Occasionally, I hear from the parent of one of my players that I need to be careful when criticizing Johnny because he is often too hard on himself. The expressed parental concern is additional critique of Johnny will result in the Johnny being pushed over the proverbial psychological cliff. No Coach (or boss or parent) wants to be responsible for the mental breakdown of someone under their leadership. The question is whether Johnny, the employee or the child is really as emotionally unstable as they are held to be. Far too often, the player (employee / child) is choosing the shelter of blame as opposed to owning his or her responsibility.
In the book, Extreme Ownership, by Willink and Babin, these former Navy Seals discuss the principle of owning your decisions in all that you do in life. The basic idea is that leaders are responsible for everything that is in or somehow impacts their world. It’s easy to assign blame to outside circumstances or other people (teammates, subordinates, superiors, peers), but Extreme Ownership removes those excuses.
The critical difference between being too hard on yourself is the difference between blame and responsibility. Those who focus on blaming themselves for their current misfortune are seeking the cover of being a victim. It is saying to oneself "but for X, I would be Y". This victim mentality is far to prevalent in our society today and it is preached at all levels. Extreme ownership counters this mentality by stating you, the individual, have ownership of everything which happens to you.
It is written in Luke 12:48, "Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more." God tells us throughout the bible to take ownership of our lives and our mistakes. He tells us he will never give us more than we can handle and will be by our side through all our trials. It is important to note, God will not push us any further than we are able to withstand. He is our spiritual coach and as such he is pushing us outside our comfort zone. The goal is to grow and allow God to push you into ever harder situations where you can bless others through your expanded leaderships skills which have been honed through failure and success.
If you want to move forward in life then take extreme ownership of your actions. By taking personal responsibility you are in control of your life and you are not leaving you misfortunes at the feet of anyone else. One of the greatest tools of the Devil is the ability to convince someone they are not worthy and to plant the seeds of victim hood. Blame removes hope. Responsibility gives you hope back.
Finally. let me be clear in that what happens to you is often not your fault. It is not your fault you contracted cancer (unless you smoke 3 packs a day), it is not your fault you got hit by a motorists (unless you were texting and walked into a busy intersection) or its not your fault you had bad parents. However, it is your responsibility to overcome these events and relationships. God tells us he will be with us through all our trials and tribulations. "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10.