Bear with me for just a moment while I set up where we’re going today…

I walk my dog Bella almost every day. I adore her, and she is in fact “man’s best friend.” As we were walking this morning, I came across a poop bag on the side of the road. Immediately I recalled the moment two days earlier where I had picked up her poop in that very bag, and set it alongside the path to pick up later as we rounded the corner and came home. I had forgotten to grab it, and now it sat there, muddy and dirty after a day of rain.

I knew I had to pick it up. It belonged to me, and it was my responsibility. I couldn’t just leave it there in the grass. But to be completely transparent, it looked a little gross, and it had poop inside. I didn’t really want to pick it up, and for just a moment I thought, “If I leave it there, someone else will probably take care of it.” Maybe I could just keep walking…

And then it hit me. Hard. “Own it.”

How many times in our lives do we have to own our past, our mistakes, and our missteps? Maybe you’re still dealing with financial choices you made five years ago. Maybe you’re battling relationship issues because of bad decisions you’ve made. Maybe you’re wrestling with your children because when they were younger you didn’t invest as much energy into them as your should have. Maybe your career isn’t where you’d like it to be because of some compromises you made. Maybe they weren’t even bad choices – maybe they were fine, and seemed intelligent at the time, but the outcomes didn’t land where you expected.

“Own it.”

We all have a million excuses, and it’s easy to blame a million other things. The economy sucked. The housing market tanked. I didn’t have enough time. My spouse caused it. My boss is a jerk. My kids pushed my buttons.

It’s time, right now as you’re reading this, to make a new choice. It’s time to own all those decisions that set up where you’re at now, the ones YOU made. Take responsibility for your part. There will always be a multitude of other people and circumstances you can blame your situation on, but what if instead you took responsibility for where you’re at? What if you owned it, decided to make some changes, and picked up your bag of poop?

This can sound harsh. You may be in a tough spot right now, and you may feel like there’s no way out. “Owning it” doesn’t feel like it’s going to help. Having someone tell you to pull up your bootstraps isn’t working for you. I get it, and I’ve been there, but I can tell you this… When you take responsibility and quit giving other people the power to dictate your current situation, you will find a new level of freedom you don’t have right now.

“He did this to me.”

“She caused it.”

“They treated me badly.”

“It’s not fair.”

None of those statements are going to change the path your on, or get you where you want to go any quicker. They are going to hold you back. Quit letting them. It’s time to say, “I did this.” Own your part, change what you can change today, and break free of the excuses.

The Takeaway

Today, right now, stop and think of one spot where you need to pick you your bag of poop, no matter how gross it looks. Own it. Accept responsibility for that area in your life, think about one thing you can do to change your situation, and then do it! Take action today to move one step forward.