Ohhhh, victim mindset….it’s a killer.
It’s a success killer, a relationship killer, and will squash your dreams before you even define them.
But you don’t have it…right?
Chances are, even though we’ve grown up and taken charge of our lives, learned a few things and let go of some old patterns, victim mindset still creeps in from time to time for most of us.
You’ve heard the phrase, and it probably brings to mind someone you know who’s always Vaguebooking about how hard they have it and why things never work out for them. That’s the obvious, in-your-face whiny victim mentality. The one that sticks around the edges for many of us and is a roadblock to where we want to go is much more subtle.
There are two words that will clue you in to whether you are in Ownership Mode or Victim Mode:
The thing about “can’t” is that it removes any ownership, responsibility, or desire from your choices. “I can’t” means that you are the victim of something beyond your control, and it is keeping you from saying yes to a particular choice.
“Yes, but…aren’t there times where we truly ‘can’t’ do something?”
Let’s play Devil’s Advocate for a minute and debunk that idea.
“I can’t afford it.”
Maybe you truly don’t have enough money on hand to make the purchase in question. But…there are millions of people who live with credit card debt. People borrow money (or steal…not suggesting it, but it’s a fact!). But while Victim Mindset says, “I can’t afford it”, Ownership Mindset says, “I’m choosing to spend my money somewhere else right now” or “That’s not a priority for me right now” or even “I’m choosing to be mindful about my finances instead of creating debt.”
“I can’t do that…I don’t have enough time.”
The wonderful thing about time is that we get to choose where it goes. When I’ve worked with clients on time management, one of the first things I tell them, is that there is absolutely nothing they HAVE to do. All of it is a choice, and while the choices come with consequences we may or may not like….the choice is up to us. (And besides that, if you really want to explore where your time is going, read the section on Einstein Time vs. Newtonian Time in Gay Hendicks’ book The Big Leap...it will blow your mind and help you free up more time.)
“I can’t ______ because ________”
We could go on and on with examples, but the big key is realizing that when you say, “I can’t”, you are disempowering yourself and putting your fate and your choices into the hands of someone or something else.
It’s time to own your NO as much as your YES.
When you honor your desire to say “no”, and don’t shift into saying “I can’t”, you open up your ability to create more of what you want in your life. You move through life with greater authenticity and power. You make room for more yeses to the things you truly want. You walk in greater integrity, and in the knowledge that you are the one writing your story.
As kids, we read those Choose Your Own Adventure Books, we think about all the things we’ll do as grown-ups when the choices are ours to make.
But then, so many of us don’t make those choices….we stay in victim mode and feel frustrated by the fact that we just can’t do what we want, can’t live our dreams, can’t find time to do what we love, can’t. can’t. cant.
A few weeks ago, I discussed this with my kids, and I suggested an experiment…instead of saying “I can’t” about ANYTHING, we’d get curious and dig deeper and give a more accurate answer.
It wasn’t easy at first, but it has been fascinating!
So, I’m challenging you…just for this week…if you feel “I can’t” about to come out of your mouth, dig a little deeper…
You are writing this story as you go….don’t give away your power so easily.
If you try this, leave me a comment and let me know how it feels for you!