Teenagers (and many adults) hate to admit that something’s their fault. I’ve heard things like, “I don’t know where my clothes disappeared to? Maybe they got lost in the wash.” Or, I don’t know why you didn’t remember that I told you I needed 36 hard-boiled eggs to take to school this morning!” Often, when something goes wrong, it’s difficult to take ownership of the problem.

But, I don’t want to stop there. While I see a lot of the above “excuses,” the harder thing is taking the next step to resolving issues such as these. It really is not that difficult to finally admit to your partner, boss or child, “Ok, I guess that was my fault.” It’s the next step that’s the problem.

Really, it doesn’t matter as much to me if someone takes responsibility or not if they don’t do anything to fix the problem in the future. It’s like the book where the kid says “sorry” a million times but nothing ever changes. On the last page his mom says, “It’s not enough to say you are sorry all the time. You have to make a change so that you don’t need to keep saying sorry for the same thing.” In other words, we have to do everything we can to make sure the problem doesn’t happen again.

This is critical in relationships. Why? Because it’s the place we take the most for granted. It’s the place where we know the person (or hope) will forgive us “no matter what.” But is that the way to live? Shouldn’t we learn to take ownership, fix the problem and make sure it doesn’t happen again?

This same thing is true for me in business. I love working with people who can admit if something is their fault and then figure out how to fix it the next time (I hope I’m the same way!). Those are the people you like to be with!

I really see this as one of my life’s adventures. One of its challenges. To figure out how I can solve the problems that arise because of me and make adjustments so that I don’t continue to see recurring themes in my life. So that I actually can get to my next “mistake” and do the same problem solving and adjustment.

My wish for all of you is that same kind of reflective look at how problems are solved in your life. The truth is, we can only hold the flashlight for ourselves. We can’t force our partners or loved ones to do the same. But we can push ourselves to experience personal changes – both with inward and outward growth.

Have a wonderful (and warm) day!