Are You a Victim or a Player?


By Danielle Siegel, PCC, LCSW. In his book, Conscious Business, Fred Kofman writes about unconditional response-ability which he defines as our ability to respond to a situation by choice and not external circumstances or instinct. It is about being conscious of our response to situations, leading to self-empowerment, by allowing us to focus on what we can influence vs. what is out of our control. How are you going to choose to play that crappy “hand of cards” you were dealt?

How you play that hand will be influenced by whether you are in a victim or a player mindset. A victim’s mentality is one of defensiveness and choicelessness. It’s the thinking, “This happened to me.” A victim will focus on factors that he/she can’t influence and they see themselves at the mercy of external circumstances. Self-esteem is gained by claiming innocence and not taking ownership of situations that didn’t go well by blaming others.

The opposing, player mentality, is about taking responsibility. We always have a choice in how we respond. The focus is on what we can influence. A player gains self-esteem through doing their personal best. Problems are not blamed on others, but instead focus on self as an important contributor — leading to problem-solving when things don’t go well. As Kofman illustrates, when asking a group of people “Why did the pen fall?” after dropping it to the ground, a victim will respond “Because of gravity,” while a player will say “Because you let go.”

We can all fall into the victim mindset because it can feel easier and better in the moment, but in the long term, this can get in the way of effective problem-solving and living with integrity. I leave you with these questions to reflect upon:

  1. When has being a victim come up in your own life, and how would you like to reframe that mindset to a player?
  2. Think about an example of a victim mentality in one of your direct reports. How will you help that person navigate from victim to player?
  3. How do you want to use this knowledge moving forward?

For more about Mindset, read Arden Coaching’s blog, “Shape Your Mindset: How Do You Choose To View the World?” To learn more about response, responsibility, and the player mindset, schedule a consultation with Danielle.