own it.

I’m not much for excuses. If you don’t have one minute and two seconds, skip to the 52 second mark.

I’m teaching my kids to own it. By example.

Two years ago, I blew it. BIG time. I said “yes” to too many things. Three of my responsibilities were non-negotiable:

1. Taking care of my family.
2. Helping my parents with the logistics of their divorce.
3. Taking care of my friend’s daughters while she went through the worst of her chemo treatments.

The other responsibilities in my life at that time could (and should) have been suspended, postponed or just flat out canceled. But no. I said yes one more time.

One of my clients had two new employees drive up from Miami to Orlando on a Sunday afternoon. The plan was for me to meet them in the client’s Orlando office Monday morning for computer training. Then the new hires would drive back to Miami Monday afternoon.

I forgot.

Flat. Out. Forgot. At the exact time I was supposed to be at my client’s office, I was sitting on my couch, in total peaceful silence – after back to back weeks of relentless, overwhelming, chaotic physical and emotional noise. The appointment was in my calendar. On my desktop computer and in my smart phone. The scheduling emails were in my inbox and sent items.

I forgot. Bottom line? My client paid two employees to drive to Orlando. They paid for their gas, hotel and meals. And I didn’t show up. Not a good first impression for a new employee. Not a good client/vendor situation for me.

I should have lost the client. But, by the grace of God and due to my distaste for excuses, I didn’t. I owned it. I didn’t tell the client about my problems, how busy I was, blah, blah, blah.

Irrelevant.

Instead, I took my well-deserved verbal lashing. My client was angry. I cost them money. They were embarrassed. I listened and I didn’t make one excuse. I didn’t interrupt or attempt to explain anything. Irrelevant. This was MY fault. I let them down. It didn’t matter that I was so busy I couldn’t keep all my balls in the air.

I CHOSE TO JUGGLE THAT MANY BALLS. I chose to take on more responsibilities than I should have. And I’m not necessarily saying I should have have turned down this appointment for client training. I’m saying I had a LOT of things going on at that time – personal and professional -and not all of them needed to be attended to during that overwhelming two week time period. I also could and should have asked for help, and I didn’t. My inability to do what was required was a result of my choices.

So after my client said everything they wanted to say, I owned it. I apologized, took full responsibility, asked for another chance, explained the changes I would make to insure this would never happen again . . .

. . . and comped them ten hours of my time.

They accepted my apology and I did the new hire training via Go To Meeting the next day on a conference call.

My kids know this story. And they know what I’m going to say if they start with excuses.

OWN IT.

I hate excuses. I have to CONSTANTLY make the changes I need to make in order to be fruitful instead of busy. I want to do what’s required, to the best of my ability, and if I can’t do that – if I let people down because I can’t do what’s required, I need to reevaluate and make the changes that are required to get me to that place.

“It’s not enough that we do our best; sometimes we have to do what’s required.” ~ Sir Winston Churchill

I would love to learn about your past, present or future “own it” experiences, so please don’t be shy about commenting!


Let’s consider this post part five of a series I’ll refer to as: “a job worth doing is worth doing well” –

1. therefore I quote: Mark Atteberry (the requirements of excellence)
2. therefore I quote: MacDonald & Lewis (seasons in life)
3. therefore I quote: Andy Stanley (the reasons behind my priorities)
4. I just don’t listen. (saying no to “good” and make room for “great.”)

4 thoughts on “own it.

  1. I love this. Own it has become the new phrase over here. Thanks for sharpening my iron.

    Elle – Sounds like there’s a story. Do you feel a post coming on? (by JSM)

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  2. Awesome Julie! Thanks for frankness and honesty!

    Hey Renee! Whatcha up to? This kind of honesty is embarrassing, but it’s great for kid teaching opportunities. I hated the experience so much I’ve been determined to NEVER have to repeat it. I HATE “owning it,” but I hate excuses even more. (by JSM)

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  3. Reminds me of the book I read on vacation last month: “Your Survival Strategies are Killing You”. She does 8 principles and one of them is no excuses. Another is keeping commitments–not just saying “I’ll try”. I need to go back and read it again, more slowly, but she made some of the points you did.

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