REDTalk: "OWN IT!" – Brandon Ma

When approached to be the REDTalk speaker about the topic “Own It”, I did not initially think it would be as difficult as it ended up being. I have done numerous speeches before with larger audiences and was told by a Crew Advisor that no matter what I ended up doing it would be okay. I was also reminded by another Advisor that, realistically, I may only truly impact or inspire change in one or two people, but I felt compelled to try and achieve a better result with the short 15 minutes that I had.  I knew the key points that I wanted to discuss, but it wasn’t that simple. Given my current role with the Crew, this was my opportunity to contribute and I wanted more than my best.

I realized that in essence, what I was feeling was the product of ownership. Specifically, it was because I cared. In a volunteer organization, where you do not get paid and where you are taking time away from other pursuits, this idea of caring is even more critical than in a work setting. Caring is different than passion. Passion means you have a strong enthusiasm and emotion for something. Passion alone does not equal ownership or caring. If you care about something, you not only try your best but you pay attention to details and also the big picture. You care enough that it doesn’t matter who gets the credit and you do what is needed to get the best outcome. You care.

Now when you say “Own It”, what do you mean by “It”? Is “It” a problem or a situation, or is “It” referring to your personal growth and development or even referring to your life as a whole? No matter which “It” you are referring to, in my view the first principles discussed in “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey can and should be applied. You need to internalize your own responsibility for “It”. Seeing the world as if you are ultimately responsible and not blaming others in any way is difficult and not how most people think. When was the last time you reacted to something by pointing the finger at someone else? When was the last time you outwardly said you accepted responsibility but inwardly made excuses to yourself and for yourself? Remember a simple idea that when you point your index finger at another, the other fingers on your hand are pointed straight back at you.

Not only do you need to internalize and take responsibility, but you need to take it to the next step and be proactive. Do not stand on the sidelines and let others play the game. Get involved. There needs to be action because just telling yourself you are responsible but not actually doing anything doesn’t accomplish anything.

Ownership is one of the keys and basic traits of all successful people. But what you need to remember is that ownership comes from within. It comes from inside yourself and cannot be faked. Think of it as an internal nuclear reactor. You do not decide to take on ownership because you want to be successful. You take on ownership because you care about “It”, see yourself as responsible for “It” and be proactive to action and do something about “It”.
– Brandon Ma, Council Commissioner Pacific Coast Council, Past President 180th PCSG
Carol Chan

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