The Blame Game: How to Stop Playing It and Reclaim Your Life

Posted on: Jul 07, 2020

Categories: Career Growth, Change Management, Podcast

It’s an age-old phenomenon, but it’s been especially prominent in the past few months. 

What is it? I’ll give you some hints: 

It keeps you stuck. It makes the big changes thrown your way harder to survive, and it drains your productivity. 

It’s what is halting progress in today’s world, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s The Blame Game. And on episode #53 of The Next 24 Hours, I’m going to teach you how to stop playing it.

You’ll get to hear:

  • How to use major change as a stepping stone into your future
  • What I learned from working with McDonald’s managers while they built out the restaurant of the future 
  • The $10,000 rule and how it can multiply your opportunities
  • How you can turn your frustration into empowerment

Because here’s the thing: When we spend all of our energy stewing in anger and trying to figure out whose fault it is that we lost our job, got sick, or otherwise had our world turned upside down, we take away our own agency to take action and make positive changes.

That’s why I’m excited to share with you a new mindset for emerging from divisive situations empowered, rather than discouraged. 

If you’ve been feeling frustrated by other people, powerless, or overwhelmed by change—this episode is for you!

Tune in on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Google Play.

Click for Episode Transcript:

Curtis Zimmerman: [00:00:01] Welcome to the next 24 hours, where I’m going to give you real information you can really use to transform your life and work one day at a time. I’ll be your host, Curtis Zimmerman.

[00:00:11] ♪ Music ♪

[00:00:18] Well, welcome to the next 24 hours. You know, this is the podcast that I put together to really empower people to give them tools in their real life that they can use in the next 24 hours after listening. And I have to tell you that the subject today is near and dear to my heart. And I see so many people struggle with this one little principle. I call it the ten thousand dollar rule. And really, it’s about blame and energy. Let’s just say that you had somebody embezzle, steal, literally, you know for fact they took ten thousand dollars from you. And what you’re going to do at that moment is you have some choices. One is what most people would do and they would go after that person and they would spend time and energy and a lot of their resources possibly over the next year to try to recoup that 10,000 dollars that they lost. Now, at face value, this makes a lot of sense. That person stole ten thousand dollars from me. And what I want to do is I want to just give it a little bit different perspective today. And that is this.

[00:01:32] If, in fact, an employee or employer or a loved one, son, daughter, wife, husband, whomever, somehow managed to take ten thousand dollars from you or even somebody that stole your credit card account and now you’re going to go after them. What happens in that process first is there is that anger right? “Somebody stole from me. My hard earned money is gone.” So the next thing is I want to get it back from them. I want to slander their name. I want to get revenge. I want the world to know what a horrible organization, person, or system this is that I got, you know, kind of taken advantage of for ten thousand dollars. So you start down that path and you start talking to your friends, you start talking to lawyers, you start talking to the organization or the individual. And during this first week and a half, a lot of emotions are happening. You’re losing sleep and it goes on and on and on. And let’s just say after the year it’s resolved and you get your ten thousand dollars back. So what I like to think about in this situation is, imagine that you ended up spending two hours a week thinking, not actually doing, but thinking about the situation. Sharing the situation with other people, taking up valuable time and resources that you could be thinking about how to make ten thousand or twenty thousand dollars.

[00:03:10] Because if you do the math and you are 52 weeks and I focus on this for two hours a week, for 52 weeks, that’s one hundred and four hours. Now, my question is a reasonable question, and that is if you worked at something for one hundred and four hours, could you potentially make the ten thousand dollars? Could you be building your relationships? Could you be building into something that could help ultimately make fifty thousand dollars or a hundred thousand dollars? So I use this as the stepping point into what we’re going to be talking about today. And that is the way that people handle change because all of a sudden I had ten thousand dollars. And now that ten thousand dollars isn’t here anymore and I have lots of options of how I react to that. And I want to go personally now to you and think about how do you react? You know, it’s funny because when COVID-19 happened, what I said was it’s the first time in history that everyone in the world either lost their job, had a job change or their job description changed. The entire world.

[00:04:22] That happened within a couple week period. And what I mean by that is obviously some people lost their job. We know that for fact. But a lot of other people, the job they had prior to COVID-19, if they kept their job, their job description still changed dramatically. So a lot of people that were in leadership positions that were looking at focusing on the future of the company and how do we do team building? And how do we do leadership? And how do – all of that shifted to how do we keep our brand? How do we keep our products? How do we keep our services? How do we keep our relationships together and growing and at least protecting them during this time? So it’s a complete mind shift of what you sat at your desk all day worrying about. A lot of people were- Guess what? We’re not closing. So the first thing I have to do is I have to get masks and gloves and clothing. And my whole job has gone from running the company to finding all of these materials and sourcing them somewhere in the world. And that’s what my number one focus is. They’re gon- their job’s going to stay the same. But how do I keep my front line worker safe and where am I going to get all of these materials from which they never did before? So it’s very important that we think about…

[00:05:43] A lot of people I have to be honest with you on all of the social media platforms. They’re spending a lot of their energy blaming people, organizations, countries for COVID-19, and they’re in these blame game and arguments and they’re taking all of their energy. And that’s the way they’re spending their time. And I’m telling you that that is a waste of time, because whoever’s fault something is when it impacts your life, you can spend a little time on that. But ultimately, the people that win are the people that look at the change. Look at this situation they’re currently in and then start quickly to change their behaviors, change their environment, change their offerings, change their mindset to win in the current situation they’re in. Not looking back, trying to figure out how to go back to the situation you were in. You know, I was on a call the other day and a top executive of a billion dollar corporation was telling me how millions and millions and millions of people on this planet’s lives have changed forever.

[00:06:56] And it made me take just like a deep breath. This is a global minded, global branded person talking to me about how millions and millions of people’s lives have changed forever, literally changed forever. And every day she gets up. The first thing she says is, I am so lucky. I am so blessed. And I have to use this from the framework of Wow. Globally, the millions and millions of people that would love to trade places with me? I have to go and start my day with humility. And I have to start my day with a loving heart. And I just think that humility is so important when we’re in change and when people are arguing and fighting and blaming, what are they saying really? They’re not able to humble themselves. They’re not able to say, you know what, maybe this is just happening because it’s out of control, it’s out of someone’s control. There isn’t a finger to point, but this is my new situation. And that can be a global pandemic or it can be you losing your job and you can spend the first seven weeks just being so angry at that person that let you go, not knowing the story underlying why you were let go and making up those stories and just spending all your energy rather than, wow, I’m going to take all the experience from this job I had and I’m going to take that experience now and I’m going to go utilize it somewhere else. And I’m going to start letting other people know these amazing gifts and these amazing talents that I have.

[00:08:43] And then I’m back on the market and get ready because I am going to be knocking on your door and I’m gonna be the most amazing employee you’ve ever hired. And I know you’re not hiring right now, but I am so valuable that we have to have a conversation, because when you are, I want to be the first one you pick.

[00:08:58] And within three days, that’s their pivot. And they’re already doing that. And they’re already letting the world know. And they’re not backstabbing. They’re not talking against the company. They’re not- they’re using that as a stepping stone into their future. Very important. We only have so much energy every day. You only have so many hours. This program is called the next 24 Hours, because that’s all any of us have.

[00:09:24] ♪ Music ♪

Noah Zimmerman: [00:09:29] Hello, everyone. My name is Noah Zimmerman and I’m the narrator of the audio book version of Life at Performance Level. I’m sorry to interrupt this episode, but I just wanted to let you know that right now at, the audio book version of Life at performance level is being offered absolutely free. It’s right there on the center of the landing page. There’s a button that says free VIP experience. Just click that and you’ll have access to the audio book and lots of other content that will help you live the dream. Thank you so much for listening, and let’s get back to the program.

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Curtis Zimmerman: [00:10:04] You know, I did a deep dive for a few years with the brand McDonald’s restaurants, and they were building out the restaurant of the future and the restaurant of the future looked very different than the restaurant that was currently had, every McDonald’s that we all visited. And they saw a new restaurant with two drive thru lanes with online ordering with- Oh, man, you can order your food and have it delivered magically. You could, I don’t know, go in the lobby and there was a giant thing that looked like an iPad and you could order your food directly off of that. And wow that once you ordered your food, they would actually bring it to your table. You wouldn’t have to stand there and stand in a queue, stand in line. It’s actually table table service. So all of these things were changing and there were certain owner operators that were like, so against it. And they were so used to 30 years owning and operating a McDonald’s or three or four or seven or thirteen. And they didn’t want to make those changes. They wanted to just keep the status quo. And McDonald’s corporate said, “No, you don’t understand. We are getting our lunch handed to us. We’re not handing it to other people. We’re going to hand to us because of all the competition and because all of the change and because of what everybody’s asking for, we’re not able to deliver in the way we need.” And the restaurant owner operators that didn’t buy into the vision, some of them, even though they had restaurants for a long time, they were asked to leave the franchise and they weren’t re upped when their contract came up. Others saw this as, “Finally! We’re going to get an update and we’re going to go and we’re going to do a new McDonald’s look and we’re going to give better, faster service. It’s gonna be amazing. And they couldn’t wait to implement all of these things.

[00:11:59] And then guess what? COVID-19 hit everything got closed down and McDonald’s restaurants were by far the leader in all things online, all things pull up and have the food brought out to you, all things drive through, all things technology, all things delivery. All of the restaurants all over the whole United States had already been doing all of these things. So there was no onboarding. There was no learning curve. So I’m here to tell you sometimes going with the new change, going with this is the world we live in today and leaning into it. You don’t even know why it happened to you. You don’t even know the payoff you’re going to get. And that’s exactly what happened with my friends at McDonald’s restaurants.

[00:12:52] So what I’d like to share is when I think about blame. I like to throw in blame or inflame. So if this is something that gets your juices going, if this is something that gets you just so fired up that this is something and get your heart going. I want you to understand. You only have so much energy. And when you’re using your energy toward the negative, toward the blaming, toward the fingerpointing, it means you’re not using your energy toward you, toward the good, toward building, toward going to the next level. And I want you to think about that. And I want you to think about how that impacts your Facebook activity, your news that you take in, your Twitter feed, your phone calls with relatives, your interactions with family members. If it’s going to blame and inflame you, put the flame out. You’re in charge. You’re the star of your show. You’re the director. You can take control of your emotions. And that’s exactly what I’m talking about. How are you going to react to somebody stealing ten thousand dollars from you? How are you going to react to somebody stealing a future you thought you had? A job you thought you had? A relationship you thought you had? And that’s gone now. Are you going to take time to destroy all of those around you as much as possible so that you feel justified in whatever it is? Or are you going to take that same time to start building and reclaiming? So rather than blaming, I want you to think reclaiming, reclaiming who I am, reclaiming my future, reclaiming and redesigning that place that’s going to make me feel whole and happy and giving.

[00:14:48] And you know, something that takes me into loving, caring relationships with deep conversations. That’s, for me, the slowing down that COVID-19 made us all do. And reclaiming what’s important in our life and then going and opening up the front door and walking out into the world with what I want the world to be moving forward and what’s important to me. And putting that as a top priority and not blaming anyone for anything but dealing with the hand I currently have and turning it into a masterpiece.

[00:15:32] So here’s a quick example, a friend of mine. His name is Stephane Zaharia. And Stephane is an amazing guy. And unluckily for him, there was this little hurricane that came through called Hurricane Irma. And the amazing five star resort and spa and golf course that he runs and has for years and years and years as the GM was pretty much knocked on its side. Right? Pretty much destroyed. So he could have spent a year talking about this storm and talking about, oh, my gosh, everything’s upside down and this is horrible. And can you believe it? And Mother Nature. And on and on and on and on. Or for the next six weeks, he could gather everyone that he knew, everyone that had worked there, everybody that cared about restoring this beautiful, amazing paradise on earth. It’s called the Cuisinart and start the very next week.

[00:16:38] And that’s exactly what he did. He didn’t have time to blame. He didn’t have time to think about the past. He knew what was there. And I’m here to tell you, I spent some time there last year, and it’s better.

[00:16:51] It’s more beautiful. It has more amenities. The people are more loving and excited that you’re there and more giving than ever before. So it’s actually given a huge upgrade to the property and to everything about them living the dream because they are living the dream there, because they give the dream to people every single day when they come to visit. So you never know in the moment of the storm what the outcome is going to be two years later, three years later. So I ask you, give yourself some grace, give yourself some time and just try to weather the storm to the best of your ability, not knowing when the waters get calm, what ship you’re gonna be in, what relationship you’re going to be in and what new ports you’re about to sail into, because there’s no way they would have ever come your way if you hadn’t been completely knocked off of your course. That’s the mindset I want you to have. Stop blaming. Start reclaiming your life.

[00:17:54] ♪ Music ♪

[00:17:58] All right, it’s time for my favorite part of the show, it’s time for the 24 hour challenge. Now, this 24 hour challenge is going to be all about you stopping, pausing, taking a breath and thinking about who you have specifically blamed for a circumstance, for a situation you find yourself in. And I want you to just forgive them. I want you to just mentally, in your mind, let that go so that you can start rebuilding into reclaiming the life you really want. I also want you to think specifically about one thing you do each day that drains your energy. Now, we said it before. That might be Facebook. That might be news. That might be Twitter. That might be LinkedIn. That might be phone calls.

[00:18:43] Might be a certain relative. I want you to take a break from that. I want you to give yourself a 24 hour cleansing where you don’t absorb that content and don’t let your energy go into that anger and all of the things we’ve been talking about. Take a break from that and give yourself the energy to think about where you want to move forward in your life.

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Noah Zimmerman: [00:19:16] Thanks so much for listening to today’s episode of the next 24 hours. Don’t forget that to access the free audio book that’s available right now. Go to and click Free VIP experience on the landing page. Have a great day and remember to keep living the dream.