Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Blame Game - "I get to be right!"

Blame. It's an easy thing to assign, but takes a lot of work to avoid. And yet, placing blame or ignoring culpability is what we do best, isn't it?

Not too long ago I found myself living in the past. I was recalling a life transition I had made years earlier: leaving television completely and focusing fully on my coaching services (which ironically is Transitional Strategies!) I caught myself putting aside the excitement of my new path in favor of dwelling on choices I had made in the past which may have steered me away from a growing career as TV host and news personality. And I was reconnecting with the anger I felt years earlier.

As a younger man I loved my TV career. When I started in the business, I was determined to be the top host in the world - landing the best show on TV and giving it my all every week. I landed several big shows on big networks like HGTV, Discovery Channel, and National Geographic Channel, and to keep stability and make more money along the way I worked for a local TV news station doing traffic and weather. I had my goals firmly set, I had a plan for my life and my career, and I saw my finish line.

But all of that changed several years ago when an unusual set of circumstances came together in the perfect storm and I lost all 3 television projects I was working on within weeks of each other. In that one month span my entire plan was wiped out, and I was faced with a blank slate, and no other viable plan to replace it.

But I actually did have a back up plan, and I was already working it, I just didn't give it the credit it was due.

Since childhood I have been a student of enlightenment, motivation and serving others. When I was 10 I helped my grandfather deliver meals on wheels to his friends who were house-bound prompting one of our recipients to remark about me: "That kid has the heart of a volunteer." In grade school I found myself advising all my friends about their home lives, love lives, personal struggles and more. I just came naturally to me, and I had great results with it. I attended my first open AA meeting with my mother at the age of 13, and continued to go on my own for years after.

In college I studied the workshops and teachings of Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar, Wayne Dyer, Leo Buscaglia, and many others. In my early 30's I completed the Landmark Education Curriculum for excellence, eventually becoming a head coach for Landmark programs in Los Angeles. In my late 30's, after hiring a coach to help me remove a serious personality block, I was so impressed with the techniques he used, I earned my own certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Hypnotherapy and Timeline Therapy. All this work I treated as a hobby as I built my TV career.

But with my chosen career at a sudden standstill, I was faced with a choice - one that I had not considered previously because of my earlier success: Do I continue to pursue the elusive TV deal, or do I do what I've always done so well... help others? I chose the later and never looked back.

Until recently. Which brings me back to my point: Blame.

At the time of my great transition, I was filled with anger and blame for the people I held responsible for my circumstances. I blamed my parents, my brother, the TV executives, the business itself, and anyone else I could think of to fuel my anger and ultimately be right! By being angry at others, I got to be right about my position, and not focus any of the culpability where it belonged. With me.

And that's what blame does - it gives you the freedom to avoid personal responsibility, and be right about your anger. But hanging on to your anger and justifying it with blame only perpetuates the issue and its resolution can remain painfully at bay.

Take my example: As my TV career ended I was absolutely sure that the business and everyone in it was out to stop me from having what I wanted. I blamed everyone for the downfall I experienced and cursed the ones who were successful. I lived in that blame, being right, and staying stuck with no direction to turn.

Then one day, not too long after, I got an email from someone that I had helped when going through my NLP certification. As training, I took on someone (at no charge) who wanted to quit drinking. I had plenty of experience with alcoholism, and with my new NLP tools was able to get her to stop drinking completely. She had just reached her 1 year sobriety milestone and was writing to thank me for changing her life.

The letter floored me.

I realized by the time I was done reading it that from early on in my life I was a major success. My volunteer heart, my love for enlightenment, motivation, and helping others along with my personal experiences all added up to who I have become now. But to get here, I needed to stop blaming others for what were ultimately my choices.

It was my choice to pursue a life in television where very few people achieve lasting success. It was my choice to stay in a career which was so dramatically up and down. It was my choice to try to prove to myself and others that I could achieve the goals I set despite the odds. I chose the life, but I didn't choose it powerfully - which means the bad with the good - and ultimately discovered we just weren't meant for each other. At least not right now.

Accountability set me free from the trap of blind persistence and I, my clients, and you are all the beneficiaries of that change. I am living my destiny and its effortless.

So what does accountability mean for you? When was the last time you challenged yourself to release blame and take responsibility for your own choices? Pick one time in your life where you blamed others for something that could have been easily your responsibility and revisit the issue. Close your eyes, focus on the whole issue, and see if you can see your part in it.

Look at something differently, and that thing changes.

Be your best,


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