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Playing the ‘blame game’

How finding fault instead of solutions can hinder your success


May 24, 2019
By Jennifer Powers MCC

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Photo: Adobe Stock

Have you ever found yourself making statements like these?

“I’m miserable at work because my boss is a jerk.”

“I’d work harder if they paid me more.”

“I’d get more work done if my co-workers weren’t always interrupting me.”

Surely you have. You’re human.

But the truth is, when you make statements like these you are blaming other people and circumstances for your reality being what it is. You are holding everyone and everything else responsible for your outcomes, feelings, actions, reactions, and choices. And when you do that you’re acting like…wait for it…a victim.

If that wasn’t ugly enough, when you choose to play the victim you’re giving your power away to the person or thing you hold responsible for your state of affairs. They don’t even ask for it. Your power is far too valuable to give away. If you’re freely giving away your power like that, you’ll find you have less to help you reach your professional goals. Oh, and with less power, your performance will suffer too.

So, here’s something: You are not a victim… unless you choose to be.

That’s right. In every moment of every day you can choose to either play the victim or the victor. In other words, you get to choose to give your power away or hold onto it. Bam!

In order to choose the victor role and hold onto your power, you must be willing to take some responsibility for things. After all, some responsibility must be yours. It’s your reality we’re talking about here. Once you realize that you own a chunk of the responsibility in any situation, you can then own your power and begin to realize the control you have over the situation. So when you’re ready to be a winner, here are the three areas you’ll want to focus on:

Feelings
Victims hold other people and things responsible for how they feel. They relish in the opportunity to blame their misery/sadness/anger on others. This keeps them small and powerless. For example, Steve, blames his boss for his frustrations at work. He says if his boss weren’t so demanding, he would be happier at work.

For Steve to step into the victor role, he would have to take full responsibility and ownership for the way he feels. Sure, his boss may be demanding, and he can’t control that. But he can control how he chooses to feel about his boss and his job. Steve could empower himself by asking, “How do I deserve to feel?”

Actions/Reactions
Victims make no connection between their actions, reactions and their reality. On the flip side, victors understand how their actions/reactions play a part in their reality.  

Karen chooses to play the victim when she gets frustrated that her employees never come to her when there’s a problem. She says that she is always “in the dark.” This frustration keeps her from performing her best. To step into the victor role, Karen could try to identify the connection between her actions and her employees’ reluctance to come to her when there’s trouble. Karen could ask herself, “What might I have said or done to make my staff feel uncomfortable coming to me?”  

Power of choice
Victims believe and act as if they have no choice. Steve plays the victim when he says he is “stuck with this job” that makes him so miserable. Steve forgets that he is a whole and resourceful being with the awesome superpower of choice. The difference is that victors recognize and exercise their power of choice. They know that they always have at least two choices. So for Steve to step out of the victim role, he could ask himself, “What choices do I have?” It’s not until Steve recognizes and exercises his power of choice that he can take his power back and have more control over his reality.

So, all of this begs the question, who or what do you tend to blame for your reality, feelings, actions or reactions? What choices are you not recognizing
or making?

By holding everyone and everything else responsible for your life, you are holding yourself back from reaching your full potential. You’re staying small.

Watch yourself bloom, grow, and thrive. Watch yourself be your best self. You deserve that. You are a victor and a very powerful one at that.

Choose it. Own it. Be it.


Jennifer Powers, MCC is an international speaker, executive coach, author of the best-selling book “Oh, shift!,” and host of the fun and binge-worthy “Oh, shift!” podcast. Since founding her speaking practice, Jennifer has worked with hundreds of professionals and delivered powerful keynote addresses to over 250,000 people around the globe. For more information on bringing Jennifer Powers to your next event, please visit www.ohshift.com.