When things go wrong how do you deal with it. Do you fire up or look for someone to blame? I was sitting in the standstill traffic on the Harbour Bridge this morning due to a 5-car pile up. There were lots of people getting frustrated and firing up at folk in the cars around them. The traffic jam wasn’t their fault and yet somehow the blame for it was being placed directly on their shoulders.

Dr Brené Brown, an amazing teacher, has been researching the ‘blame game’ for years. She has discovered what blame is and what it does to our bodies and relationships. Check out her thoughts here. It is worth the 3min.

Holding ourselves accountable when we are burning with frustration is just downright hard work! It is much easier just letting it rip or go blaming someone else. However, as Dr Brown suggests blame is just the discharge of discomfort and pain and we need to learn how to deal with it better than proverbially throwing it up on someone.

When we are all about blaming we are not listening to what is going on around us, we are consumed with ourselves. When we learn to hold ourselves accountable we find new opportunities to build empathy which totally empowers relationships.

One tool that really helps me stay out of the ‘blame game’ is to always remain in a ‘curious frame of mind’. So rather than letting frustration consume me, I take the approach of, “let me ask a few questions first to find out the facts so I can make a better decision.” I know it sounds a little odd, however by taking a moment to recalibrate my thinking into a curious frame of mind helps me to shut down the ‘blame game’ and sets me up for success.

It took about 6 months to shift my accountability from playing the ‘blame game’ to one of being curious. If you are going to give it a go, shifting from the ‘blame game’, then give yourself time to make the change. Most importantly don’t blame yourself for not getting it right first time round. When consciously making the change, I always took a deep breathe as I started to feel the blame rising. Then I reminded myself to ask open-ended questions before anything else. This purposefulness turned my life around, strengthened friendships and partnerships and increased workplace trust and productivity. All in all, I cannot recommend the shift highly enough. Why not give it a go!