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Owner or victim - which do you choose?

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” --Eleanor Roosevelt

If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.”  --Henry Ford

We make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong.  The amount of work is the same. --Carlos Castaneda

Most people go to their graves with their music still in them. --Oliver Wendell Holmes


Do you listen to the language that people use - including you?  I mean really listen....?  It tells you such a lot.

Notice the tone of voice in which people say they should do something ... about their job, what they eat, taking exercise.  Do they sound motivated, committed and enthusiastic?  I’m sure that the answer is ‘no’.

Then there are those who try to do something different (and so give themselves permission to fail).  If someone told you they’d try to pay you back the money they owe you, would you count on it?  To quote Yoda in Star Wars - ‘Do or do not.  There is no ‘try’.’

My coach, Steve Chandler, writes about this in his book Reinventing Yourself.  He calls it the ‘owner/victim’ mindset.  Amongst the many stories he tells is one about when he went into a business to work with the top team.  He declined the CEO’s offer of a discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of each of the 7 members of the team and said he would know the 3 top performers just by meeting with them.  And to the CEO’s astonishment, Steve correctly identified them -  just by listening to their language.

Victims blame others for what happens in their lives, stay in their comfort zone and frequently use language like ‘try’ and ‘should’.  They stifle innovation (the comments on this link are particularly interesting).

Owners, on the other hand, take responsibility for what happens in their lives.  They own their response to any situation and see problems as resistance training.  If they’re not happy with something, they experiment, do something different to get different results.

Taking ownership is a choice.  Choosing ownership gives you power, energy and motivation.  That doesn’t mean trampling everyone to get where you want to go or blindly following a course of action.  It all comes down to mindset – and having an open mind means you are open to possibility.

Of course, we can all feel like victims at times.  But when it happens, think who you are being.  Noticing your language gives you a choice.  Changing aspects of your life that aren’t working takes practice.  Here are 9 things successful people do differently.

From my own perspective I find that a change of scenery helps change my frame of mind.  If I feel stuck, listening to great music, taking a walk or doing something creative can change my outlook.

What works for you?


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