“You are responsible for your life. You can’t keep blaming somebody else for your dysfunction. Life is really about moving on.”
How often in life do we bemoan the fact that we have been the victims of sharp practice, bad luck or that life is conspiring to put us under and keep us there?
I was asking myself this same question recently, when a woman arrived on my doorstep, introduced herself as a neighbour of a few doors down the street and appealed to my good nature, as she and her 2 young children had been left in a difficult position for the day and could she borrow £8, to be re-paid when her husband returned later on.
Now I haven’t come down in the last shower and I am aware that there are unscrupulous people out there who will prey on others’ generosity. As a result, I went to fetch my wallet with my eyes open. I realised that this could well be a scam and at the same time, I decided to give the situation the benefit of the doubt and duly gave her the money she was asking for.
I was not surprised to have later found this to have indeed been a scam. Disappointed, but not surprised.
My other half, when I told her the story, came out with the phrase: ‘That’s life’.
She is, of course, right and leaving the question of the individual in the story’s moral code out of the equation, we are left with a decision to make.
Either we rant and rail against the injustice of a good deed repaid so callously, or we let it go, knowing ourselves to be all the bigger for the experience.
Similarly, our work experiences mirror this situation every day.
How often does it happen that we are not recognised for good work; that we are told that our role has to change radically to accommodate new demands; that we have too many emails to deal with on top of our to-do list; that we experience IT problems? The list goes on.
It is the easiest thing in the world to point the finger, to blame others for our misfortunes.
The key question to ask ourselves here is:- To what extent does this behaviour help us?
If we remember that how we feel affects our behaviour – and our behaviour affects the results we get, it’s always worth remembering that staying resourceful and resilient will get us better results.
If we ask ourselves how this could have happened, or why these things happen to us, we are far more likely to slide down the emotional scale into annoyance, blaming others for our misfortune and victim mentality.
So, a really good habit to get into is to go from ‘blame’ to ‘aim’ and crucially to take responsibility for our lives.
This phrase, ‘take responsibility’ is easy to say, easy to understand and hard to do, largely because few people do it consistently. The main reason for this, is that it’s simply much easier to blame life for our misfortunes, added to which, we are surrounded by a society that is conditioned to look for people or things to blame our woes on – just think of the media!
So, we are left with the realisation that you can either make progress or excuses; you can’t do both. 100% responsibility is what is needed – not 99% (which will always give us an excuse if the situation is tough enough), but 100%.
We live in a culture of blame. We are surrounded on a daily basis by news reports where laying blame is the main theme. Our daily TV is laced with guilt and blame – why? Because it gives us drama!
The downside to this is that we become conditioned by our surroundings and culture to look for accountability in others and in our circumstances, which unfortunately makes it easy for us to avoid taking responsibility for ourselves our actions and our lives.
Why is this so important? Because you can either make excuses or progress. You can’t make both. Taking responsibility for your career in all situations, good and bad, makes you more visible, makes you stand out and gives you the critical sense of self-worth that every entrepreneur needs.
If you want to make excuses a thing of the past, then grab my FREE Take Control Toolkit below– a fantastic and indispensable process for making sure that you are in control of your life, not the other way around!