Most of us have had occasions when we have listened to our colleagues or friends and wondered how they became “victims.” How did they develop their reasons to explain why they don’t have the results they want?
If I am a boxer, I have to be very careful to not step in to the victim role as I enter the ring. I cannot win by running around trying to avoid being punched and yelling, “It’s not fair.” To succeed I have to be willing to accept that I will be punched and hurt, and still continue to “hunt” my opponent no matter what happens to me.
Every day we are faced with the decision to become the victim or victor. Sometimes these decision points are obvious; sometimes they are subtle. Either way if we want to feel less like a victim and have more results than reasons, we need to begin with these three starting points:
1. Find Your Lighthouse: I love this quote by Erich Heller, “Be careful how you interpret the world; it is like that.” To take the first step away from victimhood, you need to view the world in a different way. For the moments when there seems to be no choice, I look to holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl as my lighthouse for what’s possible. While Viktor’s story may not resonate with you, the key is to find your own lighthouse, someone with a story and journey that inspires you to pick yourself up and keep going.
2. Change your Focus: To get out of your head and into reality, change your focus. Ask: How am I generalizing? What am I leaving out? What am I distorting? How do I know that my description is reality?
3. Take Small Steps: Nobody is the victor ALL the time. It takes practice to recognize when you are crossing that victim line. The trick is to find the first realistic action that can be taken—and take it! Is it a phone call? Asking someone you admire how he or she does it? Do a little more research?
Breakthrough levels of performance come when you overcome victimhood. By practicing these behaviors, the energy and tone of conversations you have with yourself will shift.
So what will it be? Do you want to play to win or play not to lose?