The Invisible Stone: Why We Sometimes Stumble!

by Yvonne Ruke Akpoveta

In my role as a friend, colleague, change consultant and coach, I often come across ‘invisible stones’ and barriers times without number. I see situations where by subconsciously not taking responsibility for our actions, it holds us back from moving forward.

I was once part of a project that was not moving forward. The project manager and team blamed the leaders for lack of strong leadership and decision making; and the leaders blamed lack of strong project management and employee resistance to change. For me, standing on the outside and looking in without any personal agenda, I was able to see things differently. And one thing that was very clear was the ‘lack of ownership and responsibility’. This scenario is very typical in not one, not two, but many organisations.

When we think we are in the right, and someone else is to blame, it makes it more difficult to achieve any goal individually or collectively.

If you are facing chaos on your team right now, or finding it difficult to move forward on a personal or business goal, stop for a second and reflect on the below questions.

Be it on a colleague, team member, friend, partner, parent or the economy, ask yourself:

  • Am I laying the blame at someone else’s feet for why things are not going well?
  • Am I blaming someone else for why I’m not getting the results I want?
  • Am I taking ownership and responsibility for everything that pertains to me or my team, or am I holding others responsible?

Consciously or even subconsciously, it is easy to lay the blame somewhere else. Are you blaming your past for lack of progress? Are you blaming a bad economy for your present situation? Are you blaming your parents for something they did or did not do? Are you blaming your race or gender for lack of opportunities?

While I would love to empathise with you, that will not change the situation. Empathy may help us feel good temporarily, but does not get to the crux of the matter or produce results. Whatever situation we are facing, someone else has faced it and is facing it, and yet has not let it hold them back.

We can choose to take ownership for the type of results we want, or fill our minds with why it is someone else’s fault why things are not moving forward as desired. When we hold on to a Blame Mindset, which I talk about in my book, The Change You Wantit is difficult to move forward, as there will always be that invisible barrier holding us back.

There are many situations we face and encounter that are out of our control, but how we react, and our attitude is fully and well within our control!

Here are some suggested steps you can take.

  1. Refuse to allow the actions of others demobilise you, stop the blame.
  2. Reflect on your current situation and determine what is within your control and what you can empower yourself to do.
  3. Take ownership and responsibility for your current situation or team as a leader, and open your mind for help and to various routes on how to move forward
  4. Focus your energy on the positive, and on equipping yourself with the skills and resources to help you see the results you desire.

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” – Robert Anthony