In business and in life, this is an all-important axiom.
Sometimes the shit happens to you.
Sometimes the shit is self-inflicted.
Sometimes the shit is accidental.
Sometimes the shit is malicious.
Sometimes the shit is totally random.
But here’s the thing: the shit doesn’t define you.
It’s how you respond to the shit that defines you.
I think this concept is articulated perfectly in Brad Feld’s post on victims and leaders.
A few months ago, I channeled my inner Mike Tomlin at a FullContact All Hands when describing this concept and said “There are no victims at FullContact.”
I had spent too long dealing with a few victims in my life and was done. I wouldn’t tolerate any victims at FullContact.
I admit – I had also behaved like a victim on far too many occasions.
In case you don’t know what victim behavior sounds like, here are a few examples:
“They fucked us.”
“He totally fucked us over!”
“That fucker, it’s all his fault.”
“We wouldn’t be in this mess if not for her – It’s all her fucking fault.”
“Oh Yeah? Well YOU did X and Y and Z”
Usually these phrases are accompanied by angry body language and defensive tones.
When shit happens, victims deflect blame on someone else rather than owning their own behavior.
And it’s understandable – it’s super easy to play the role of victim. It’s a much easier to assign blame rather than looking inward at one’s own actions.
For some, it can be nearly impossible to admit they were wrong or admit fault.
But, ultimately, that reaction creates a toxic death spiral of victim behavior and it prevents the shit – whatever it is – from being fixed.
Shit ALWAYS happens.
And when it does, make a conscience choice in your response.
The choice makes all the difference.