Jenna Marzullo -- How to Tell if You’re Playing the Blame Game

A destructive habit that we as a society have is playing the blame game. This involves placing fault on any person or thing other than ourselves for not getting the results we want. This could be anything in life, from not reaching the goal weight you want to not making the paycheck you want to not being in the relationship you want. This habit, however, is particularly detrimental for those who are in network marketing.

I believe the blame game is a silent killer in this industry. As the first ever Viridian Associate, I have seen the negative effects of the blame game since day one in the direct selling business. Over the years I have seen individuals face the same exact situation, but their approach to handling the issue—either through accountability and responsibility or placing blame on someone else—has made all of the difference. Each path directly impacts one’s level of success; choosing accountability leads to personal growth and increased revenue, while the latter leads to individual and financial stagnancy.

I think all business leaders can relate to this, including me. I too have been a blame placer in the past, but over the years I’ve improved my ability to recognize this. I believe every person can benefit from recognizing his or her ability to place blame when the fault, or at least part of it, is theirs. Here are some tell-tale signs that you or your team may be playing the blame game:

  • Can’t get to an event: So many people can have excuses as to why they can’t attend a training seminar, a personal growth and development session or even a massive annual convention like PowerUP. The fact is that if you want to be at an event, you’ll show.
  • Upline doesn’t help enough: In other words, the reason why someone isn’t succeeding is because his or her upline isn’t providing enough support; they’re not hosting the right meeting or not handling something correctly, for example. We all have access to the same tools, resources and market in this business; it’s about how we strategically leverage them that enables some people to succeed more than others. At the end of the day, your business’ success is rooted in you alone. I know this better than most in this business; I essentially had zero upline since the day I started with Viridian.
  • Compensation plan isn’t good enough: If the product isn’t good enough or the rates are bad then that has to be why you’re failing, right? Absolutely not. As I wrote in a previous blog, when you establish genuine heartfelt relationships with customers and team members they will be loyal to you. Your customers will stay with you even if rates go up; your teammates will walk through fire with you, even if business drops. Again, the success of your business is traced back to you alone.
  • Complaining: You alone are in control of your efforts, outlook and emotions; however, you are working alongside a dedicated team of professionals, and your success partly depends on your team. It’s not all about you, and no one likes a complainer. For instance, if you moan that you don’t have enough support remember that you have access to an extensive archive of videos in Viridian’s back office. You also have other resources, like books on tape, and so many other leaders have assets that can help you succeed. Instead of complaining, be proactive.

Placing blame on someone else or something else is a victim mentality, which takes away your ability to change your circumstances. After all, if something isn’t your fault, how can you change it? It is in this way that you’re enslaving yourself to your circumstances and setting yourself up for failure. This kind of mentality will get you on the fast track towards losing your ranking, your paycheck and most importantly your sense of self.

There are two steps to stopping this destructive behavior:

First, recognize this behavior and take responsibility for your part in it. You have to acknowledge that you were at least part of the reason why you fell short of your goals. If your business isn’t growing, it’s not only because your team is stagnant or because the product rose in price.

Second, reflect on why you failed: I believe we all have the seed of potential within us to become whatever we desire, but this starts with our decision to make a change. To change, we must ask ourselves the next time we experience failure, “Why did I fail?” rather than “Who was at fault?” People who blame others for their failures will unfortunately never overcome them. Just as importantly, remember that anytime you blame something or someone for your failure, you are giving your power away to that person or thing. You need to take your power back.

One great resource for helping you and your team to avoid the blame game is “A Leader’s Heart,” a 365-day devotional journal by John Maxwell. Some great questions this journal can help you answer include: “What lessons have I learned from this failure?” “How can I turn this failure into success?” and “Where did I succeed as well as fail?”

The blame game never works, nor will it ever. The fact is that there’s a reason why people just returned from Viridian’s summer of fun Bermuda Incentive Trip. Clearly people are finding success using the networking marketing business model. If you’re still blaming others around you for your failures or shortcomings—or you see others around you doing so—you can recognize this and try to avoid it using the above mentioned tactics.

I think the most courageous thing network marketers can do after experiencing failure is to stay where they are, in the thick of it, and fight and see it through. Here’s where I challenge you: for the next six months I challenge you to take full responsibility for your failures big and small, not blaming anything other than yourself for your results or circumstances.

Are you up for it? In doing so you’ll gain greater insight into your motives, business practices and work ethic. Most importantly, you’ll gain a more solid understanding of yourself and your internal values. Good luck!