Transcript: I was delivered a real head-shaker the other day, the kind of thing that my late Grandma Bulmer, bless her heart, might have referred to as a “rude surprise.” I’m hoping that you can’t relate, but I bet you will, and I can sum it up in five words.
Let’s see if this sounds familiar: you open your mail one day, and you’re flabbergasted to find that you’ve got a bill, a big bill, an enormous, “this-can’t-be-happening-and-somebody-must-have-messed-up-somewhere” kind of bill.
Or, it doesn’t even necessarily need to be an invoice; just some sort of a notice where it’s clear that somebody screwed up somewhere. But rather than it saying “Here’s what happened, and here’s what we’re going to do about it,” it comes across as, “Here. It’s yours. You deal with it.”
Ever had that happen? I have. It happened to me just last week.
But I’m not talking about being victims. I don’t allow any victims here. So once your blood pressure comes back down, and you accept the fact that you’re going to have to interrupt your life and take some time to investigate and deal with it, and then you do reach out and raise your hand and you suggest, “Um, excuse me? This isn’t right,” then you’re met with some version of this phrase, these five words:
There’s nothing I can do.
That ever happen to you? I bet that you’re buying from someone, relying on some sort of business or service that has used that phrase, “There’s nothing I can do,” probably more than once.
Tell me that I’m wrong.
It’s not about being right, though. It’s about getting it right. And here’s something that I know that I got wrong for most of the first four decades of my life, so I’ll share it now because apparently there are others that still don’t get this.
If you study businesses and individuals that have a really high level of success in all areas – like creativity and contribution, emotional, mental and physical wellness, good relationships, integrity, all of that, along with financial success – what you’re going to find is that they’ll all say some version of the same thing. They’ll tell you that one of the foundational, fundamental building blocks of that success is to take 100% responsibility over your own experience. Anything less, you’re being a victim. Anything more, and you’re enabling.
If you open up “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield, that’s the first one. It’s number one! Take 100% responsibility for your own experience. And yet, I continue to see, from certain organizations, language like, “Sorry, there’s nothing I can do.”
It’s not a phrase that serves us, in our businesses or in our lives. And the irony is that when I’m met with something like that, my immediate reaction is I get deflated because I’m thinking I’m going to get met with “There’s nothing I can do,” and I don’t believe in meeting force with force, or ignorance with ignorance, so what am I going to do? I’d just rather this goes away and I’ll just leave it alone because there’s … nothing I can do?
Well that’s not right either. And that now becomes a me problem, if I’m not taking responsibility for my experience.
In either case, if a phrase like that is in your organization or in your awareness at all, swap those five words out for these four:
How can I help?