What is that Noise?

On complaining and the blame game…

There’s a tapping noise coming from inside the wall in my bedroom.

Last year I moved into a brand new downtown apartment building with all the amenities. It’s great! It has a pool, a gym, two courtyards, secure parking, great community areas, and many other things I probably don’t even know about.

But, there’s an annoying tapping noise coming from the wall in my bedroom.

The noise is not ALWAYS there, but it’s there sometimes… In fact, I haven’t heard the noise in a few days, but the threat of it increases my heart rate in the middle of the night, which makes sleep quite difficult.

Ok, truth be told – I think the noise is actually gone.

But, I notice I still love to complain about it!

I love to blame the property management company for my lack of sleep and anything else I can relate to it. The tapping seems to be a plumbing issue which management has likely fixed, but in the months they were working on it I was a whiney baby about it.

Yes, things should work the way they’re designed.
Yes, management has a responsibility to fix stuff like this.
Yes, I should hold them to account for that.

All that is true, but when I would go down to the office and ask them to fix this issue, all I really wanted to do is blame them.

When I work with clients who are in similar situations, I usually tell them, “Find yourself at the source of your suffering.” They rarely like to hear this, and now I find myself reluctant to take my own medicine. It initially seems like I’m asking myself to take responsibility for someone else’s mistake, but that’s not it. I’m reminding myself to be accountable for my own experience. The suffering really is optional, and blaming just increases it for everyone.

There’s no blame in accountability, and there’s no accountability in blame.
Some might say, “What’s so bad about blame? Blaming gets results.” I’d have to agree that blame is often the fire that motivates some people. But here’s another thing I notice about blame: When I blame, the issue tends
to reside within me even after the problem is solved. I can usually feel it in my body. It’s heavy like a pit in my stomach, and somewhere in my mind, I know something just isn’t right.

Conversely, when I take accountability, I am free of that extra weight. There is a lightness and freedom in my body that motivates me to work
collaboratively in resolving the issue.

Last fall my esteemed colleague Martha Lynn Mangum wrote a great article on how overcoming blame culture gets results. Check it out here.
I still love to complain and blame, but I prefer the lightness. It makes sleeping a lot easier.


Fundamental of the Week #18: PRACTICE BLAMELESS PROBLEM SOLVING   Focus on finding a solution, not who is at fault. Apply your creativity, spirit and enthusiasm to the development of solutions.  Identify lessons learned and use those lessons to improve processes, so we learn from every experience.  

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