In this episode of the Feminine Business School podcast you’ll hear me share:
++ 3 surprising reasons why many of us find ourselves stuck playing the victim in our businesses, (it’s very common!)
++ Exactly how to identify where you’re playing the victim in your business and how it’s holding you back from what it is you desire,
++ What psychological research on dogs (who were electrocuted!) shows us about humans feeling helpless and stuck and how you can apply the findings to your own life and business,
++ One simple and potent action to identify if you’re embodying the victim, so you can move back into your power.
LET’S DIVE IN
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Hi hi lovely listener, it’s Ainslie Young here, your host of the Feminine Business School podcast and today we are going to cover something that I witness often in many business owners, Particularly female identifying folk and this particular challenge can really derail your business and your ability to achieve your goals….
…so what am I talking about?
I’m talking about Victim Mentality or as I see it, embodying the victim in our businesses.
So maybe you’ve found yourself saying things like….
It’s not fair! Nothing ever works out for me. Everything is so difficult in my business.
Or I never have enough time to build my business…there’s always too much to do or
I just can’t get good support so I may as well just do it all myself.
I feel so helpless, I may as well give up. I have no power over this situation.
I’m curious – does any of this sound familiar? Well if you’re nodding your head as you listen in, you’re not alone. And I know I have said some of those things multiple times!
The truth is so many of us feel like we have the odds stacked against us, especially when we’re starting out in business. We can perceive that external circumstances are the reasons for our businesses not performing or getting the results we desire. In psychological terms, this is when we’re embodying an External Locus of Control.
Now of course, occasionally there are certain situations that are outside of your control, the pandemic for example….but most aren’t.
So why do many of us (again, me included) stay stuck in playing the victim in our business?
The thing is the ‘victim experience’ can offer you a small gain. So for example, when your embodying the victim you can experience pleasure because you receive some extra attention or even pity from others as you regale them with your tale of woe. People who embody the victim love drama!
Also, not taking responsibility for a problem within your business can be liberating and you can feel like ‘you’re off the hook’…there’s a sense of relief because you feel you have a genuine excuse not to perform.
Also, embodying the victim can be a blind spot for many women in business. So many of us don’t even realize we are exhibiting victim mentality behaviour.
The thing is we all have a little bit of ‘playing the victim’ in our lives and businesses whether we choose to admit it or not.
But I’ve got some good news for you – when you become aware of this victim role that you’re embodying or the victim mindset that drives you, you can correct it and you no longer run your business from a place of learned helplessness.
And before I share how you can actually identify where you may be playing the victim specifically in your business I want to speak to the theory of learned helplessness because I feel it will showcase nicely how us humans can so easily fall into the trap of playing the victim.
So one of the first psychological theories I learned when I studied my psychology degree, was Martin Seligman’s learned helplessness theory.
His research on classical conditioning, or the process by which an animal or human associates one thing with another. In the case of Seligman’s experiment, he would ring a bell and then give a light shock to a dog. After a number of times, the dog reacted to the shock even before it happened: as soon as the dog heard the bell, he reacted as though he’d already been shocked.
But, then something unexpected happened. Seligman put each dog into a large crate that was divided down the middle with a low fence. The dog could see and jump over the fence if necessary. The floor on one side of the fence was electrified, but not on the other side of the fence. Seligman put the dog on the electrified side and administered a light shock. He expected the dog to jump to the non-shocking side of the fence.
Instead, the dogs lay down. It was as though they’d learned from the first part of the experiment that there was nothing they could do to avoid the shocks, so they gave up in the second part of the experiment.
Seligman described their condition as learned helplessness, or not trying to get out of a negative situation because the past has taught you that you are helpless.
And in all good psychological research, we always do more experiments to prove or disprove a hypothesis…so After the dogs didn’t jump the fence to escape the shock, Seligman tried the second part of his experiment on dogs that had not been through the classical conditioning part of the experiment. The dogs that had not been previously exposed to shocks quickly jumped over the fence to escape the shocks. This told Seligman that the dogs who lay down and acted helpless had actually learned that helplessness from the first part of his experiment. Seligman described their condition as learned helplessness, or not trying to get out of a negative situation because the past has taught you that you are helpless.
Isn’t that fascinating…and I’m sure you may be able to think of times in your business when you’ve been that poor dog laying down just waiting for the next shock or crappy thing to happen!
Ok – now let me share with you a few more specific examples of when you may be embodying the victim in your business.
Now the victim always, always shows up when you’re not getting what you want. Maybe no one is signing up to work with you, your VA is letting you down.. and as I mentioned earlier. You find yourself saying this isn’t fair! And you blame everyone and everything else for these challenges that keep popping up.
The victim also shows up when you have no boundaries. You’re always saying yes when you mean no – to your clients, to your team and even to yourself. You’re probably overgiving because you feel helpless.
Another sign that you’re acting from a victim state is that you take things personally…always. When a client doesn’t pay an invoice on time, when your instagram post isn’t getting the reach you desire, when no one is signing up to your workshop….everything feels very personal.
And the thing is, when we’re operating from the victim it keeps us very small. It keeps our business very small. You feel held back yet helpless…and your goals feel so unattainable.
I want you to know that we are really great at bullshitting ourselves and the victim within us all is a great bull shitter.
And that’s why the embodiment work I do with clients is so powerful, because we go deep into where the victim energy lives in the body and then we liberate it.
But here’s something you can try yourself when you become aware that you’re embodying the victim role in your business…and my invitation is to ask yourself this powerful question…
Am I acting in alignment with my purpose and my vision for my business or am I acting from the victim?
And see how your mind and body responds!
Ok, so that’s it for today! We have covered a fair bit of ground. But I really want to reiterate the power of a) acknowledging if and when you are playing the victim in your business and then b) essentially saying to yourself…ok, well what am I going to do about it? And take action!! Action is key!
I hope this episode has been helpful! And maybe you could think of a few people in your life who could do with listening in – if so, feel free to take a screenshot, tag me and share it on instagram….it may be a more sublte hint than directly sharing it with them!
And if you feel you’d benefit from some 1:1 support to help you overcome any challenges you have with victimhood in your business- just reach out. We can book you in for a complimentary session. In this session we’ll do 3 things. I can help you identify your biggest challenges in your business and how you can overcome it so you can reach your goals. I’ll also map out a customized timeline of how you can achieve your business goals and then if you’d like to know how I can personally support you in achieving your business goals we can talk about your best next steps.
Ok until next time…revel in the pleasure of your business, pay attention to any victomhood and I’ll speak with you soon!