This may be the most important blog I have ever posted. In order to make the greatest impact possible I have decided to also keep it short.
When I was younger my parents never let me quit a sport once the season began. Their philosophy was "Finish what you started. If you quit when things get hard you'll quit anytime you encounter adversity in life." I will forever be grateful for that lesson.
My parents also taught me about ownership mentality, and this is my definition:
Ownership Mentality: 1. When a person stops blaming others for their circumstances and begins to take control of their mind, body, and situation. 2. Demonstrating an outstanding work ethic that transcends the norm in society.
The opposite of ownership mentality is entitlement mentality. Here is my definition:
Entitlement Mentality: 1. When a person expects everything but doesn’t want to earn it through effort or hard work. 2. Deadbeat.
In firefighter terms ownership mentality would be the equivalent of an aggressive offensive operation – a hard pushing interior attack. Ownership mentality is what we need in the fire service today. For example, it’s not your organizations tools and equipment that you are using. It’s yours and should be treated with the same care.
Entitlement mentality is a disease in our country. It is the adult equivalent to the “everyone gets a trophy” mentality that is plaguing youth sports today. One of the greatest moments of my young life was when I earned the most improved wrestler trophy. The trophy was a result of hard work, dedication, and a concentrated effort, and it felt great to get rewarded for that. I don’t want my kids to think they will receive the same rewards as the hardest working members of their team even if they are lazy and/or behave badly. I want them to know that focus and hard work will bring more rewards than luck ever will. This has been the case in my life. I've had to work for everything and I'm still making that aggressive interior attack every day. Hard work has always trumped luck. In fact, the harder I work the luckier I seem to get. I believe I am not alone when I share my belief that there should be no reward for people who simply refuse to put in the effort and do the work.
A recent study focused on the top causes of low morale in the workplace. The number one cause was, “having to drag around dead weight” otherwise known as lazy coworkers that no one will discipline – better known as people with entitlement mentality.
Your organization, your community and your family needs for you to be a problem solver. Society in general needs people to step up and take ownership of themselves and their circumstances. We need examples and role models and you have the opportunity to become one. Stop blaming outside influences, other people, your boss, your equipment, or your past for the situation you are in today. Keep in mind that EVERYONE is a self-made person, but only the successful ones are willing to admit it.
I don’t want to preach. I simply want to ask you one simple, important question…
What type of mentality do YOU have?
Now I dare you to step up and pass this along to others so we can fix this place before it’s too late.