It’s not easy to put aside blame. After all, some of the people and situations in your life may be partly responsible for your problems and deserve some blame.
The problem is … blaming doesn’t work. It doesn’t change anything and it doesn’t make anything better. All blame can do is keep you stuck.
Let me give you two contrasting examples from my coaching clients. These two people are very much alike. They own two very similar businesses in two neighboring, very similar towns. And they are equally skilled in the technical and administrative aspects of their business.
One of them, I’ll call him Hank, has struggled for seven years just to stay in business. He has gained very little, if any, financial ground during those years. His life is a day-to-day struggle for survival.
The other person, I’ll call Julian, started six years ago. His business has grown 10% to 30% each year, every year.
When I talk with Hank, I hear a lengthy discourse on all the outside influences that negatively affect his business. The economy, taxes, banks that won’t give a small business a fair shake, competition from huge corporations, and his list goes on and on and on.
I acknowledge, by the way, that these factors do exist. I am frustrated by some of them myself. But the issue is not the existence of these factors. The issue is how much control Hank lets them have over his business. Every time Hank plays the blame game, he shrugs off responsibility for his situation and stays stuck in neutral.
When I talk with Julian, these matters only occasionally come up. Instead, he talks excitedly about the innovative strategies he has developed to keep his business growing regardless of external influences. Often, he’ll say something like, “I really screwed up on this situation. Let me tell you what I’m doing about it.” Julian accepts all the responsibility for his success or failure and because he does, he retains control of his attitude and actions. The result is he moves ahead.
So let me ask you a question. Are you more like Hank, stuck in a rut, going nowhere, trying to survive, but ready to give a dozen excuses for your problems at work or at home? Or are you more like Julian, acknowledging your challenges but taking responsibility to find a way through them?
If you’re more like Hank, I urge you to get off your pity party and stop talking about WHY things aren’t working out for you. Start talking about WHAT you’re going to do about it. It’s a great step in making your positive attitude come alive.
Jeanne Swanson, a national market actuarial for the Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, learned this strategy at my Journey-to-the-Extraordinary experience. She says, “I want you to know that your Journey changed my life. Despite the challenges in my life, I discovered my self-esteem, learned to embrace a positive attitude, and have used your goal-setting advice and positive affirmations to begin a journey of weight loss (60 pounds so far). THANK YOU!!”