I tend to do my very-best thinking when I’m getting ready for the day. Between showering and spending time putting on my makeup and doing my hair, I have plenty of time to think. The word “ownership” popped into my mind the other morning. I was thinking about how much my life has changed since blogging and I was trying to figure out what it was that I think changed me the most…
And that’s when ownership started to feel just right!
I’ve always been a responsible and independent person. Almost to a fault as I take things extremely seriously and can find myself missing out on life events and I was always a bit too grown up for my age. (As an example, I insisted on packing my own lunch starting in second grade because heaven forbid my mom not do it “correctly.”)
But it wasn’t until I became my own boss that I really started to take ownership for everything that I do. I definitely had moments growing up where it was easier to play the victim card than to be responsible. I fell into the temptation of cutting corners. I felt like things that were happening were out of my control and there was little I could do.
Taking ownership and having ownership over my own life has been a game changer. It wasn’t an overnight thing and it’s not something that deliberately happened, but I am very glad it did. Having ownership, however, can be something that you actively seek. Trust me when I say that it will be the best thing you can do for yourself.
Ownership, in my opinion, means….
Making a change if you wish to see change. This is the easiest thing to say and the hardest thing to do. It’s like breaking or creating any kind of habit, it takes dedication and determination. It’s all about getting into the rhythm of making the changes you need to make. Wishing and hoping and thinking (even planning) won’t get you there… only doing will! (And it’s up to you!)
Not blaming other people or situations. Being late isn’t about traffic or slow trains, it’s about not factoring morning rush hour into your commute. Getting a bad grade isn’t a professor’s fault, it’s not studying enough. The rain isn’t ruining the day, your attitude probably is. Whenever I find myself making excuses for why something didn’t go well, I stop myself and reel it back in to find the root of the problem. Even when things do seem situational, it only takes a couple of minutes to reframe what happened to take control. The best parts? It makes my mood better and I can make a better choice/judgement next time.
Realizing how what you do impacts the results. When you’re taking ownership, you can see the direct impact you’ve made. In a good way and a bad way, if that’s the case. You’re in charge here! One of the questions I receive the most is how I stay motivated. The bottom line for me right now is that if I don’t work, I don’t get results. The better I work, the better the results. Again, the literal bottom line is on me, and only me. It can be stressful, but also freeing and rewarding to see the direct impact.
Setting and sticking to goals. The best way to get results? Setting goals. Whether you work for yourself or are part of a organization or you’re a student, you have to have goals. Having goals is the best way to stay on track and the best way to ensure you’re taking ownership. (Don’t forget to not blame other people or situations while making your way to the goal!) One thing to note is that a goal may change overtime. Maybe you reached it early or forgot to factor a crucial detail in and you won’t hit it in time, take charge and change the goals as necessary. But remember… you’re the owner here. Don’t cut corners!
Taking a stand for what you believe and standing by what you do. Part of taking ownership is knowing what you believe and not being afraid of that. You don’t have to make a huge deal about it; you can be private about your beliefs! You should know them though. Another part is standing by what you do. Recognizing when something went well or not so well; knowing when to apologize, knowing when to back down, and when to step up. This is when you really have to ask yourself if you’re doing the right thing… if you’ve done the right thing. It’s on you.
Taking care of yourself. THE MOST IMPORTANT! The only person who can really make sure that you’re doing okay physically, mentally, and emotionally is you. It’s the most important and easily one of the most forgotten steps. I personally struggle with this, but make a concerted effort to take care of myself. Having ownership can create stress so you have to stay on top of your own well-being in the process.
How do you take ownership over your own life?

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Loved this post! I think this is very important in college because this is the big transition in your life where you are starting to be very much independent. Everything is now yours and you have the power. Taking ownership of your life starts with every little thing!

Annie Belle

Audrey Lin

"Taking a stand for what you believe and standing by what you do" is very important to me. I've always admired passionate people and aspire to live by Kahlil Gibran's quote: "Rest in reason, move in passion." This is one of the reasons I was so excited about going to college. The different between college and high school is that you apply to college yourself, you choose the one you want to attend, whereas the high school you go to is mostly determined by your parents. This means that at the college you attend, you will be surrounded by other people who have chosen to attend that college. They want to be there. Not only did I choose my own college to apply to, but I chose a women's college, because I hope to be surrounded by empowered women, get inspired by them, and maybe one day inspire others as well. If you listen to someone talk about something they are passionate about, the conversation can never get boring. Passion lights us up. -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's


Love this. I have been working on setting goals and making changes with finances, blogging, work life, workouts, etc – and it is important to remain 100% dedicated if you want to see results!

#2 is true – Surrounding yourself with negative people always blaming other situations is draining! I try very hard not to do this!

Thanks for a great post Carly!


Taylor Hoffman

I love this post. I feel like I am on the brink of taking ownership in my life with a new career and my blog and this came at the perfect time! You always have the most inspiring posts!

xo, Taylor


I've been so lost the past few weeks, adjusting to adulthood and post graduate life. It's been a mess but somehow, this post just made it all better. You always know what to say, exactly when I need it, Carly. I may actually print this post out and put it in my planner for reference whenever I feel down. Seriously, this is great advice–thank you 🙂



This is exactly what I needed to hear (read?) tonight. Thanks Carly for giving me extra motivation to be accountable. I've found the easiest way for me to put things into perspective is to break it down backwards like you said. I look for exactly where I went "wrong" to cause the issue and then decide how to improve from there.

Autumn @ The Unreal Life

Recently, I ended an unhealthy relationship and since then have been feeling so much peace about this word OWNERSHIP. I don't think women realize how blessed we are to have OWNERSHIP over our everyday lives until it stops slipping away. Ownership is such a positive, dynamic spin on 'responsibility.' Ownership really makes your step up and be proactive.

Sarah Elizabeth

Love everything about this post. Between juggling being a full-time student, having an internship, and having a part-time on campus job, I have reached week 6 of fall semester and have decided to stop working my part-time job. I was feeling a little bad about it, and this post completely confirmed that I made the right decision. You're the best, Carly! xoxo

Jenna Arak

There is SO much goodness here. I especially love your point about not placing blame on external sources. I'm not perfect at it (as with anything), but I've been so much happier since I began taking responsibility for not only my actions, but my feelings, my opportunities, and the situations I find myself in. I love the idea of taking ownership over your own life—thank you for sharing this post, Carly! xx.