We are all guilty of playing the “victim” from time to time. Being a victim has it’s advantages – the biggest being that it justifies inaction. After all, if you have a good reason for not moving forward and taking risks, you’re off the hook, right?
If you are a solopreneur – projecting the persona of a “victim” will cripple your business.
Put yourself a potential customers shoes and ask the following questions
- Would I prefer to work with someone who feels like a victim of their circumstances? (or one who feels “in control”?)
- If the business owner isn’t even sure the product is good enough – should I risk buying it?
- Am I confident in hiring a person who sees limitations everywhere? (Or would I prefer to work with someone is determined to “make it work” regardless of what obstacles get in the way?)
How do you know if you’re acting like a victim?
The sad fact is that many of us take on the victim role to some degree – and we aren’t even aware of it. We’ve become so conditioned to question and doubt ourselves, to place blame and to make excuses, that sometimes we don’t even realize we’re doing it. (I’ve been so good at playing the victim that I convinced myself I was just a realist)
Before you decide “that’s not me,” take a good look at the clues that I’ve listed below. Give yourself that 20,000 foot view of your business (where you really step back and detach from the emotional response and look objectively) and ask yourself if you do any of these things. If you do, then it’s likely that you are (even subconsciously) giving off a sense of powerlessness. You may appear far less confident than you think.
Recognizing and changing these can mean the difference between winning the sale – or not.
Clue 5: Waiting for someone else to “do something”
Perhaps you have a proposal being reviewed by an important vendor, and are waiting for them to sign it before you take the next step. Everything relies on the decision this vendor makes. You’ve handed your power over to them, and chances are they know it.
Alternate choice: Let the vendor sense that you have a strong “plan b” in your pocket. Sure there are things you can’t do at this moment, but you CAN lay the groundwork for the next steps. Keep taking action – even if it’s something as simple as “planning”. Be prepared to switch vendors if necessary. Having other “options” can make you feel powerful and in control.
Clue 4: Blaming the economy
It’s so easy, especially in these times, to feel victimized by the economy. It seems as though most everyone is doing it! I’m sure you’re tired of hearing this, but it’s true, in any economy there are people who can afford to work with you.
Alternate choice: Really look at your customer avatar (ideal client persona) and ask – “Is my marketing aimed at this person? or do I need to change it?” Focus your time and energy on those who can afford your product.
View your finances in a more powerful way. See the money you spend on your business as an investment, vs. a “drain” on your resources. Create a lean, mean business. Maybe that means you don’t buy the top of the line business tools just yet. Discover what is or isn’t a necessity. Notice, as you find other solutions, how creative you are becoming! You’ll find this brings great rewards later, when your income increases, and you know how to keep your expenses under control.
Clue 3: Feeling like a fraud
Powerlessness comes from a feeling that “I’m not xxxx enough” (“xxxx” can be anything like good, smart, rich, educated etc). With that often comes the fear of “being discovered” as a “fraud”.
When you are afraid that you or your product really aren’t up to the task – you will give your power away to someone you think “is” enough. Doubt can be a business killer! Your presentation and negotiating skills suffer. If you question whether or not you are the ‘best choice” for a client, the client will notice and begin to question too!
Alternate choice: Get rid of that need to be perfect! Focus on your past successes – both in and out of your business. Recall a time when were you “worried” you weren’t good enough and discovered you really were.
Objectively look at times when you lost the sale and uncover the reason why. Make adjustments as necessary. Listen to customers and prospects and adjust, tweak and transform your product or service to meet the demands of your ideal client.
Keep this quote handy for when you doubt yourself:
Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning. ~Bill Gates
Clue 2: Procrastinating
Victims procrastinate. Victors act.
I have a theory about procrastination – I believe that we procrastinate in order to avoid pain. In other words, we play victim to the fear of pain. (i.e.: It’s going to be painful if we launch this new project and no one buys)
We avoid taking action for as long as we can. We wait until the very last moment to do what we need to do. (Then, if it does fail, our procrastination gives us a great excuse – we didn’t have enough time) Sometimes we will even sabotage ourselves by not doing it at all!
Alternate choice: Ask yourself – what am I afraid of? If it is a genuine fear, then find a way to ease it. Face your fear. Take Action.
Clue 1: Making Excuses
This is the biggest and most common sign of “victimhood”.
When we make excuses we give our power over to those very things.
Here’s an example:
“I hit every red light and I’m late” . This excuse takes the power from us and gives the power to the red lights. You chose to leave when you did, and could have left a few moments earlier.
Alternate choice: Next time you hear an excuse popping up, take responsibility. Ask yourself what YOU could have done differently. Know the difference between and excuse (I hit all the red lights) and a real reason (there was an accident, I was stuck on the highway for 2 hours – no exit ramps or ways around it).
These are just a few of the ways we portray ourselves as victims.
What other clues do you recognize when someone is playing the victim?
Please share your thoughts in the comments.