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Are you a victor or victim?

Lee Dickinson, a licensed business coach with ActionCOACH, explains why you must always be accountable for your actions, in life, sport and business.

Are you 100% responsible for you? It’s a key and sometimes difficult question for even the most honest person to answer.

People who take ownership of their situation, hold themselves accountable to their dreams, plans and actions, and take full responsibility for their performance and behaviours are victors. Not surprisingly, these people are the ones we like, who make us feel good to be with, happy to share our friendship with, and pleased to work with.

Victims make excuses for failure and refuse to shoulder the blame. Would you ever hire services from a supplier, or buy your goods from a shopkeeper who behaved in this manner? Just imagine how you would react if your grocery delivery didn’t show up, and when you called to get it sorted the shop-keeper told you that he had no record of the arrangement? You wouldn’t buy there again in a hurry.

I learnt early on in my life that there was a line, and that to prosper, I needed to stay on the right side of it. At the age of 15 I got my first taste of real disappointment when my cricket coach selected me in the team to play in the Salford Youth Cricket Cup final, but instructed the captain not to bowl me.

We won, but when I asked the coach why I hadn’t bowled he shrugged and told me that having watched me being smashed for 30 runs off four overs in the semi-final, he had been irritated by me chastising the fielders for not trying harder to stop the ball going to the boundary.

I hadn’t accepted the responsibility for my lousy bowling. I was in denial and behaving as if I, the real source of the problem, was the victim. So at the end of the game, he had decided he would teach me a lesson by not letting me bowl in the biggest match in my life.

It would have been far easier for him to write it off as a one-off, especially since in the games between the semi-final and the final I had bowled well. But it wasn’t the performance that troubled him; it was my attitude, and in particular, my excuses.

Thirty four years on, I have never failed to take responsibility for my bowling ever again. His lesson worked, not just in cricket, but in life. It is important to be willing to take responsibility and shoulder the blame. Clients look for it in us, so do our bosses, our wives and husbands, and we seek it in them in turn.

In a workplace, we must be clear that staff, colleagues, peers, HR heads, and certainly the recruiters and prospective new bosses seek these qualities in abundance. They might not say if we don’t demonstrate them, but be very clear, they’ll marginalise us if we carry negative attitudes and behaviours that show us to be a victim.

The message is clear: if you want to get on in life….take ownership, be accountable and be responsible.

The Tennis Industry Association is working with Lee Dickinson, a licensed business coach with ActionCOACH, to provide business mentoring to its members. To find out more about, visit Lee’s blog. To contact Lee, call 07717 702084, email him or follow him on Twitter