Still Playing the Victim

I’m reporting to a new boss, John – and I’m starting my post this way because he hates it when I call him boss :). The truth is that I do report to him according to our company structure, but that is pretty much it. I don’t see him as my boss, I wouldn’t even call him a mentor or a coach, but more a partner in business. What I appreciate the most about him is that what I learn from him are lessons about life, that ‘accidentally’ improve our contribution to business too. We’re relooking my team and my role – structure, what we do, how we do it, looking at behaviours and attitudes. Of course the starting point for this is looking at my own behaviour and attitude.

When I did Harlequin there was a process we went through, I call it the match stick game, that made me realise that as much as I believe I portray that I don’t have all the answers, that is definitely not the message I take into the world. You’d think that this game, that almost gave me a mental break down, would have changed what I do and how I do it in life. I have changed some things, but on Friday I had a session with John where it dawned on me that I’m not even close to bashing through this ‘I have all the answers’ attitude.

A thought I am carrying for my team at the moment is that we cannot do any of the cool projects we want to do, because we always have to fit in with other projects, due to us being impacted by almost everything other systems do. I’ve started thinking of ways we can change this, but there is a bigger change required at first – my attitude. As John pointed out, change what I said at the start of this paragraph to “I am a victim of the other projects” – different way of looking at it, isn’t it? As the day and weekend has been progressing, I started looking at all the areas of my life. I’m a big preacher of owning your life, owning your decisions, owning how you react to events in your life. But I’m not owning my own life yet. There are so many areas in my life where I still blame other stuff for how things are. I don’t blame other people (at least), but I’m still blaming:

  • We aren’t getting to what we want to do because of other projects – not my fault, it is the other departments’ fault
  • I’m in so many meetings every day, how am I supposed to support my team – not my fault the whole world sets up meetings with me
  • I’m not getting to my training because we now have to work around Cassidy’s school schedule and activities and there is not enough time – not my fault that Cassidy being in our life has changed our schedule and that some dude decided to only put 24 hours in a day
  • I don’t have enough time to do all the other stuff I want to do in my life – not my fault that there are so many things to do and so little time
  • I can’t win a race because I am not a climber and can’t train the same amount of hours as other competitors – not my fault I’m not strong enough to keep up and train 5 hours a day

I can go on forever, and that is exactly the point. For as long as these events in my life aren’t my fault, I cannot own them. I cannot change how my life turns out when these events happen in my life. It is a pretty depressing realisation, but this time I’m taking full responsibility for it. For as long as I resist this, I will always believe I am right, and I won’t move. My challenge is letting go of my set ways – I have no idea how and very easily fall into the trap where I go back to my own old ways. This is because I love the cookie cutter approach in life, I even choose the books I read this way – 7 steps to becoming an effective leader, 12 rules of teamwork. Fact is, there isn’t a cookie cutter – else we would all be following the steps. And that is what throws me right out of my comfort zone into the scariest place I’ve ever been. I think to start I will have to reflect more on my daily actions, looking back and seeing where I let this attitude stop me in my tracks or put me back in my own set way.

I also need to stop trying to do ‘the right’ thing. I’m like a puppy who runs after the stick and does different things when I bring it back. When I get the ‘good boy’ pat on the head I know I’ve cracked it! There is no such thing, we do things and they result in something. We decide if we want to keep the result or change the result, and then we either do the same thing or something different.

I would like to ask support from my fellow readers who interact with me, by making me aware when I’m doing ‘my thing’ when you see it happening. I would much rather be made aware than keep going through life blind and stuck where I am.


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