Updated: Aug 29, 2019
Replace blame with creativity.
A good friend of mine once sat and listened to me for hours as I complained about a company I was contracting with.
Afterward, I apologized, embarrassed about having going on and on.
She said, "No problem. But if we hadn't been talking about them, we could've been talking about you."
What a gorgeous, loving call-out.
Engaging in blame provided me with both:
a) distraction from doing the things I could've been doing but was anxious about
b) supportive attention, which just rewarded me for not making any changes.
I made this video because I'm hearing from all sides that:
whenever you blame, you are wasting energy that could be put toward creativity.
This is a separate thing from the reality of the situation. That person may indeed be a superjerk, the organization may indeed be a disaster. That said, this exercise is about taking total personal responsibility for our lives, including our professional experience, going forward.
When I think of the creativity that you and I have; I want to move more quickly from pouring our creative energy into detailing why blame is so justified and shift to putting it into creative action.
Here's a question I frequently ask job seekers who want to change companies, but who have a consuming situation, team, or leader they're dealing with at work:
"What could you accomplish with the energy you're putting into thinking about that person or situation?"
How many networking meetings could you have set up? How many jobs could you have applied to? How much more productive could you be? How much more energy could you have for the things that are important to you outside of work?
Please don't blame yourself, either. All this is coming from someone whose mother has told her countless times,
"You don't have to get more data on how wrong something is before you change it."
I'm doing an experiment. When I feel blameful or critical (about myself or others), I am working to not express it. I'm not repressing or suppressing it, either.
Instead, I am allowing myself to feel what is really going on underneath (maybe it's fear of doing something that puts me outside of my comfort zone, for instance) and then I'm asking myself:
If I choose to take this negative energy and put it instead toward creativity...what might I do?
When I think about my clients, I think of someone who understandably blamed his lack of job search traction on his narrow corporate experience and the smallness of the particular niche market.
When he redirected his energy into creativity, he started doing new things. One of those new things was to "court" a leader in the field he wanted to be in.
You know how this ends, right? The energy he got back by stopping his (justified, reasonable, data-backed) blame...enabled him to have more creative ideas, and now he's working for that same leader in a role he's really proud of.
He needed other things, too, like a brand revamp, new language to talk about himself, an updated LinkedIn profile, and some fresh strategy...but the redirection of energy from blame to creativity enabled the effectiveness of everything else.
Julia Cameron, in her book, The Artist's Way, talks about how the "crazymakers" in our lives provide us the excuse to not use our gifts. You can read more about this in the book, The Joy of Genius.
Like teachers in psychology, business, and spirituality, I think blame is a sign that your standards are raising and that the next level of expression of your gifts wants to come forth.
Congrats! If this is the case for you, I hope you'll set up a free call with me.
I'm in your corner, Emma
Emma Garrett is an Executive Career Coach, helping high-integrity leaders position themselves for what’s next in work and life. Ready to start doing things differently? Consider scheduling a free call to share your situation and goals or checking out the resources at www.emma-garrett.com/content.