Today, the victim is encouraged. The player must initiate the courage to find their own feet. Character-building opportunities are constantly presented along our journeys through life. Some of these arise from positive experiences. However, many come from learning how to deal with adversity when things don’t go to plan. It’s in these times that we have a choice. Do we become a victim of a situation or are we strong enough to persevere as a player?
The mentality of the victim is to accept little or no responsibility for the position they find themselves in. The player accepts total responsibility. The victim feels powerless and struggles to move forward through feelings of fear and resentment while the player remains confident and optimistic about the future – they are in total control.
Some years ago, there was a player in a team I was coaching who was a high achiever but had a strong victim mentality. “I only play this position, defend this way, I did my job, etc”. He was that much of a victim that he had pigeonholed himself and had lost control of his career. We worked together on breaking down his mindset and eventually turned him into a “player”. He excelled, beyond all expectations, and his career – in a different position – reached heights that would have been unachievable if he remained a victim.
In a similar situation, a high performing business team was struggling to find the best version of themselves, the behaviours required to excel as a group and in their individual roles. They were extremely talented but were oblivious to the potential they had collectively. After a relatively short period of collaboration, they began to understand the responsibility they held for each other’s performance. The key was then acceptance and behavioural change. The leader displayed the greatest shift – this can often be the case - which empowered the team members to do the same. What followed was a performance level and a shared feeling of fulfilment that previously seemed out of reach.
Unfortunately, it is usually those closest to us who encourage us to be a victim. This makes it incredibly difficult sometimes to understand the best way to deal with adversity when it arises. Our family, friends and colleagues - through their care - can encourage us to be a victim: “It’s not your fault, your boss is the problem, the coach isn’t helping you!”. We all need a little love and support during challenging times, but it is important to know when and how to take ownership and stay in control.
Take responsibility for everything that happens and encourage your people to do the same. Victims need sympathy and reassurance to feel safe. It’s like a drug, it makes them feel good but it’s bad for them. It’s important you care for them and help them become players. Every time you convert a victim to a player you enable them and your team to transcend.
The victim will always be the easiest and “safest” mindset to live in – no responsibility or ownership required. But, once one adopts a player mentality, their life is guaranteed to become far more rewarding, powerful, and peaceful all at the same time.
Its one simple choice – are you a victim or a player?