You are here

Everything is Our Fault

January 2021

Everything (Yes, Everything) Is Entirely Our Fault

It can be argued that everyone is entirely familiar with failure. Even the most decorated and highly regarded individuals have dealt with it to some degree.

Often, however, that failure is self-induced, even if many don’t want to admit it or are oblivious to it. Identifying that you are at the root of many of the challenges you encounter is a gigantic step that can lead to success in the workplace—and in life, in general.

That’s according to Jessica Fern, Director of Training and Development for FPI Management, who discussed the topic during the session, “Everything (Yes, Everything) is Entirely Our Fault,” at NAA’s APTvirtual.

“I’ve totally been guilty when I was younger of blaming the world for my situations,” Fern said. “I had no idea who I was. All I knew is I wasn’t responsible for it. The world made me do X, Y and Z.”

Fern didn’t glean much progress with that approach.

“No matter how over it I got, nothing ever changed,” she said. “I finally said, ‘The last place I hadn’t looked was the mirror, so maybe it’s me.’ Spoiler alert: It was.”

Once Fern was able to accept the idea that any problems she encountered were largely of her own doing, approach or mindset, she was able to move forward. She advised attendees to accept responsibility and avoid any victim-type mindsets. Sure, there are times when problems arise that are not of one’s own doing, but their reaction to them sometimes can exacerbate them.

According to Fern, taking control largely consists of defining one’s purpose based on values and authenticity. Making choices through value identification—while avoiding circumstantial authenticity—results in increased decision-making power.

“We’ve all known people who’ve had no idea who they are, and in turn they change based on who or what they’re around,” she said. “That’s called circumstantial authenticity, and it’s exhausting. It’s fake and people can see through it. We basically assume other people’s values just so we can gain approval.”

This blurs the boundaries and makes them inconsistent, Fern said. It leaves choices to feelings rather than facts. It also means blame can be cast elsewhere if the end results of the choices aren’t desirable.

Accepting accountability begins by unapologetically being your authentic self, she said. Part of that mission is instilling that who you are doesn’t require validation from anyone other than yourself. Another component is not worrying about whether your values are fully understood by others.

Fern challenged attendees to assess whether their persona more reflects their true selves or who people want them to be. If it trends toward the latter, some self-analysis might be in order.

For instance, one might say they value family over work. But if they voluntarily stay late to finish a work project and skip their son’s soccer game, they are actually valuing work over family. If that’s the case, so be it, but one shouldn’t claim that family is their top value if it isn't the case.

“Your values impact your choices and you are not a victim of your own behavior,” Fern said. “If you are not happy with what you’ve prioritized, realign it.”

Paul Willis is a Content Manager for LinnellTaylor Marketing.