Monday, November 14, 2011

Three Steps to Step out of Victimization

If you’re a morning person and you live with someone who isn’t, life-at times-can be an exercise in patience. And it was for me recently when, yet again, we were late to a yoga class. This time I was especially annoyed because, as I feared would happen every time before, class was full. So much for establishing a focused connection with my body or improving my dismal flexibility. With my bottom lip out I trudged toward the elliptical machine, fuming over the circumstances that led to me missing class. I irritably and obsessively mulled over my wife’s unreliability. And then, in a flash, it hit me:

I was being a victim.

Being a victim is a common yet futile state to be in. You fail to see your role in your problems, surrender your power, and stay in a perspective of negativity. Victimization can be especially dangerous in the career realm because it creates an attitude of helplessness, entitlement, and hopelessness. You can fight entitlement in your career in these three ways:

Take responsibility: When you take responsibility you see how you have influenced your situation-good or bad. In my situation, I blamed my wife for being late without considering what I had done. Didn’t I agree to go to class with her? Didn’t I know that she wasn’t a morning person. Didn’t I expect to be late? Thus, who was really responsible for my misery? Me. Whether your career is not going in the direction you want it to go, you dislike your work environment, you don’t feel that you are being challenged enough at work, or whatever reason you are feeling dissatisfied, approach it from a place of responsibility and note all of the ways that you are contributing to your misery.

Empower yourself: Once you take responsibility, you can take it upon yourself to make changes. What are you going to start doing and what are you going to stop doing? Who do you need to talk to about it? What are you able to do and what aren’t you able to do. If there’s something you don’t know, who can you talk to that will know? Get clear and specific about your options and the steps necessary to change.

Cultivate optimism: I once heard a quote to the effect of “you shouldn’t worry about things you can change, because you can change them. You also shouldn’t worry about things you can’t change, because you can’t change them. What else is there?” You can’t make permanent change if you aren’t in an optimistic space. Focus on the positives that will come out of your decision, or-if you decide to do nothing-focus on the positives that come from that decision since you made it from a place of empowerment.

My wife and I are fine, of course, but I learned a powerful lesson in the futility of being a victim. Let responsibility, empowerment, and optimism guide you to better choices and a better livelihood.

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