I remember owning my first car. I felt liberated and rich! The world was mine and I had freedom of movement.
Whilst I’ve never owned a house, I can put myself in the shoes of those who have and can imagine just how secure and strong and safe it must feel. There is joy in ownership.
Not all ownership is equal!
On workshops I’d often set myself up to be at fault about something innocuous, just to make a point. When the trap had been laid, I’d ask the participants, “Who is to blame?”
“It’s YOU, Lex!” they’d say, laughing. I would agree with them and then I would invite them to point at the person who was to blame and say it again! As they were pointing at me, I’d ask them to hold their hands in the index-finger-pointing position.
The ‘reveal’ was to ask them to count the number of fingers pointing back at them from their own hand. This usually caused a joyous response around the room as the participants realised they’d been set up for an “Aha!” moment.
I love owning stuff – most of the time – but rarely enjoy ‘owning’ problems. When we point the finger at others – something I’m really good at – we fail to own our own opportunity to be a part of the solution. The simple exercise of noticing that three fingers on our own hand point back at us when we point our index finger at others may be enough to bring about a shift in our thinking.
That litter on the pavement is an issue I can point to and say, “Tut! Tut! People should know better!” It can also become an opportunity where I pick it up even if I do agree that, “People should know better!”
When I remember this illustration, it encourages me to repeat a phrase I learned in training, “I OWN the problem.” When I do this, I discover that there is usually some small step I can take to improve the situation. Yesterday, I was listening to a world expert on the topic of motivation. He was ranting and raving about poor customer service, and I found myself not only agreeing with him but also thinking, “I bet I sound like that!” It wasn’t a very beautiful sound! He was right but the moaning and complaining pulled my energy down. I would like to moan less and own more – in the sense of taking more responsibility for making a difference.
“I own the problem,” is a powerful mantra, and ‘mantra’ comes from Sanskrit, literally meaning the thought behind speech or action.
When we cease to blame others, and focus on what part we can play, it’s like owning that first car. There’s a sense of liberation and wealth, of potency and potential. Let’s, just for today, put the key in the ignition of decision and drive our minds to somewhere better where we own the problem AND the opportunity.
A Moodscope member.