When you were a child or even as a parent, how often did you hear the phrase, â€œIt’s up to you to take responsibility for your actionsâ€? More often than not, the parent or teacher was right about what they were saying â€“ â€œYou will fall over and hurt yourself,â€ â€œYou will get caughtâ€ or, â€œIt’s not worth the riskâ€ etc.
Like many of you I have made countless errors in my business and personal life, many of which – no if I’m honest – all of which – I could have avoided, but at the time I knew best. In hindsight it’s my entire fault, I am responsible. I could try to pass on the blame to someone or something else and for a while I did, or I could put my hands up, take it on the chin and find a way forward.
Like many people in the mid part of last decade, 2005 approximately, I felt bullet proof and nothing could get in my way. I released equity from my property, took on a team of property people around me and went full speed ahead building a property empire that would provide financial freedom for me and the family. Well that was the plan.
The team I built around me were learning, they didn’t have all the answers, they didn’t know all of the questions that they should have been asking and they didn’t have all the advice to give. I, however, abdicated responsibility to those around me; they were the experts, the font of all knowledge. I gave cash, energy and trust to those who were sadly found wanting when everything hit the fan and the market completely changed.
Because I had not taken responsibility or ownership of what was going on I was left terribly exposed and it cost me. Sadly it is still costing me to this day. In hindsight yes, I could have and should have taken more legal advice, done more site visits and more detailed investigations of both those I was working with and those they were in turn working with. Blind Faith is no excuse, I didn’t take responsibility.
Now as a result I am very alert to what my intuition and gut feel tells me – am I getting the full story here? Is this person the right person to work with or deal with? What is the potential negative in every situation, in addition to the positive? Experience is the result of something that happens to you, by contrast wisdom is the ability to learn from others’ experiences and not have to go through them yourself, so they say. It is said that the older generation tend to be more conservative and less spontaneous. Could this be because they have made the errors themselves and are now more cautious, maybe this is just part of my journey towards maturity.
Consider the odd occasion when you find yourself at the race track – you investigate the form of the horses before placing a bet – if you are just choosing according to the name of the horse or the colours the jockey is wearing you are risking it all. You may be comfortable to leave without your initial stake money; if not, then you shouldn’t be spending the money, this is a calculated risk where you have removed all responsibility for the result from your control.
Whether it is a good or bad outcome, a challenge or a success the chances are it has come about as a result of an action or inaction by you. When there is nothing you can do to influence the outcome of a situation that is called gambling, so please don’t try to call it something else when it’s not! Take responsibility for your successes and failures alike, and in those areas where you are currently impersonating an ostrich, get your head out of the sand and take responsibility for making the best of that situation. It’s up to you, stop FAFFing about and step up.