Monday Motivation: There’s Power In Releasing Ownership

soccerThe first attempt at soccer for my son Zack was anything but magical.  The first four weeks were characterized by high emotions and the outright desire to quit–both from child and parent.  It’s downright gut wrenching to try to convince a child to do something he doesn’t want to do.  No amount of me saying or showing him that soccer was fun accomplished anything.

After a particularly difficult practice, we sat down and talked about what was going on.  What happened next felt completely unnatural and like it could have been a big mistake.  But desperate times call for desperate measures.  I told Zack that if he no longer wanted to play soccer, he could quit.  I made it clear to him that it was his decision and that he would have to share it with his coach and he would not get a medal at the end of the season.

After giving it some thought, he told us he did not want to quit soccer.  For the final four weeks of the season, Zack played and his attitude was completely different.  Did he magically transform into a soccer star?  Not necessarily.  But, he made it to the end of the season and got his medal.  Though I suspect he may never play soccer again, I could not be prouder of the effort my son put forth.

Through this process, I have learned a few valuable lessons about ownership.

1. Releasing ownership spells relief- It is so difficult to release ownership but I realized that I was the one committed to soccer, not Zack.  When he wanted to walk off the field, I was embarrassed and sad.  What a relief to not have to carry those feelings around.

2. Releasing ownership allows you to be a fan- I had so much anxiety wrapped up in this soccer experience that I wasn’t enjoying myself at all.  When Zack took over, I all of a sudden had the freedom to cheer for him and celebrate his success.

3. Releasing ownership transfers the responsibility- Until Zack became the owner, he didn’t understand all of the implications of quitting.  When we allowed him to quit, he began to understand the impact on others rather than simply thinking about the impact to himself.

Ownership truly is a powerful thing.  If you’re anything like me, you don’t release it easily.  Take inventory of the things that you currently own whether it’s as a parent, manager or a myriad of other roles you play.  Realize the immense power in releasing the things you don’t need to own.

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Jeremy Watkin is the Director of Customer Experience at FCR, the premiere provider of outsourced call center and business process solutions. He has more than 17 years of experience as a customer service and experience professional. He is co-founder of the Customer Service Life blog and a regular contributor. Jeremy has been recognized many times for his thought leadership. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn for more awesome customer service and experience insights.

2 comments

  • I was so busy this morning, I did not think I was going to have a chance to read your post Jeremy. Boy am I glad I did. Starting my day with your inspiring message was EXACTLY what I needed today (and probably everyday). This blog is proof positive why I know you are a great Dad and a great manager of people. Thanks for “getting it!” You truly get it.

    • Doug, thanks to an email switchover at work, I keep missing the notifications of your comments. I’m glad I logged in and read this comment today. Thanks for the encouragement and for making my Wednesday!

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