Laurie Swanson Blog

A Counterintuitive Solution to Having a Successful Project

I’m currently helping lead a fairly significant volunteer project. 
It is 90% successful and 10% challenging. 
Most would consider this 100% successful but not me.
The problem is that I have found myself focusing on the 10% that is not working trying to figure out how the “bad” happened and what lesson I need to learn so I can avoid “bad” happening in the future.
This is a typical business strategy that makes sense for someone who isn’t me.

Playing the Blame Game

When things began to take a wrong turn in this current project I found myself moving between what I could have done differently to what the others involved could have done differently.
I went from self-blame to blaming others.
Back and forth. Back and forth.
The ping-pong match of blame.

Which meant I had to figure out how I was to blame or how others were.
Except that was not working out very well.
I was not solving any problems and I was not learning anything.  I wasn't in the head space required to learn. 
A good lesson would get buried under piles of blame.
I was left feeling like crap for several days.

Time to Throw In the Towel

I actually said to myself, “Screw this project. I give up.”
“I am never going to volunteer again!”
Throw in the towel because things are not going perfectly?
Stop sharing my gifts and talents and the fun that brings because I wasn’t feeling so great in the moment?
I recognized that doing that was a bit like taking my toys and going home when someone was not playing the way I wanted to play.
And, I am no longer 8.
I decided to take a step back and figure out what was really going on with me. 


The Real Lesson

What I discovered was that the real lesson was not going to be learned by dissecting the project and then assigning blame to myself and others at points where we could have done something differently.
Sure, you can learn from dissection.
Yet, the blame part needs to be taken out of this process or the dissection becomes very bloody.
And your project that went south stays there.

The Lift and Shift

I had to move away from blame before moving towards creative solutions and back to fun.
I looked at how I was blaming the others and how I could stop doing that.
Because…it’s not nice to blame others.
And that worked. I was able to appreciate the others involved in the project.
Except I still felt like crap. Why was that?????
Well, what I had actually done was lift the blame off of them and put it all firmly on me.
No wonder I wanted to lay down and never get up again.
That is a heavy load to carry.

A Counterintuitive Solution

That is when I realized that it had to start with me.
I had to stop blaming myself first.
I had to appreciate what I had done.
And, magically, once I stopped blaming myself, I stopped blaming the others. 

Counterintuitive?  Yes, but I felt loads lighter.
Then I could focus on a real solution where all parties concerned felt great.
Guess what?  I began to have fun again.

100% Success!
I can help you stop the blame game and start having fun again.

Contact me at and let's set up a free 30-minute session.

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