Are You a Renter or an Owner?

Today we are going to address your level of personal accountability. You know, that word that typically conjures a feeling of guilt, shame, or embarrassment. Many of us, when we hear the word accountability think, “Oh boy, I’m in trouble.” But it doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t treat accountability like it’s a bad thing. Turn it around and take command of your responsibilities. Don’t rely on others to determine your place at work or in life. Be accountable for your words and your actions.

I know I’m coming hard and heavy right up front, so let’s take a small step back and think about what it means to be a renter versus an owner.

Consider the simple example of car rentals.

There is a big difference in how you behave when you own a car and when you rent a car.

You know what I’m talking about. When you rent a car, you see things differently. Your whole attitude changes as to how you are going to treat this one-ton piece of metal and electronics. It somehow feels different from the car you own and drive to school or work every day. When you rent a car, you now have a short-term, let loose, anything goes attitude, because ROADTRIIIIP!

You don’t worry about eating and drinking in the car, because you don’t have to clean it. “Sure, Steve, you can eat those BBQ ribs and chicken wings in here. It’s not mine. It belongs to Rent-a-Wreck.” You also don’t really care how dirty it gets on the outside (gravel roads, mud races, whatever), or how hard you drive it (did someone say Daytona 500?). And you certainly aren’t going to change the oil or take it in for a tune-up.

That’s ridiculous.

Why would you? You’re just wearing this thing out for two weeks. It’s not your responsibility to maintain it over time. You’re not concerned about its value or what you can trade it in for when you return it. You just need to get it back to the agency without any major damage.

On the other hand, the car you OWN is your pride and joy. You don’t let people being sloppy burgers, milkshakes, and other potentially damaging materials into your beautiful vehicle. You likely spend a good amount of time caring for your car by washing and waxing every other weekend, vacuuming the seats and carpets. You drive carefully, so you don’t put undue pressure on the tires, the engine, and you absolutely don’t park it next to that giant pickup truck or the beaten up old car held together with duct tape and bungee cords.

Why?

Because this is an investment. You need to take care of your car, so it will take care of you. In order to get to work or school, or appointments, you need reliable transportation at a moment’s notice.

And the public transit system is not exactly reliable or pleasant.

Your car, on the other hand, is there to serve and support you. And because of that, you treat it like the jewel it is.

So how do you treat your job? Do you behave like you are on a short-term deal renting your job? Or do you treat your job like an investment into your financial future? A down-payment on your career development? An integral step to your next promotion?

It’s your choice, but I can tell you one way will pay big dividends, and the other will result in poor performance, and low service ratings. One way will deliver good fortune, and the other will keep you guessing as to what may cross your path next.

Don’t let life just happen to you. Don’t be a renter who looks at work like it’s someone else’s responsibility.

Be an owner.

Make the decision to take control of your future; control of your career; and control of your life. When you do this, you make the difference. No one else can tell you how to live. No one else can tell you how to work. You decide what happens next.

Your Mindful Moment:

Renting will get you from point A to point B, but OWNING gives you the means to go all the way to Z.

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