UnHappy Discovery: How the Victim Role Was Shaping My Life
How do you play the VICTIM? Two simple questions could increase the strength of your personal leadership.
Recently I’ve been discovering how much of my behavior comes from the victim role. Damn!
I see myself as a leader, yet unconsciously I have limited my leadership to “big” moments such as business matters and running programs, but not to quiet everyday interactions. I have developed skills in leading others but forget to apply them in leading myself. The quiet everyday interactions, of course, are the things that I practice zillions of times and are really how I live!
This has me paying closer attention to the actions I take in the world.
To increase my awareness of this, I am asking myself, “What did I do today that came from the stance of victim?” and “What did I do today that came from the stance of leader?”
Asking myself these questions while visiting my parents this week, I’ve listed the following…
Victim: Staying seated on the plane for four and a half hours without getting up
Victim: Zoning out sitting with Mom.
Leader: Taking a walk outside during the TV news
Leader: Arranging a pool game with Dad
And just a few minutes ago…
Victim: Backing off on a suggestion of mine when I saw Dad’s impatient reaction.
Leader: Leaning in and staying connected to Dad until he shared his thought.
I felt myself physically pulling back from Dad and almost said “never mind” before he answered. Then, in a flash-in-the-moment shift, I turned back toward him and chose to wait for his response. My heightened awareness is working!
When it comes to personal leadership like this, it is not necessarily the action that makes the difference, it was where my intention is coming from. Am I resigned or am I choosing?
When I feel resigned to how it is, I am in the victim role. The words “I have to” are a red flag for me here.
When I seek a path that I am genuinely attracted to, even if it is sitting and doing nothing, I am in the leader role.
Another way to capture the difference is that in personal leadership I am acting in ways that are enlivening. My victim actions, while they create short-term safety, are deadening.
Going forward, I choose life! And I see that 90% of the challenge of shifting toward leading is my awareness of what I’m doing.
So how about joining me in this awareness exercise…
Ask yourself the two questions, “What did I do today that came from the stance of victim?” and “What did I do today that came from the stance of leader?” Keep running lists of your answers, and watch your ability to choose in the moment expand.