Beth Wonson & Company

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Empowering Executives, Emerging Leaders, Teams, & Individuals For Over 20 Years

If You Want to Be a Victim, Finding a Team Is Easy

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It’s relatively easy to find a group of people who you resonate with, who you’re comfortable with, who agree with you on a variety of topics. But finding a team that helps you grow and be stronger, that sheds light on places where you may have blind spots? Well, that’s a different topic altogether, and it’s our topic for today.

Many times, the easiest way to find a team is when we are in the victim place. The victim place is where not getting that promotion wasn’t your fault; your boss is an idiot. It’s when you had to pay more on your taxes than you anticipated paying – and wow, the government is a bunch of jerks, isn’t it? It’s when you hesitated a little too long at the traffic light and somebody behind you honked to signal you to move forward. Hmph, they’re kind of a moron – correct? It wasn’t your fault.

Victim mode is the easiest time to find people to be on our team, the kind of people who support our views and our perspectives, who help shore up our stories about why we’ve been wronged and why we’re not moving forward.

Finding people to commiserate is easy – it’s comfortable and sometimes it’s super fun! But finding people who are going to ask you the deep and thoughtful questions is more difficult, although they’re sometimes the simplest questions – sometimes they’re only a few words. Questions like:

  • Could you say more about that?
  • Have you felt that way before?
  • Have you noticed this in other relationships?
  • Have you stopped to think about what you might wish you had done differently in that situation?

Those are the kinds of questions we don’t want to hear when we are sitting firmly in our victim spot. We don’t want to engage with those questions at all.

But when you surround yourself with a team of people who are eager to jump on the victim bandwagon with you, the truth is: You’re at risk of being labeled as the person who isn’t willing to stretch, the person who isn’t interested in hearing feedback, the person who doesn’t have the skills and ability to go to the next level.

I spoke with someone today about where I’m trying to grow, in terms of my professional skills and abilities, and the person I was talking to gave me some tough feedback. It was a little hard to hear. At first, I wanted to get defensive, I wanted to lay blame, but then I took these really simple steps…

I felt my feet on the floor, relaxed my shoulders, and took in a big breath through my nose and let it out through my mouth to center myself in what is true, here and now. I allowed the feedback to not only land but to come in, to become part of my reflection, so I could listen for the places where, initially, the feedback stung. And once the stinging subsided and was tempered with oxygen and a release of resistance, I realized it was true.

It was true, and working with someone brave enough to step into that place and provide me with a perspective that, in that moment, I most needed to hear and most needed to be open to considering – having that person in my corner was incredibly valuable.

I, like you, can probably find 12 to 15 people who are willing to tell me, “You’re fabulous! You’re awesome! Anyone who has negative feedback about you is so wrong! They’re jerks. They’re short-sighted. Why would you listen to anyone like that?”

Those people love me. They care about me, and the truth of the matter is, they don’t want me to be uncomfortable or in pain. So they rush to shore me up, to build up those walls of comforting words and agree with me on why someone shining a light into a potential blind spot is wrong.

But the people who are willing to give you some insights into where your perspective and your desire to be comfortable might be holding you back? Well, those people are far and few between, and they are very dear. You need to make sure those people are on your team.

In the media right now, we’re hearing a lot about echo chambers. It’s a catastrophe of social media that we can select who we’re friends with. We can even block people simply because we don’t agree with them. We can push them away and, in some instances, I highly recommend it – boundaries are important. Nobody should be abusing you or speaking to you in a harsh tone.

But people who are brave enough to shed some new light, a different opinion, or another way of seeing things? Who give you the opportunity to consider and expand your awareness of who you are and how your belief systems frame relationships, as well as connectivity and world perspective and opportunity? Those people are gifts.

When I’m working with people, either in an executive coaching format or in any of my workshops, I always recommend that they identify three people – two they trust and one person they’re not quite sure how they’re going to show up – and ask them these three really important questions…

Question 1: What is the energy you see and feel when I walk in the room?

Question 2: What are the strengths and skills I possess that you know you can count on?

Question 3: What are the strengths and skills I possess that you think I may not even know about?

You can download those three questions and I encourage you to do the same steps:

Identify three people, make an appointment with them, and ask them to shine some light in the places where you may have blind spots.

If you want to move, grow forward, and have a bigger impact in the world and more connectivity, I highly recommend you think about the team you are surrounding yourself with.

Are you creating a victim team where everybody agrees with you and supports you, even when your perspective is not one of growth and curiosity and empowerment? Or are you being brave enough to create a team of people who are willing to be upfront and open with you?

And if you’d like help with this, reach out. I’m here to help you increase self-awareness and understand how your views, the way you show up, and who you are, impact not only yourself but your relationships with those around you.