Success Tips: No More Blame Game

Anybody who has been around kids for very long knows that the Blame Game is alive and well. “It’s not my fault!” “It wasn’t me, it was him!” Or “I couldn’t, because (fill in the blank).” Wait a minute–that sounds like some adults in business.

Avoiding responsibility for a situation comes naturally, but it really rears its head when the crunch is on. I can think of three common situations when making excuses tends to the be the default reaction, and I’m sure you can think of more:

  • When the to-do list and a deadline collide
  • When it’s scary to do something
  • When it’s convenient to blame someone for what we didn’t get done

Let’s look at these situations one by one:

When the To-Do List and a Deadline Collide

Looking at a long to-do list then glancing at our calendar can lead to a feeling of panic. When we start thinking “impossible” the next order of business is to look for an escape. Of course there are times when the list is totally unrealistic, but often we stamp “no way” on a project just because it looks hard.

Since it seems overwhelming we start looking for the exit clause by blaming our schedule or our headache or our kids. We expect our supervisor to understand our special circumstances and give us a break.

“It’s not my fault!”

Unfortunately this attitude is rampant in our society these days.

When It’s Scary to Do Something

This one’s a little tricky because we don’t usually realize what we’re doing. When faced with an uncomfortable task that stretches us, we seek to avoid the discomfort by consoling ourselves with excuses of why we can’t possibly do the thing.

“I couldn’t because…”

When we voice the excuses and others are quick to agree with us we think we’re off the hook. Except that deep down we’re disappointed in ourselves.

When It’s Convenient to Blame Someone for What We Didn’t Get Done

This is reminiscent of the kids….”It wasn’t me, it was him!” We get into such a habit of mentally assigning blame to everyone and everything except ourselves that we start believing it. Not only do we hold ourselves back from achieving things that would bring great rewards, we water and fertilize resentment and bitterness towards the people we blame. What’s sad is that they’re often family members.

So what’s a blamer to do?

Turn on the blame radar. Take a good look at your thoughts and reactions and see how often they turn to blame.

Meanwhile, here are a few good quotes to chew on:

“Ninety-nine percent of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses.” ~ George Washington Carver

“All blame is a waste of time. No matter how much fault you find with another, and regardless of how much you blame him, it will not change you.” ~ Wayne Dyer

“The man who complains about the way the ball bounces is likely to be the one who dropped it.” ~ Lou Holtz

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself.” ~ Jim Rohn

“Success on any major scale requires you to accept responsibility….In the final analysis, the one quality that all successful people have is the ability to take on responsibility.” ~ Michael Korda

So what does this look like in real life? Three short tips you can start doing now:

  1. Catch yourself blaming–quick–and stop it.
  2. Change your language. Rather than “I have to stay home because the kids are sick” say “I choose to stay home.” “I have to” isn’t true—you could make other arrangements. You’re making a choice based on your priorities. Either way, it’s a completely differently feeling to acknowledge personal choice rather than thinking you’re helplessly forced into a circumstance.
  3. Think solutions rather than problems. Searching for excuses keeps you focused on why you can’t. Figuring out how you WILL accomplish the task gives you energy and power.

Admitting that you’ve been playing the Blame Game isn’t exactly fun. But getting out of the game will lead to better productivity, more success and even greater happiness. The next move is yours.

Charlotte_SiemsCharlotte Siems is a happy wife and mom of twelve who is a speaker, author and coach. After losing 100 pounds with T-Tapp, she became a Master T-Tapp Trainer, sharing her encouraging story with people all over the world. She has built a successful online business and writes about family life and T-Tapp at Charlotte’s life experiences and training have uniquely qualified her to help others create a successful family and business.


  1. says

    Great post, Charlotte. Blaming also is typical behavior of a passive-aggressive individual. And anyone can point out problems. When I was a newspaper editor/publisher and writing editorials every week, I offered solutions to problems. There is only one time during nearly 30 years of editorial writing where I said, “This is the problem, but we have no idea how to solve it. What do you think?”

  2. says

    Great article Charlotte! So true it is, us humans like to lay blame! We need to re-frame and take responsibility for ourselves and our choices :)

  3. Lin T B Ruud says

    It is one of the biggest human biases to blame someone when it is the system or several components that is involved, to blame someone else when the result is delated and the first component that made the mistakes is long gone or to blame a person when the system or the technology is not fitted human biases. This is common problems in complex systems. Behavior analyzes is complex systems, like behavior economics or Sterman (2000) ” Business dynamics” writes about this. In my research i found that the best way of avoiding big mistakes, is to identify every component and build a culture that award honesty, admitting mistakes and use this as a learning arena. It is also important to build responsibility like Denny says. This can best be done trough give more responsibility to the first line and lead others to lead them selves. All of this reinforce the other components i mention before. To manage all this as a leader you have to have a person centered leadership and function like a teacher/coach. But most important: You have to walk the talk and admit your own mistakes and vulnerability. It is so easy, and so hard!

  4. says

    These are great tips about not blame and CLAIMING! I’m so good at the blame game! Own it! When you make a mistake say you have and move to the foward! Love this one thank you!

  5. says

    That’s a smart way to look at it. It never helps to look at the problems, but rather, much more effective to look at the solutions. Like you mention, by doing so, it allows us to move in a positive direction toward finding an effective solution.

  6. says

    Learn to be responsible for your actions and don’t blame anything else. Take the blame and move forward, better than wasting time with the blame game. Thanks for the tips.

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