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Are You Being a Victim or an Owner?

Mar 04, 2024

“Today is a new day. Don't let your history interfere with your destiny! Let today be the day you stop being a victim of your circumstances and start taking action towards the life you want. You have the power and the time to shape your life. Break free from the poisonous victim mentality and embrace the truth of your greatness. You were not meant for a mundane or mediocre life!”

                                                                                       - Steve Maraboli


 Are you being a victim or are you an owner?  


I first heard this question posed several years ago by super coach, Steve Chandler when I was attending one of his great seminars.  


The concept is really quite simple. 


As best we try, we may not be able to control what happens to us in our lives, but we can always control how we respond to it.  The choice is ours; we can live as if we are victimized by our life circumstances or we can own each of them and use the lessons they teach us to propel us forward.


I am reminded of a story about two twin brothers who researchers had studied since the time they were infants. 


Both boys grew up with a father with major personal struggles.  Their dad was drug and alcohol addicted, could not hold down a job, had abandoned them at a young age and had even served time in prison.


The researchers went to question the brothers, now in their early 30's.


The first brother had unfortunately followed in his father's footsteps.  He was a heavy user of drugs and alcohol, could not hold down a job, was estranged from his ex-wife and kids and had been incarcerated.  When researchers asked him why his life had taken the path it had, he responded,


"Well, with a father like mine, how could I be any different?"


They then went to the second brother. 


His life had taken a very different path.  He had graduated college, been married for years to a great woman with whom he had two amazing kids and had a career that he loved in which he was making an impact.  When the researchers asked how he had achieved all he had in his life, he responded, 


"Well, with father like mine, how could I be any different?"


Same situation, same upbringing, two very different perspectives. 


We all experience times in our lives where challenges arise and it can be easy to move into victimhood, blaming others in our lives or our circumstances for our troubles. 


It may even cause us to get discouraged and complain about how challenges continue to hit us, and we can never seem to be able to get ahead.  We can then begin to ask ourselves disempowering questions like, “Why does this always happen to me?” or “Why do people always treat me so poorly?” or “Why can’t I ever catch a break?”.


While it can be easy to play the role of the victim and blame others for our hardships (I know I have), when we get honest with ourselves and take a look at the patterns of misfortune, we will see one common denominator – WE’RE ALWAYS THERE!




With this being the case, here are three questions we can ask ourselves when challenges arise and we feel ourselves slipping into victimhood that can assist us in not only owning the situation, but also transcending it.


1) What is REALLY happening in this situation? – When we slow things down and look at them for what they truly are – WITHOUT OUR STORY – our perspective can dramatically shift. Rather than reacting the situation with unchecked emotion, we can respond to the challenge and set the path for our course of action.


2) What did I do to CREATE, PROMOTE or ALLOW this situation to occur? – We are not talking about a “self-blame game” here.  Rather, it is about taking an objective look at what the actions, inactions or attitudes that we displayed that brought about this situation and how can we change our behavior or perspective in the future to avoid them from occurring again.  It stands to reason if had the power in creating, promoting or allowing the circumstance to occur, then we also have the power to change it.


3) What is my NEXT RIGHT MOVE to deal with this situation? – Having taken accountability for our role in the creation of the challenge, we are now empowered to take action to deal with it.


Two of my teachers, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick of the University of Santa Monica are known to frequently say, “God meets us at the point of action.”  When we find yourselves in challenging situations, we are best served by identifying an appropriate action, regardless of how small, and taking it. 


When we do this, we find things begin to open up and other positive actions to take present themselves, even if that first action is simply asking for help.



As you move forward this week, be aware of the challenges you may be encountering and be mindful of how you are responding.  We never know when our greatest challenges can actually become our greatest gifts.


So, are you a Victim or are you an Owner?  The choice is yours.



Chris Natzke

Black Belt Leadership Speaking & Coaching

PS:  If you are looking to move from victimhood to ownership and experience a breakthrough in your life, check out my Breaking Through Online Course .


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