Become Better or Become a Victim

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There is always more than one way to look at anything that happens.  That seems pretty obvious, I suppose.  The interesting thing to me is how much your attitude toward events changes the eventual outcome, your satisfaction, your goals, and your life in general.

Over the past few months, I have been seeing the effect of this in my business by changing my attitude toward coaching my clients, coaching my challenge groups, and making business relationships.  In general terms, I have been making a conscious effort to find the “opportunity” in every seemingly bad or frustrating thing that happens and it has made a tremendous difference.  Let me give you an example outside of my own business that really hit home with me when I had a conversation with someone yesterday.

I will leave names and relationships out of this but I was talking with a guy who owns a construction business.  He had an employee that basically was in charge of bidding contracting jobs with the general contractors in the area.  For months, he had been bidding jobs with a certain GC and had never won a single job out of it.  So, his response was to quit bidding their jobs.  He didn’t pick up the phone and find out why or ask what he needed to do or anything.  He just took the attitude of, “they never call me and ask me to adjust price or anything, they just keep asking me to bid jobs and never give me work so I won’t bid with them anymore”.  Fast forward a few months and times are tight and he had to be let go.  The owner took over the bidding again as he did when the company first started.  He noticed that they didn’t get any work from the company but they were still getting bid requests.  So, he picked up the phone and called the project manager and asked them why they never got any work and what he needed to do.  She told him that they were too high on bids.  So, he reworked the number on a job and took a little less profit, got the job, developed a relationship, and now they get jobs from that contractor all the time.  Turns out that they were just performing the work in house because people were too high and they never called and asked the sub contractors to lower their bids.  Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, the fact that the general contractor had weird business practices where they would ask for bids and then never call anyone and just do it in house because the bids were too high caused the employee to get frustrated and give up (as it likely did to every other company bidding on those jobs).  He became a victim and said, “I am doing my job and they aren’t doing theirs so I am not going to play anymore”.   So did all of the other companies.  The owner of this company picked up the phone and made lemonade out of lemons.   He took advantage of the fact that everyone else just gave up.  He did something about the situation even though it doesn’t normally work that way and he doesn’t have to do that with other general contractors.

In contrast, today I was overwhelmed by a situation and I took the victim approach.  I let it beat me instead of looking for ways to better myself and beat it.  In my mind, I basically gave up and told myself that I wasn’t good enough (just little inner voices) or that I wasn’t ready.  Now, I am not talking about some disastrous life-changing event that I won’t recover from.  I am talking about something that I wanted to do very well and I failed to do it at that level.  I performed below my own expectations and blamed outside forces for the outcome.  It showed outwardly.  It is a common response to difficulty.  The difference maker is what you do about the difficulty…you don’t have to be a victim of every situation if you look for the opportunity in every situation.  That is what I plan to do tomorrow.  How can I use the difficulty to my advantage?  How can I become better to overcome the difficulty?

Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better”.  Then, of course, you have to go make yourself better.

If you have made it this far in this ranting, philosophical blog post on a site that usually puts out fitness related blogs, I applaud you…and now I will attempt to apply it to fitness…

How can you use this concept as an athlete?  Simple:

Next time you are in a race and you start to hit that wall, ask yourself if there is an opportunity there.  Likely, if you are suffering, so is your opponent.  Lance Armstrong used to say that the toughest times in the races and the toughest conditions were the best for him because he knew he could suffer better than anyone else.  He actually used the toughest times and conditions as opportunities to break his opponents will.  Remember, when times get hard in that training run, or your coach gives you a really hard P90X2 workout (you better be reading this if I am coaching you), or even when you are trying to resist that bad food choice, that your choices to continue on through the hardship and make it over that wall are making you better.  Don’t wish the coach gave you easier workouts, wish that you could accomplish them with greater ease (and go do them so you will be able to).

1 Comment

  • Dave Ward

    July 1, 2012

    There are only two ways you can “be”. You can be responsible or you can be a victim. Successful people, in whatever area of life you care to discuss, are responsible. Great post Rhino.