responsible for ourselves, we must be accountable for the choices in our lives and choose to either get up and dust ourselves off after getting knocked down or stay down and waste away. We only get one life, we really should make it count!

  • Accountability is something that I find to be paramount in any adults life, or at least I feel that it should be. I too teach my child that no matter the outcome, you take responsibility for your actions. This will in turn influence good decision making. The decisions you make will inevitably lead to results. You will have to stand by those results good or bad and therefore be prepared to handle failure and embarrassment or triumph and praise. Understanding followership, I know that my leadership will want me to know how to handle both failure and success. In doing so I must maintain accountability for the decisions that I made leading to this point. It is the only way an efficient business can prosper and move forward. In failure, you analyze your short comings and seek to prevent them from occurring again. In success, you show recognition for those who helped and then look to maintain consistency and strive for improvements. Either way, the future depends on you, and your accountability.

  • This article really opened my eyes because the idea of the “Blame game” at work or at any aspect of life is real. In day to day life we use the “Blame game” as a form of protection to one’s self not knowing it could continue to a worse situation. Being from the healthcare field I have encountered many different types of individuals who have been put in situations due to not taking the “fall” for themselves. This makes the group that the individual works with feel a mistrust or let down to where if they just owned up the situation would have just been different. You would think that in this type of environment this would occur due to what bigger jobs this group of individuals are involved in (caring for patients, life and death situations.) but are those whom are doing making it a challenge for those who do take ownerships for mistakes.

  • I would alway beat myself up for not getting a job that I wanted. On my school there is a startup called Campus Job which creates a market place for finding jobs. I would go on and apply to many jobs, however, none would contact me back. I felt bad I wanted to blame myself and everyone because I wasn’t good enough. But, I took ownership and I emailed one of the companies I liked and sent my resume and a cover letter to demonstrate my desire. They emailed me for an interview, which I took as great feedback and I continued to demonstrate I was great for their company. Eventually, they got back to me after weeks of screening and I got the job. In the end, it’s not over and just go out there and fight show them why you are fighting for a job at their company! This lesson made me feel so much better!

  • I agree that taking responsibility is a difficult thing to do and I find myself blaming others for something thats my fault. I’m a high school senior and there’s a lot of pressure to apply for college, FAFSA, scholarships, and to do good in all of my classes. I procrasinate a lot so when I fall asleep in class, forget a book in my locker, or didn’t do my homework, I blame it on not getting enough sleep when I should be taking responsibilty and say”I should’ve allowed myself to go to bed earlier”. When I don’t do well on a test I either blame the teacher or justify my grade by seeing what other people got and if majority of the class didn’t do well then it’s not my fault when I should’ve studied more or ask more questions. I’m getting better at taking responsibility and accepting the outcome.

  • Taking control of your actions is key. Throughout my entire life I was taught that oI should always take responsibility for my actions no the consequences. I have learned that the consequence for not taking action for your responsibilities is worse than just accepting the facts.

  • This is such a great lesson because I think everyone, including me, has made this mistake. Although I have learned to own up to my mistakes and “stop whining”, it took me many years of working with colleagues and communicating with my bosses to finally learn that it’s best to admit that I did something wrong because of me, not anyone else. I found that it is easier to admit to my mistake, reconcile with my wrongdoings, and move on. Better to do that than to fester over whose fault it was or blame it “bad luck”.

    An example in my life was when I was working as a medical assistant. I had documented something poorly, as my supervisor had pointed out. Instead of saying “I was in a hurry” or “I didn’t have enough time to proofread” I realize that, yes, I made a mistake and will correct it. I also learned that it was much easier to admit the fact that I am human (no one’s perfect) and to be more careful next time even when I am feeling rushed because it’s mistakes like this that can be corrected easily by just being more cautious.

    With this in mind, this won’t be my last mistake nor will I ever cease to stop whining. But I know that I can always try to. It is important to strive to always work on oneself because who else will, if we don’t.

  • I can really relate to this article.in that I spent years feeling sorry for myself and being busy with the idea of myself as “the victim”. Overtime I came to realize that I need to own up to my life mistakes and decisions and live with them and accept them because all in all its my life, and I’m the one who needs to live it! A wise mentor of mine has a saying, “you see it, you own it”. meaning that if you spot a problem, don’t walk away from it, help to fix it. and I try to live my life by this now, and find much success!

  • This is a hard lesson to learn, yet a very important one. Learning this shows maturity and is looked highly upon in the workforce. I worked at a child’s thrift store at 17. It was a minimum wage, part-time job during the down time of summer. I was not an experienced worker, so working with others and serving the public was a new ordeal for me.

    Mistakes are easy to make; they can happen to anyone. Maybe the mistake stemmed from a bad day or even a simple misunderstanding, but it is never good, especially in the workforce, to not take responsibility for poor and misjudged actions. As I had stated earlier, I was new to working a job, which meant I was new to taking on larger responsibilities.

    I had changed my debit card, meaning I had to inform my boss of the new change. I waited too long to give my new card information for my payment, and I was given two forms of payment. I received a check for the absence of the automatic electronic payment straight to my bank. Unbeknownst to me, the electronic payment had already gone through, which reopened my bank account. This meant I got payed twice for that pay roll. I found out weeks later when I had received an email from my old bank, stating I had sufficient funds remaining. My job did not notice the payment was given to me twice on accident. I tried to blame the bank, but I knew it was ultimately my fault.

    I then had to confront my boss of the incident and also repaid the extra payment I received. Though, this was a stressful situation, I took full responsibility for my poor action and was rewarded with my boss referring me as “responsible.” I took all blame, and the situation turned out fine and easier than it would have been if I would not have. This is a major lesson I learned and will carry it with me thoughout the rest of my adult life.

  • As a University student taking some difficult science courses, I find this incredibly relevant to my life. There have been times where I do not meet my personal expectations in terms of tests and it brings me down, but not like everyone else– I can’t let it do that. I have learned to become more resilient, even though I already knew I was. My strength stems from picking myself up when most people give up; having a goal and striving to meet it even if my way is unconventional. My strength is the result of trusting that it will work out the way it is supposed to eventually, and embracing the lessons that are produced from what may seem as an alternative pathway. I have to put in more work than my friends, and they even tend to always score slightly higher than me. I have learned that there is so much more than grades. Taking courses in the humanities alongside my sciences reinforces why I want to attend medical school someday. Yes the science is important, but the human interaction and empathy is just as important. My strength comes from expanding my horizons academically and professionally, and still letting them show me why I want to pursue medicine. I could let defeats knock me down or change my mind, but I don’t. I decide to take matters into my own hands by becoming more diligent with studying because I know that is how I will get to where I want to be someday!