Every day we are faced with numerous circumstances and situations over which we have no control. However, we can always control who we’re going to be in those moments and how we’ll react to each situation.
The choice is yours: You can deal with problems like a Worrier (i.e., by being a victim, blaming others, and making excuses for yourself). Or you can deal with problems like a Warrior, meaning you accept and own the reality and approach problems head on.
Worriers tend to complain. Warriors avoid complaining, because they understand that even when their complaints are valid, focusing on them is a waste of time. Doing so only weakens them and makes them smaller than their problems.
Worriers often feel their problems are larger than them, and they let challenging or overwhelming circumstances conquer them. Warriors know they have a choice about their attitude and the way they’re going to respond to the tough situations with which they’re faced. And they never stop moving forward.
Worriers say things like “it’s not fair” and “why me?” On the other hand, Warriors ask: “What do I do now? What can I control here? What difference can I make? And how can I make the best of this?” They always take the stand that they are larger than their circumstances.
Warriors live by a “no victim, no suffering” code. They typically gravitate towards doing work they enjoy, or they bring love to their work. In other words, they “do what they love or love what they do.” They bring a positive, productive energy to whatever they tackle, and even if they don’t love every aspect of their work, they do everything in their power to at least own it. This means genuinely accepting and making the best of things. And if they can’t own it, they leave it.
Warriors know they make a difference. They have faith in themselves and their intentions. If they don’t feel they can make a positive difference in their current environment, they always stay true to their values, act with courage, and make the tough decisions. They leave and go to a different team, role, or environment where they can express themselves and make a difference. They don’t allow themselves to recede into a victim mentality or to become resentful, which is what typically happens when people sell out on living up to their values, principles, and vision.
Worriers can spend their entire careers being cynical and resigned. They often view the world as “unkind,” their luck as “unfortunate,” and their options and possibilities as “scarce.” A client once described his job to me as his “eight-hour inconvenience.” Yet, he had been working in that same company for many years. You can imagine which camp he belongs to.
The global workforce is filled with people who spend their entire careers and lives in the Worrier space. In fact, the Worrier space is still the norm in most companies. The problem is that it takes a tremendous level of numbness and unconsciousness to sustain this existence.
Warriors are not perfect by any means. They have the same fears, anxieties, hang-ups, concerns, and doubts that Worriers have. What makes them Warriors is that they act with courage. They understand and accept that courage is not the absence of fear, but rather being afraid and living up to your vision and commitment anyway.
Worriers are often very circumstantial. They typically have a good reason for why they can’t have what they want, or a good story about why it’s not the right time. They keep waiting for the fear to subside or the obstacles to evaporate, or they play it small and safe enough to not provoke fear in the first place.
Building your Warrior muscle is ultimately about developing courage: The courage to be vulnerable and authentic, to be open and honest, and to try new things. Everyone – men and women, young people and those nearing retirement – can be Warrior, but only if they are willing to take ownership of their careers and lives.
More to come on this in my next blog. Stay tuned.