Victims are Seldom Successful

Commitment to taking personal responsibility for your success is one of the keys to career and life success that I discuss in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS, and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  If you want to succeed, you must commit to three things.  First, you must take personal responsibility for your success.  Only you can make you a success.  You need to be willing to do the things necessary to succeed.  Second, you must set high goals — and then do whatever it takes to achieve them.   Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks.  You need to react positively to the negative stuff and move forward toward your goals.

I’m a big fan of Frances Cole Jones.  I subscribe to her ezine.  Just after Labor Day, she sent out an article on victimhood that I really enjoyed.  Frances was kind enough to allow me to share it here.  Check it out…

This past weekend, some young chums of mine (10 and 7) took part in a lifeguarding clinic. One of the elements practiced was how to signal to a guard that you were in need of assistance. To do this, they were instructed to tread water, wave their arms over their heads, and yell, “Help!”

After this correct “form” had been demonstrated, the kids were asked, “Who wants to be a victim?”  This was greeted by a chorus of, “Me, me me!”

The result? These self-appointed “victims” had a chance to be rescued by numerous hunky lifeguards, running toward them in true “Baywatch” style– hair blowing in the breeze, whistles blowing, lifesaving torpedoes at the ready….

It was easy to see the seduction of the choice.

I’m sure many of you know someone who has a similar response to situations in their life– someone who eagerly signs up to be saved; who wants nothing more than to cling to the torpedo, be dragged to safety– and perhaps even given mouth to mouth…

Because, let’s face it: victimhood is powerful.

That said, I maintain it does not wow.  And beyond the non-wowing of others, ultimately it doesn’t wow those who make the choice — because if you’re always being saved by someone else, you never have the chance to actually build self-esteem.

You never have the satisfaction of saving yourself.

Now, I am not saying that when you find yourself in over your head, it isn’t OK to ask for help.  I am also not saying that having a safety plan in place isn’t smart.  (In fact, I recommend both of these things– I’m an advice-asking, safety-first kind of girl.)

What I’m talking about is people who wave and holler before they’ve even braved the water.

Because, as those of you know who have had the good fortune to safely navigate the personal riptides of your life, there is enormous confidence to be gained from learning to navigate using your own wit and wisdom.

The common sense point here is simple.  If you want to succeed in your life and career, you have to commit to taking personal responsibility for your own success.  As you go through life, stuff will happen – good stuff, bad stuff, frustrating stuff, happy stuff.  As a human being with free will, you can choose how you react to the stuff that happens to you.  You can be a proactive winner, who chooses to react positively to whatever happens.  Or you can be a passive whiner, a victim who chooses to blame others and circumstances for the bad things that happen.  Victims never take personal responsibility.  That’s why victims seldom rise to the top in their lives and careers.

That’s my take on winners, whiners and victims and success.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.

Bud

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