Are you a victim?

We all fall victim to being a victim from time to time. It’s a “skill” learned as a child; “NOT MY FAULT!!!!!

When you grow up and put on your big boy pants, you need to drop that line of thinking. The issue isn’t fault, it’s responsibility. And the sooner you start believing that the buck really does stop with you, the happier and more successful you’ll be.

But what about when something happens in business that you just don’t have control over? What’s the right business change for that situation?

Lake Placid NY, July 2010

Before I went on vacation last week, I came across this post. And I think I know what the author was trying to say (I think!), but ultimately it made me more uncomfortable than anything else.

YOUR development is YOUR responsibility. I hope there’s nobody here who would disagree.

On the other hand, the wording “is not your company’s responsibility” ignores the fact that at many companies employees are compelled to learn whatever is being taught. They can choose to reject the lessons, thereby taking back responsibility for their own futures at an undetermined cost, but the argument is specious; when your employer TAKES responsibility—albeit sometimes against your wishes—the timber of the argument changes . . . and in a big way.

So a better phrasing might be “Your Professional Development is Your Responsibility”, without the unavoidably confrontational matters that inclusion of the “not your company” words imparts.

Here’s my point:

Even when someone else is “in control”, you owe it to yourself, your business, your family, and anyone else you encounter to take responsibility. This might sound like some kind of rah-rah business coaching thing to say, but it goes much deeper. Even when someone else is pulling a string or two, identifying the business change you’re after and then accepting and maintaining responsibility for the parts of things that you can control will pay off . . . and keep you in a place where you can understand the business change issues that are evolving all around you, all the time.

OK, so sure, I spent last week recharging at a beautiful location on the largest lake in New York. I even cleared my head at 70 miles per hour on a bobsled run; I’m relaxed. But whatever your situation is, you need to keep your head where it needs to be.

And that starts with responsibility.

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