When things go wrong it’s so easy to blame someone … anyone … but yourself.
It can’t possibly be your fault … you didn’t do anything wrong … the wheels are all falling off because somebody else did something wrong … he (or she) made a bad choice and now you have to pay for it … they didn’t do the right thing and now you have to suffer … and on and on and on.
Blaming someone else is so easy … it takes no effort … it absolves you of all wrong doing … it’s painless and quick and takes away all the responsibility. You can complain … you can grumble … you can be the martyr … because it’s not your fault.
“Poor fella me … I didn’t do anything wrong but now I have to pay the cost (whatever that might be) of making things right. Feel sorry for me … I deserve your sympathy.”
It’s a lament that we often hear because blaming other people has become a national pastime. It’s something that we all do and we always want to tell anyone who will listen just how hardly done by we are because someone … anyone but me … made a mistake.
The only problem with that approach is that, by blaming someone else, you’re compounding the problem. You’re making it worse, you’re missing the quickest solution, you’re doing more damage to yourself, your business and to your relationships with those around you.
Accepting responsibility is the first step to making things right
You can only start to make things right … to recover from the mistake and move forward … when you accept responsibility for what you did to cause that mistake in the first place.
That’s something that I’m being reminded of right now. A problem has cropped up and my first inclination was to blame someone else and for over a week I kept thinking that I was right to do that.
How could it have possibly been my fault … I wasn’t even involved.
Fortunately I didn’t have to air my views on who was to blame to anyone … at least not right away. I knew that I would have to do that sooner rather than later and if I did the situation was likely to get a whole lot worse … but that was ok because it wasn’t my fault. It was some other guy’s fault and, as things would get progressively worse, it would continue to be his fault.
That made me feel pretty good. I was blameless … I could take the high ground and rest in the knowledge that it wasn’t my fault.
The only thing that bothered me was what I might be left with when the dust settled and the situation was finally resolved. Whenever I thought about the possible outcomes all I could see was a mess that could never be repaired … and that was definitely not an outcome that I was comfortable with …
… and then there was this niggling little voice in the back of mind that was telling me that the whole situation really was because of a decision I had made a long time ago.
Years ago I made a decision that I thought was the right decision to make in the circumstances and for years everything that flowed on from that decision was good. Even now I am sure that the decision I made was probably the right one.
Looking for immediate wins can have unwanted consequences years later
I have to admit that I hadn’t thought that decision through all that well. Back then I was only looking for an immediate win and not thinking of what might happen in years to come. Even if I had been thinking that far in advance I would not have foreseen anything like the situation that has arisen.
But now that I’ve woken up to the fact that my decision back then has brought me to facing this current situation … that this situation is my fault … I know what to do to fix the problem.
I know that there doesn’t have to be a bad outcome. I know that if I take the blame for what has arisen … if I don’t try and pass it off on someone else … the situation will be resolved and the outcome will be a much different outcome to what it will be if I keep on blaming someone else.
So if you have issues that have arisen in your business don’t look to blame someone else. Follow the trail back to the original decision that lead to this problem arising and see who started it all … and the chances are that that person will be you.
Why go back to your ancient history?
But why go back to what might be ancient history? Why not just suck it up and get on with life? Because back there, in that original decision that has lead you to where you are now, are the seeds of what will help you overcome the problem and turn a mess into a win.
It may bruise your ego … you may feel as though you have egg on your face … but it’s the only way to really move everything forward.