OWNERSHIP: A Powerful Principle of Success

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Since 2012, Karen and I have owned a 1995 home in the Rocky Mountains. Sitting high atop a hill overlooking the “Fraser Valley,” it provides a beautiful western view.

The lower portion of our one-acre lot has an old dirt driveway leading to a dirt road. We’ve never used this driveway since we can’t get up to the house with it. This driveway simply dead-ends into the hill below the home.

Alongside this useless driveway, grass and weeds grow. No biggie, I mean—it is the mountains. So I’ve never mowed there. In fact, there’s so little grass at 8,600 feet, we don’t even keep a mower in Fraser.

Last week, though, I loaded our 22” Toro push mower into my Tacoma and delivered it 88 miles to the house in the hills. I then slid, along with the mower, down the embankment to the old driveway and mowed weeds for over an hour.

Why did I do this?


It’s our place—we own it—and nobody else is gonna do it.

OWNERSHIP. It’s a powerful emotion and a driving force for people who succeed in any endeavor.

We can find OWNERSHIP here:

  • All things regarding your own child.
  • The first car for a 16-year-old boy. Mine was a 1962 AMC Rambler—“the ugliest car I ever loved.
  • The more than 100-year-old-now-electrified kerosene lamp my mom’s mom left her that Karen and I’ve had since 1980.
  • Any book any author has ever written. Believe me, an author emotionally owns all of his/her books and their sales numbers unlike any other person on this planet.
  • In the heart of any founder of any organization. You entrepreneurs get that, don’t you!
  • And, of course, any seedling pine tree of the 100 you planted in 2014 in Fraser, Colorado that you find still living!!!tree

Yes, emotional OWNERSHIP is a very real thing and is found in many scenarios. However, it is not found wherever these statements can be heard:

“Not my problem!”

“Not my job!”

“Not my department!”

In the late ‘90s, after a “Personal Accountability and the QBQ!” keynote at medical device maker, Medtronic, a manager named John Bowenkamp came up and exclaimed, “Wow, I can’t wait to start applying this at work!” When I inquired why he was so enthused, he looked at me like I didn’t quite get it, and said, “Because I own this place!”

An outstanding—and fun—response!

A public company with thousands of employees and this one man feels—it’s his place?! Good for him. I bet in the ensuing years, OWNERSHIP has served him well. If nothing else, I’m certain he’s never made those three organization killing statements above.

People who feel OWNERSHIP of their job, goals, results, and life just don’t think like that. They’re like a 3-year-old tugging hard on a toy another 3-year-old is tugging back on, intensely insisting, “It’s mine!”

When it comes to successful living, an “It’s mine!” attitude is required. Only then does the powerful principle of OWNERSHIP come alive.

In what area do you feel OWNERSHIP the most? Where do you need to feel more OWNERSHIP? Share here!

Want to bring more OWNERSHIP into your life
and into your organization? The QBQ! Workbook is the perfect tool!



2 Responses

  1. John, I am a caterer in the SE Mass Rhode Island area and need to tell you what one of my part time waitstaff did. She was informed that one of her tables at a wedding was all deaf folks. She took it upon herself to learn sign language to communicate w them. Needless to say they were thrilled.

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