Seth Godin reminds us of the importance of going for it 100% in his post about What is Going to be on Your Tombstone. He tells the story of a woman whose bosses prevented her from doing what she wanted. He asked the question if she wanted that on her tombstone. Just thinking about having a tombstone that said "They wouldn’t let me!" is enough to make most of us squirm.
As a project manager, I am often struck by how often I hear other people rationalize about why they didn’t do what they thought was the right thing. This includes not completing an activity, changing jobs, staying in a lousy marriage, working for bad bosses, not going for a better position or being a leader, and a host of other outcomes. They talk about the reasons they couldn’t or the people who "prevented" them from doing what they should have done. It all smacks of victim-hood.
I know a woman who, after divorcing her husband, continues to work in the same department with him and his new girlfriend. As uncomfortable as that sounds, she claims she can’t find a better job out there and so is resolved to stay.
We can consciously work to pile up all the reasons we were not able to pursue our goals or the people who prevented us from getting what we want. Or, we can go flat out for what we want. The difference in the two approaches is the level of intention and our attraction (or repulsion) to being a victim.
Living life as a victim is not very satisfying. It is also irresponsible and dishonest. It is irresponsible because we are all given one life to live. It is dishonest because it doesn’t address the real reasons for our inaction. A more honest approach would be to admit we just didn’t want it badly enough or we were too damned scared to go for it 100%.
Are you going for your life 100%? Or are you creating the list of reasons why you were not able to do just that? Victor or Victim, the choice is up to us.