Assigning Responsibility | The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast

Ah! A question from a friend is the catalyst for this week’s show that asks about who you assign responsibility to for your circumstances eventually ends with speaking about the challenge you have to changing

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This is The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast, Episode 126. I'm your host, Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter and welcome. Weekly, I like to spend a little bit of time talking with you about some element of Life, the Universe, Everything, really everything.

SEGMENT 1. Yesterday, I was sitting with a few friends at our local restaurant, just sitting and shooting the breeze as we tend to do once a week. One of them walked in with two questions in honor of Mother's Day (by the way, Happy Mother's Day to those of you who would celebrate Mother's Day). He walked in with two questions for us, which I thought were wonderful.
The first question-- "Who have I assigned the responsibility in the past to for where I am in life today?"
You know, so many people blame individuals from their past for why they have the lives that they have today. These people occupy an enormous amount of real estate in their lives.
How's that blame working for you? What can you do to change that? How do you change that? Who do you need support from in order to change it because if you're blaming someone, trust me, that's not a good thing, right? You want to be moving forward in your life and creating, designing, however you want to explain it, you want to have the life that you want to have. You don't want to be living in the past and using that as a convenient excuse.
Figure it out. Seriously, figure out the life that you want. Start taking steps toward moving toward it, because, otherwise, otherwise, it's like shopping at a discount store when you could be shopping at the best store in the world. You're living in your past,
It's a cheap seat, you could be doing so much better. Really, you could do so much better.

SEGMENT 2. When I work with a lot of people, so much of what I run into, are people who have been conditioned to conforming. Like, when we hear the expression professionally, "Team player." What does that really mean?
A team player is someone who works within a system to do what we tell them to do. Or we threaten them, really, we threaten them. You learn that in school; you learn that in your family. You learn to go along with things.
But one thing you start to realize professionally if you're paying attention, is that conformity is rarely an asset. The people who are most exceptional, the ones that we admire most are not the ones who conform, but people who have different ideas, different viewpoints, different thinking, conformity isn't an asset. Really, it isn't.
Where do you think differently and start bringing that to the fore? That's because that's really who you are. That's really what your strengths are. That's really what your ability is. And the world needs to see that from you.
Don't hide. Seriously. Hiding is one of the least virtuous things that you could possibly do. Get out there. Be great.

SEGMENT 3. I was listening to a podcast interview with Billy Bob Thornton, an actor who's won an Academy Award winner. And he was talking about a time very early in his life, where he had come to New York, and eventually moved to LA. He was trying to figure out how to make it in the world, at times, he would serve hors d'oeuvres at cocktail parties.
He tells a story about one time when he was talking to this guy who just asked him a couple of questions and assumed he was an actor and offered him some advice, and eventually learned that the person he was talking with was Billy Wilder, who is a theater producer. Very well known very successful.
What Wilder told him, which I think really can be helpful to all of us, is "Why stand in line waiting to be picked? Can you write at all? Create your own way, create your own character. Set yourself apart. If there's anything unique about you, bring that to the top. Write your own screenplay and a part in it for you. Don't wait around for people to pick you to play the thug or the whatever."
Now, here's the key part all of us, most of us are waiting around, waiting to be picked. Think of it like from the example of a field of poppies. Most of us operate at the same height as every other poppy. How can you stand out?
Some people are going to try and cut you down to size. That's one of the realities of our culture. Everyone likes homogenous behavior until we don't, until we suddenly discover, "Hey, I like that iPhone thing! I like that iPod thing." Suddenly, there's a leader.
Why can't you try? Why can't you experiment, knowing that the first four times or the first 14 times you might not succeed?
But, then, there's that one time, and you just need one to go out there and really stand out from everyone else.

SEGMENT 4. There's a risk to standing out. There's a risk to doing something different. What do you think the risk is for you to try something that others don't?
"Oh, I might get criticized."
But you're criticizing yourself. You're unhappy. Other people's unhappiness weighs on you and tries to keep you to a certain level, just like them.
Do great things. Try. Experiment. Know that you're going to be criticized. Your wife, husband or partner may suddenly . . . Kids! Oh God, Kids . . . who everyone's going to say, "Don't do it. Don't try."
I know in my life when I transitioned from headhunting to coaching, my wife woke up one day, you know, I've completed coach training. And I was now going to leave headhunting all together. It was like a revelation for her. It was like, these years that I spent in training and in practice, it suddenly hit, I was actually going to do it.
So, she was a little nervous and she wanted me to continue in headhunting. It took her a day to figure out now it's time for me to move on to something else, just as I had planned.
You've got your version of a risk. You've got your version of what your fear is telling you could happen to you. Just remember, the way you have it set up is a lose-lose proposition. You might fail doing what you're doing. And you might feel like a failure if you keep doing what you're doing.
But if you try, number one is you might just actually succeed. And there's a million other options between those two poles that you haven't even considered yet.
But I'm telling you, folks, you've got to get out there and start doing different things because a lifetime is not a long time. I'm telling you, life catches up, and suddenly it's over. It is not a long time. When you look back at it, do you want to be proud of it? Do you want to be happy with it? Do you want to feel as though you made something of it


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked in recruiting for what seems like one hundred years. He is the head coach for He is the host of “The No BS Coaching Advice Podcast,” and “No BS Job Search Advice.”

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