I have said many times in my podcast and out of it that if you can take some measure of internal ownership for bad things that happen in your life—even ownership of very small parts of the situation—it can lead to a feeling of deep control and responsibility in your life. It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you can say, “I chose to live in that flood zone, and I can choose to rebuild there or somewhere else,” you’ll actually feel less of a victim of your flooded home.

Try it!

  1. Think of a situation where you felt victimized: Today, the checkout clerk was moving in slow motion, ruining my life.

  2. Find (a) one thing you did that you could have not done, (b) one thing you didn’t do that you could have, (c) one interpretation you had that might have been wrong>

  3. Now describe the situation to yourself in terms of those answers: Today, the checkout clerk was moving slowly, which I (c) interpreted as incompetence (rather than, say, physical disability or a slow computer). I could have (a) decided not to buy the product just then, or (b) left the store without buying anything, or offered to help with the register.

Whether or not your behavior changes in the future, re-telling your narrative in terms of your contribution to the situation will often leave you feeling much more centered and in control.

Don’t be a victim in or out of the workplace…

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