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Don't Play The Blame Game

There are quite a few games to be played out there, but the Blame Game should not be one of them. What is the blame game? Simply put, it is blaming everything and everyone else around you instead of taking accountability for your actions or certain events that happen in your life. We cannot control everything, but we can control our actions and how we respond to certain events. I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes - “when you’re pointing your finger at someone else, remember there’s always three pointing right back at you.” In other words, before you start blaming others, check yourself first.

Are you someone who usually blame others for your failures or poor performances? Nothing is ever your fault and the answer to your failures involves everything and everyone except yourself. Do you find yourself blaming your coach because of your lack of playing time? Do you tell your family and friends things like “well the Coach hates me, that’s why I am not getting the playing time I should be getting?” I will admit, there are coaches who hold petty grudges, but that is such a small percentage. Is it possible that the reason you’re not getting the playing time you think you deserve is because your work ethic is not where it needs to be? Your physical skill level may be off the charts but are you the type of player your teammates can trust and rely on. Are you trying to be the best on the team instead of doing what is best for the team? Is it possible that even though your physical skill level is unmatched, your attitude stinks?

My freshman year at Millersville University was supposed to be a great year for me. I just finished a successful high school basketball career, and my college coach told me I was going to be a huge asset to the team. Instead, I rode the bench the entire year. Barely getting any playing time. It was not only frustrating, but embarrassing! I went from being a star player in HS to a bench warmer. There were several of things that contributed to my lack of playing time and one of them was blaming others. I blamed my coach, “oh she doesn’t like me”, I blamed my teammates, “they won’t pass me the ball”, I even blamed the school, “I should’ve never signed to a DII school, they do not know talent, I should’ve gone DI.” In addition to blaming everyone and everything, I lost my confidence (I will share more on how I lost my confidence and how I gained it back in a later email). Something had to change, or I would’ve been a 4-year bench warmer. One of the several things I decided to do was stop blaming and start take accountability. I asked myself this one question “how am I personally contributing to my lack of playing time?” The answers started coming to me very quickly. I had poor time management, I kind of, sort of knew the plays, I was not putting in the effort required of a college athlete (H.S. effort and College effort are two different things!!), and many more. Once I started looking at the young woman in the mirror and started to fix the things in my control, things started to change. After an unfavorable freshman year and working on my mindset, I started the next three years. Earned numerous “PSAC Player of Week”, numerous “PSAC Player of the Month”, other accolades, and ended my college basketball career with 1,011 points,11th All – Time by the time I graduated.

Elite athletes do not blame, they take accountability and own up to their mistakes.

So, what are you doing? Rather than looking at others, look at yourself and ask: “How am I contributing to my failure/poor performance?” Take some time and consider:

Maybe it is you who need to do better.

Maybe it is you who need a different perspective.

Maybe it is you who need to take more responsibility for some of the events and outcomes that happen in your life.

Blaming takes all the responsibility from you and puts it on someone else. It blocks you from growing, and it may even ruin relationships you have with your teammates, coach, friends, family, and/or boyfriend/girlfriend. Blaming may make you feel better, but it doesn’t help you become better (I can hear someone right now saying “say it louder for the people in the back”). Most people do it on an impulse instead of pausing and thinking about the situation. Remember you can’t control everything that happens to you, but you can control how you respond to it. How you respond to situations are completely under your control, so you have the CHOICE on how you want to respond – blame or take accountability?

According to Psychotherapist, Nancy Colier: Blaming is also a strategy to keep from having to make changes or address your actual reality. As long as the problem is someone else’s fault, you can stay busy and focused on trying to correct the blame—that is, fix that person or situation that is at fault. You pour your attention into what you have determined to be the source of that fault. As a result, you turn your back not only on your actual experience of the situation, but what you might need to do.

If you’re tired of playing blame game, here are a few things you can do:

1. Self-awareness - First you need to recognize that you have the habit of blaming others. Next time an unfavorable event occurs in your life just STOP for a second and catch yourself before you even can place blame on someone else. Become more aware of the language you use when explaining why an unfavorable event has occurred such as “you should’ve...”, “it’s your fault...”, “you always”, etc. Commit to stopping and thinking first.

2. Self-reflection– Ask yourself what you can learn from the situation. Everyone wants to grow and be a better version of themselves, right? So, start by seeing the good in the bad and looking at ways the situation can help you grow instead of stunting your growth. The situation may not last forever, but the lesson you learn by self-reflecting will.

3. Take accountability – When you find that taking accountability helps you grow, you will find it much easier to stop playing the blame game. I just shared with you a personal story on why taking accountability is important. You may not like this one because it forces you to look in the mirror and own up to your actions, but this is what’s going to make you a better athlete, better leader, and overall better person.

Comment below and let me know which one you will be committing to!

“You do not blame your shadow for the shape of your body: Just the same: Do not blame others for the shape of your experience.”

 — Gillian Duce

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