Oh boy, I’m tired. I had a dentist appointment at the ungodly hour of 6:30 am. For early risers this is probably an ideal time. For the rest of us, well…
I didn’t trust myself to wake up at 5:30am so, starting at 3am, I woke up, looked at the clock and tried to go back to sleep. I did this every half hour until I finally got up at 4:30am after lying there staring at the ceiling for 20 minutes.
When I walked into the dental office I had a huge grin on my face in spite of the early hour. I was sooo pleased to arrive precisely on time. My smile faded when the receptionist looked at me quizzically and told me I was a day early. My appointment is tomorrow so I have to go through this all again. Arghhhh.
While standing at the counter I said I was hoping it was their mistake so I could be annoyed at someone other than myself. She gave me a half smile since she wasn’t sure if I was joking. Honestly, neither was I. I really wanted someone else to be wrong. I even checked in my calendar and in the text confirmation that I was sent. It clearly showed tomorrow’s date. Face palm. It was my mistake but, like most people, who likes to be wrong?
As quickly as the realization came to mind, the feeling of wanting to blame was gone. It is a lot more powerful to take control and responsibility for what happens. The most powerful leaders are willing to admit mistakes.
My favorite TED Talk presenter is Brene Brown and she says blame is a mechanism for us to expel pain and discomfort. I had to think on that one for a while.
The problem with blame is I have a hard time trusting others who don’t take responsibility for their mistakes, and I imagine you might, as well. Heck, when I’m trying to blame others for the state of my affairs, it makes me feel weak and I don’t want that.
Here are a few simple things you can do to get out of the blame game:
- Be on the lookout for it in yourself. Notice moments of blame. This may be you blaming yourself or you blaming others. Recognize your feelings. What pain, discomfort or negative energy are you dispelling? What did you feel after?
- See it in others. Spend the next day noticing others using blame. Do you notice pain or discomfort that preceded their moment of blaming? How do you feel about their blaming?
- Get blame free. Now that you have discovered why we blame, can you be more empathetic with yourself and others? Can you stop blaming?
Next time I want to yell at my husband for the 5 pounds I’ve gained, I’ll recognize that he didn’t force me to eat the pizza, cookies and ice cream. Blaming him isn’t going to make my pants fit. I’m in control. Next time I’ll choose the salad (maybe) but I’ll quit the blaming and just enjoy the moment.
More trust means more success at work and in our personal relationships. I can help build the trust in your organization. If it’s your time to tackle this difficult issue, I’m here to help. Get in touch.