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4 Ways Playing The Victim Is Sabotaging Your Business

Mindset

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Are you playing the victim in your business? I’m not proud of it, but when I first started my business, I was in full victim mode.

Back then, I was working 12 hours a day trying to do all the things the gurus told me I needed to do to get clients. I was posting on Instagram daily, reaching out to my network, doing masterclasses, go live on Facebook, writing blog posts… You name it, I did it.

And… crickets.

I barely booked any discovery calls – and when I finally got on the phone with someone, they had a long list of excuses why they couldn’t work with me.

I felt so resentful. I was giving people so much free content and coaching sessions – and getting nothing in return! Instead of committed clients, I was attracting women who weren’t serious about taking action towards their goals.

I blamed it on a poor economy. People were struggling to pay their mortgages. Why would they invest in coaching?

I blamed it on the people I was attracting. They were just freeloaders wanting to reach their goals without putting in any efforts.

I blamed it on my parents. They instilled a belief system in me that made it harder to sell (yes, personal development can sometimes be used to play the victim, too).

Does this sound familiar? Are you too working hard and yet you’re not getting the results you want?

If so, you may be playing the victim too…

What Does Playing The Victim Mean?

Playing the victim means you take no responsibility for your life. Everything that happens to you is someone else’s fault and you’re powerless to change it.

You always have an excuse for why you can’t invest in your business, hire a team, do public speaking engagements… The economy is bad. Your partner won’t support you. Your accent is hard to understand…

You complain you’re working so hard without getting results, but you won’t even admit who is the cause of it all: you. Heck, you even get offended if someone points it out to you.

But think about it: who is always there? The circumstances may change, the people involved may be different, but you’re always at the centre of it all.

Why Do People Play The Victim?

Playing the victim is a learned behaviour. We’re taught from the cradle to blame other people for why we can’t do something.

My dad blamed the government and their bad economic policies for why he had to work so hard to bring home so little money.

My mom blamed the high price of child care for why it didn’t make sense for her to get a job when my sister and I were younger.

Growing up, my friends blamed the situation in Italy and “the way things are” for why they can’t quit their jobs and start their businesses.

Think about what you’ve heard growing up. How many times did you hear the people in your life blame their problems on someone else?

Sometimes, it makes sense. The economy may be bad. Childcare may be super expensive where you live. Other people may steal your clients or hurt your business.

But, if you’re done enough mindset work (and if you’re here, you have), you know that, in every situation, there’s always something you can do to take back control and create a different result. So, why aren’t people doing it?

Playing the victim has two advantages.

1. Safety

Playing the victim is a self-sabotaging pattern. You have the power to achieve anything you desire in your life. But, in order to do so, you must be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and do something you’ve never done before.

Your brain is designed to keep you safe. It uses your past to predict your future, so if you’ve never done something before, or you’ve done something and failed, it’ll tell you it can’t be done. Now you’re off the hook and stuck in your safety zone, right where your brain wants you.

Let me give you an example. When I first started doing discovery calls, I was so afraid that, if I were salesy, people wouldn’t like me. When they told me they didn’t have the money or time to sign up, I accepted that excuse – and then blamed it on a bad economy or their lack of commitment.

In reality, I wasn’t willing to help them overcome their objections for fear they’d perceive me as pushy and wouldn’t like me.

For this to change, I had to first take responsibility for my lack of results and then be willing to have those objection-overcoming conversations – even though I didn’t feel safe. The first few times, I was shaking.

But after a while, I started getting comfortable with it and eventually broke through my people pleasing tendencies – and clients started enrolling into my programmes. The economy never had anything to do with it.

2. Belonging

Love. Acceptance. Belonging. To humans, these needs are as important as food, water, and sleep. Literally. Back when we were living in caves, if you were exiled from the tribe, you’d be eaten by a wild animal or killed by the elements.

We don’t face the same risks today, but your brain doesn’t know it. Your brain is wired to seek love and approval from your tribe. Guess what happens when you stop playing the victim and go for your goals? The people around you may not like you anymore.

When I reached 3K a month, my income stopped growing. I was doing all the things the gurus were telling me to do and, when they weren’t working, I blamed it on everything and everyone else: I was too introverted, people selling courses that didn’t work, a bad economy…

In reality, I was scared that, if I made more money than my ex-partner and my dad, they wouldn’t love me anymore and they’d leave me. As long as I played the victim, I had their sympathy and their love.

In reality, this is a false choice. Your brain believes it because it doesn’t have an experience of you being successful and loved yet. But you can belong and be successful. Once I broke though this fear, I was able to double my income and the people I love didn’t leave me.

3 Ways Playing The Victim Sabotages Your Business

Playing the victim sabotages your business in several ways:

  1. It attracts other victims to you: Like attracts like. If you’re always making excuses why you can’t invest in a coach, raise your prices, or work on the projects that interest you, you’re going to attract people who behave in the same way – and stay stuck and broke.
  2. It repels money: The clients who have both the money and ability to pay your high prices don’t want to work with a victim. They want to work with inspiring leaders who break through their limitations and find a way to make their goals happen. Your ideal clients are all around you, but right now, your energy is repelling them.
  3. You give your power away: When you blame your clients, a bad economy, or anything outside your control, you believe you’re powerless and can’t make a change. You’re always waiting for other people and circumstances to change – and that never happens.

Related: Is Your Money Story Keeping You Broke?

How To Know You’re Playing The Victim

It doesn’t matter how much mindset work you’ve been doing, we all play the victim from time to time – it’s human nature. But the more work you do on yourself, the harder it is to see it for yourself. Here are a few signs you’re playing the victim instead of being the leader of your business:

1. You’re Not Taking Responsibility

The first question to ask yourself is: am I blaming others for my current circumstances?

Back when I was struggling to attract clients, I blamed it on a global pandemic that made people reluctant to spend money, on potential clients that weren’t committed enough to invest, on social media platforms that hid my posts from my followers… The whole word was against me!

Feeling powerless to change your circumstances and blaming other people are two tell tale signs of victimhood.

When you focus on what’s outside of your control, you’re off the hook. You get sympathy from other people and you don’t have to do anything to change your circumstances. You also stay stuck where you are and never reach your goals.

HOW TO FIX IT

You can’t control the economy, other people, or external circumstances. But, in every situation, there’s something you can control: you. You can control how you react to whatever happens to you.

I didn’t cause a global pandemic and I couldn’t force people to say yes to working with me. But I could look at what I was doing and what I needed to change.

One change, shared above, was being willing to have the tough conversations on discovery calls to help people overcome their objections.

The other was looking at all the things I was doing to generate leads. I was spending most of my time on Instagram and I barely got any clients from it! Clients came from masterclasses and speaking engagements!

When I realised that, I got off social media (best thing I ever did!) and started doing more speaking engagements so I could attract the right clients.

No matter what you’re going through, when you take responsibility for what’s happening to you, you can always find a solution to turn things around. The only question is, are you willing to do it?

TAKE ACTION NOW

Where in your business are you blaming other people or external circumstances for your lack of results? And, if you stepped into responsibility, what can you do to reach your goal?

Related: Who Do You Need To Become To Build Your Dream Business?

2. You Believe The World Is A Bleak Place

Another sign you’re playing the victim is seeing the world as a bleak place. At the time I’m writing this, we just got out a global pandemic, we’re in the middle of an energy crisis, and the UK is entering a recession. Pretty much every other country in the world has its problems too.

It’s easy to see everything bleak and buy into the excuse that people don’t have the money to buy your services – even when you greatly discount them.

BUT… at the same time this is going on, there are women building thriving businesses and reaching 7-figures. There are more millionaires in the world right now than there have ever been. There are women who find the money to invest because they know it’s going to support them to reach their goals.

My own coach, the amazing Florence Andrews, went from almost losing her home at the beginning of the pandemic to close to 6-figures in 2 years. That’s the company I want to keep. She reminds me of what’s possible when you don’t buy into “the world is a bleak place” and you keep going for your dreams no matter what.

Who are you surrounding yourself with?

This may piss you off, BUT surrounding yourself with people who make excuses not to invest or pursue their dreams is a way for you to keep playing small.

HOW TO FIX IT

Your brain is always looking for proof that your beliefs are true. If you believe that people don’t have the money to invest in your services, you’re only going to see people who struggle.

To create a different belief, you need to collect different proof. In this case, to create the belief that people have money to invest in your services, you need to start hanging out with people who can invest in your services.

TAKE ACTION NOW

What are you believing that’s not serving you and what can you do to change that?

3. You Believe Everything Is Happening To You

When something bad happens to you, do you take it as a sign that everyone is against you and that you’re not meant to do this?

When people kept saying no to working with me at the beginning of my business, I couldn’t understand why it was happening. If this was my calling, shouldn’t it be easy? I started blaming the global pandemic, the unfair IG algorithm, heck even the universe…

When you believe there’s no rhyme or reason for what happens to you, it’s easy to fall into victim mode and feel powerless to make a change.

HOW TO OVERCOME IT

Your challenges are an opportunity for growth. They’re not here to punish you. They’re here to make you stronger, teach you powerful lessons, and shape you into the person who can achieve your goals.

When I stepped into responsibility, I realised the people pleaser in me was buying into people’s stories of why they couldn’t invest in my services. This challenge was here to help me break through my people pleasing tendencies, so I could help them overcome their excuses and finally take steps towards their goals.

When I was willing to pay the price of people not liking me and started challenging their excuses, clients started coming in – and they were grateful I believed in them so much to take a stand for their dreams.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Think of a challenge you’re experiencing right now.

  1. What is this challenge here to teach you?
  2. How can this challenge support you in going to the next level in your business?
  3. How can you practice gratitude for this challenge?
  4. List a few challenges you’ve overcome in the past and all the ways they helped you get to where you are right now.

4. You Believe You Don’t Have The Money/Time/Resources To Achieve Your Dreams

Newsflash: most people don’t have the money under the mattress to invest in a coach, connections with big influencers, or even supportive friends who encourage them to take risks.

Waiting to have everything lined up before you take action is a way to play the victim. “I would, if only I could…”

As long as you believe you can’t make it happen, you won’t take action. Now you’re off the hook and don’t have to get out of your comfort zone to get the resources you need.

HOW TO OVERCOME IT

If you truly desire something, there’s always a way to make it happen. You can find a way to make the money, get the connections, come up with whatever you need.

When I enrolled in my first online course to grow my business, I didn’t have all the money in my bank account. I had enough for the first payment and I trusted that, once I started implementing what I learned, the money would come – and it did. I made my investment back within a few weeks – and double my income within 3 months!

Not having all the resources already available isn’t an excuse to quit. It’s an opportunity to get creative and resourceful.

TAKE ACTION NOW

What goal are you telling yourself you can’t reach because you don’t have the money/time/connections/etc for it? Whatever it is, get creative and brainstorm a few ways to get what you need. Then, take action on one. Today.

Related: Why “I Don’t Have Time” Is Just An Excuse

How To Stop Playing The Victim In Your Business

All the victimhood signs I’ve shared above have one thing in common: they’re stories you’re telling yourself.

When you’re in victim mode, you bought into the story the world is a bad place, or that you’ll never have all the money and resources you need to make your dreams come true, or that other people are to blame for your circumstances.

You’re telling yourself a story based on lack. The way out is to rewrite your story based on abundance and focus on what you want to create.

TAKE ACTION NOW

Take pen and paper and journal on these questions:

  1. What’s the victim story you’re currently telling yourself?
  2. Write down all the reasons why this story is wrong. Bonus points if you can see how some of these challenges can help you get stronger and master skills to help you reach your goals.
  3. What’s your vision? What do you want to create in your business and life?
  4. What new story and beliefs would support you in creating that vision?

Wrapping It Up

When you stop playing the victim and start taking full responsibility for everything that’s happening in your business, you’re going to see a huge shift in the clients, opportunities, and money you’re attracting. Are you ready to become the leader your business needs and finally get the results you want?

Are you an overwhelmed female entrepreneur, coach, or service-based provider ready to break through your current plateau and reach your next income level?

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I'm Giorgia, transformational coach on a mission to help you break through your subconscious blocks to success and become the confident leader who can make bold moves, so you can finally reach your big business and income goals without hustling.

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