No One Washes a Rental Car

Question: I understand that to succeed in life and as an entrepreneur, I cannot play the victim. But it seems like there should be more to this premise. What is it?

Answer: You are right on with the philosophy that you cannot buy into a mindset of victimization. When we let ourselves think this way we are giving someone else the power over us. Avoiding a victimization mindset is an important step for us to take but as you sensed, there is more to it.

Why do you suppose it is that no one washes a rental car? Think about it. I will confess that in all my years of travel, I’ve never once even thought about driving a rental car through a car wash – no matter how filthy it might have been. There is a very good reason for this. We know that the rental car company automatically washes every rental car when it’s returned. And we know we don’t own the rental car. Our success and happiness is based upon the same concept. Others may help us in our quest for success and happiness but that’s all they do . . . help.

It’s up to each of us to take ownership of our own life. Earlier in my career I relied on a lot of people – and I still do today, but in a different way. There were times in the past when I might have thought, “I’ll do my part but someone else will ‘carry the ball across the goal line.’” As I think back I remember many disappointments along the way where having this mindset resulted in failure. Most likely this is because others were thinking the same way. Not a single one of us truly “owned” a particular project in such a way as to see that we did whatever it took to achieve a successful result. Taking ownership in a work environment doesn’t mean doing everything ourselves. But it does mean that someone (maybe it’s us) must be responsible for seeing that all of the plays are called and executed, and that the team eventually scores. Any time a goal or an objective is set, always remember to ask, “who is going to own this?”

In our personal lives it should be easier. When we ask the question, “who is going to own this,” the answer is pretty obvious. And we need to create some sort of accountability for ourselves to make sure that we follow through and truly “own” it. This accountability might be in the form of a journal, a checklist, working with a buddy or mentor – whatever is necessary for us to take our ownership seriously. If we want to exercise more; lose weight; be more aware of current events; become deeper spiritually; find a significant other; be a better parent, or be more prosperous, the road to success begins with our taking ownership of our situation and committing to see it through to a successful end.

Taking ownership is a liberating experience. In so doing, we cease to worry about whether or not we will succeed. Instead, we live in the knowledge that through our ownership we will achieve whatever it is that we have set forth to do.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.


2 thoughts on “No One Washes a Rental Car

  1. Lee, I think this is one of your best entries so far…I can see that I do this in my own life, especially with the things I do as a volunteer here in Pitkin. I own these tasks. I make sure they are done the right way, and thoroughly, and thoughtfully, by doing it all myself and I enjoy that. It gives me just enough cerebral exercise to balance my otherwise retired life. If you have a minute, I’d love for you to read what I wrote in the Pitkin Miner in the Spring 2013 issue – it’s up toward the top because it was very recent – about a friend who lived here for about 30 years and who died at 57 just last Monday, June 17. I wrote it, posted it, and then let Helmut read it. He cried. So I thought – Oh, I did a good job! It made Helmut cry! The next morning I called the guy’s brother and made sure he liked it and he did. Yesterday at the memorial service for my friend Bill, the minister quoted from my piece and that made me feel good. Thanks for listening!

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