One of the hardest parts of having a victim mentality is identifying whether or not you have one. If we’re really honest with ourselves, we all struggle with this in one way or another. If we’re aware of what the victim mentality looks like, or what that even means, then it’s easy to identify in other people, but sometimes hard to identify in ourselves.
If you’re not interested in identifying the victim mindsets in yourselves and how that affects your business, then this post is not for you. However, if you want to grow your business and reach your dreams, and you’re willing to do a little dirty work to get there, read on.
What is a Victim Mentality?
To define this mindset, we first need to be familiar with what it means to have an internal locus of control versus an external locus of control. This is what we believe controls our actions, which then influences our behaviors and attitudes about life.
People with an internal locus of control operate under the belief that we control our own actions and influences our behaviors and attitudes as if we have control over what happens to us.
Those who operate with an external locus of control operate under the belief that we do not control our own actions, but rather events and circumstances in our environment influences our behaviors and attitudes.
Most of us fall somewhere on a spectrum between them. This is another reason why it’s so hard to identify—we may have internal locus of control in some areas of our lives, but still others may not be that way at all.
To move across the spectrum in a specific direction, we have to be intentional.
Do You Have a Victim Mentality?
I can guarantee that you have some kind of victim mentality somewhere. As I said before, unless we are intentional about the transformation, we move along this spectrum constantly.
In business, this can inhibit our growth. Having a victim mindset makes it difficult to take chances and risks, we may struggle to get outside of our comfort zone and be led by the fear and the “what if” scenarios in our lives. This comes from a deep seated belief that our outcomes cannot be affected by our own efforts.
Think about the following statements and ask yourself if you’ve ever thought any of these:
- I sometimes experience difficult situations and they seem huge and I am in panic mode, only to realize after the situation is over that it probably wasn’t that big of a deal.
- I want to be able to do [insert goal here], but I can’t because…
- This situation makes me feel hopeless. I should just give up.
- I know I did this successfully, but that was just luck. I didn’t do anything to deserve it.
- I am this way because someone/something/some event made me this way.
- I behaved/acted this way because [something] made me do it.
No shame game here. Think carefully about those situations see if there’s a common theme. Is there an aspect of your life where you feel that way more often than in other areas?
A little authenticity here- I did this exercise recently.
As someone who struggles with mental illness, I definitely struggle with feeling like I am undeserving of the attention and accolades I get from reselling and running a successful business. Where other people see success, I see the thousands of failures that got me there. Sometimes I feel like I did get lucky. And maybe the cards did play well for me, but I shouldn’t deny the hard work I had to put in to get here. I’m writing this blog in the middle of the night, after putting my children into bed. I really wanted to fall asleep watching a movie, but I chose to do this instead. I know that plays a part in my success, just as much (if not more) than luck.
So, identify the parts of your life where you’re experiencing victim mindsets and then, let’s work on changing those mindsets to something that can help you grow and thrive!
People with an internal locus of control, or a growth mindset, are generally more responsible, steadfast in their beliefs, more productive, and most importantly, they’re happier and more confident. We need these kinds of people running businesses, because those businesses are more successful and twice as likely to be thrive.
Practical Steps to Adjust Victim Mentality
1. Identify the Parts of Your Thinking that Identify with the Victim Mindset
Go over the statements I listed before and think about specific times where you have thought or felt them. If you’re not sure about it, then go on about your life, but pay attention to your mindsets. When you start thinking negatively, you feel unsure or not confident, take note of that. These are all signifiers of mindsets that need adjusting.
Please note: There is NOTHING wrong with you when you feel these emotions. Emotions are not inherently good or bad. They’re just pointing to what’s going on inside of you. When you feel negative emotions, you’re telling yourself that something needs attention, a need is not being met, or you need some adjusting. We all feel them. Growth is a process, not a destination. Shame or guilt will shut down your growth in an instant.
2. Take Responsibility for that Mindset
The only way that you can change a mindset is to own it. Take captive that thought and challenge it. The minute you blame someone, something, or some event, you give your power to change it away.
Remember that you have the power to change your circumstances. When you take control, your life will change for the better. This is the moment when you start doing life instead of life just happening to you.
3. Surround Yourself With The Right People
Negative people beget negativity. If you find yourself around people who speak in the statements I listed before, then don’t be surprised when you find yourself thinking the same way. If you surround yourself with people who facilitate that growth mindset, you’ll find it second nature to adopt the same habits.
You have control of not just your mindsets, but your environment as well and they influence each other so both must be growth minded. Choose wisely.
4. Have an Attitude of Gratitude.
Choosing growth minded people helps you control your outside environment and having gratitude helps you control the environment inside of you. Victim mindset statements are focused on what you don’t have. It gives you an idea that you are lacking and gives you the impression that you don’t have what it takes to succeed.
Having an attitude of gratitude can give you a bigger picture mindset, and instead of focusing on what you don’t have that you need, you can focus on what you do have and how to use that to get where you want to go.
Practically speaking, pay attention to your thoughts, and when you find yourself focusing on the lacking, start listing what you do have. I promise you, this works. I actually take time every morning to write something I’m grateful for every day. Don’t skip this. It will change your life.
5. Change Your Negative Thoughts to Positive Ones
Your mindset sets your entire reality. When you think negatively, you will subconsciously bring more negative into your life. But, intentionally changing your thoughts into a more positive light allows you to bring more positivity.
Just changing the way you think can help you unlock the potential to change your environment and control it.
If you’re comfortable enough to share, tell me—what parts of your life have you overcome a victim mindset? And what did you do to achieve growth?