Are You a Life Owner or a Life Blamer?

By Jay Forte

Some people take full responsibility for their lives – of both their decisions and the impact of those decisions – while others go through life in blame-mode. The “life blamers” always find some external reason to explain why things don’t happen as they should or why bad things happen to them. They find a way to avoid taking responsibility for the outcome of their decisions or actions.

How do you manage, parent and live? Do you take responsibility or provide blame?

As Jim Dethmer shares in his book, The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, conscious leaders take full responsibility where full responsibility means “locating the cause and control of our lives in ourselves, not in external events.” No one makes you do anything. You choose it. He calls it taking radical responsibility.

It is certainly easier to point the finger when things don’t go your way. It may even seem logical to blame someone or something else, like the weather, the economy or someone who doesn’t share your beliefs. The end result, however, is this shifts your attention away from the place of solution: you. When you ask what you can learn from the situation and then boldly own it, you shift from life bystander and blamer to active participant. You shift from victim to owner and, as a result, the possibility of change, improvement and solution increases.

Stop and notice how often you find fault with someone or something else. For example:

  • An employee didn’t do what you asked – did you share clear expectations and provide direction?
  • Your kids don’t listen to what you tell them – how much time do you make to really listen to them?
  • You have too many things going on to truly do things well – is it more important to get something done than to do it well?

Though blaming may make you feel better by shifting the responsibility of a situation to someone else, you don’t learn from the event and miss the opportunity to provide your unique gifts, talents and impact to make things better. When you blame, you abdicate on owning your part of making things better.

Important Questions from a Coach:

  1. In what areas of work or life do you find yourself blaming more than taking responsibility? Why?
  2. What is one thing you can do today to better see your role in all situations or events?
  3. Seeing your role, what is one thing you can do in each situation to own your part?

Life is as life is. Sometimes, things seem to work out beautifully. Sometimes, that’s just not the case. Regardless, you have a role. Stop finding things to blame when life doesn’t go your way by learning to see that every moment includes lessons. When you’re busy finding someone or something to place the blame on, you miss your lessons, lessons you’ll be forced to repeat until you learn them. Step up and be a life owner.


Consider reading Staying Calm and Upbeat (Despite Life’s Frustrations)

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