Evolving Workplaces: Stop the Suffering

Oct 13, 2022

If you could change anything to improve the results or experience in your life, what would it be? What would you change to improve your life experience to create a better experience?

Did you say, “myself”? The one thing we can always have control over and make changes to is ourselves, but often we forget that our joy, peace, and happiness is truly a choice we make.

I don’t believe in rose-colored glasses or the never-ending “think positive mantra” because the truth is, there are very real challenges in the world and painful experiences, we all face in our lives.

A problem we all face is the challenges and pain we experience throughout our life. They cannot be avoided, and pain cannot be prevented. When we are wounded or hurt, we will experience pain. The real problem though is how we respond to those challenges and painful experience – whether we heal and strengthen ourselves through them or we create greater suffering as a result.

Pain is inevitable, but suffering is optional. - Cy Wakeman

What happens when people experience challenges in the workplace or life?

We all experience a thing called the "Natural Human Condition". This human condition is a cycle of thinking where we react to our circumstances good and bad – when things are good, we are good; when things are bad, we are bad. It becomes a sign wave of moving up and down. When things are good, we attribute it to all the good things we did that created that result. When things are bad, we are victims to our circumstances.

Mindset – A set of beliefs or a way of thinking that determines one’s behavior, outlook and mental attitude. It determines a person’s response to events, circumstances, and situations. 

When things get tough, challenging circumstances we want to get out of them and not go through the experience. In the workplace when we are asked to do more with less, people start...

  • Start thinking about quitting  silent quitting, disengaging from their work.
  • BMW (Bellyaching, Moaning, Whining) Driving – coming up with all the reasons they can’t succeed (excuses).
  • Change Reality – how can they change their circumstances or demand something new. "If these things were fixed, I can perform at my best... "

But the truth is...none of these truly work because our circumstances are not changeable and our influence over those changes are limited. Those challenges are going to exist in spite of our frustration with them.

These ways of thinking are cultivating a victim mindset  that things are happening to you, rather than because of you!

What is this victim, lack of accountability mindset? What are examples of what this looks like?

A lack of accountability is anytime we are struggling or suffering with our circumstances - anytime we are out of coherence or not operating at our peak performance. These are always a good indicator that you are experiencing a lack of accountability.

Learned Helplessness

  • What? Believe nothing can be done based upon past experiences. A condition where a person has a sense of powerlessness, arising from a persistent failure to succeed.
  • Why? They’ve experienced challenges before and given up on their ability to create a different outcome causing them to become helpless.

Judging & Criticizing

  • What is this? Attributing meaning or motive (opinion) to someone or something else.
  • Why do people do it? They don’t have all the information, so they fill in the gaps. We often fill these gaps in based upon our own filter. People will often judge in others what they feel most insecure about themselves. There is a psychological phenomenon related to this idea called the Fundamental Attribution Error – we will judge ourselves based on context, but other actions based upon their character.

Deflecting, Finger-Pointing & Blaming

  • What is this? Shifting responsibility from oneself to another person.
  • Why do people do it? Blaming feels safer than acting. If we blame others, we don’t have to take responsibility for our own actions.

Venting, Complaining & Gossiping

  • What? Sharing about the challenges and suffering you are experiencing currently.
  • Why? Poor response to reality – when we're not ready to move forward or take the next step. When we are stuck in our emotion and don’t want to move to action or a positive result. It allows us to connect and feel less alone in our struggles and challenges.

Disengaging, Evading & Avoiding

  • What? We try to move away from conflict, issues, challenges, or pain – ignore or avoid the experience or dealing with the challenge or issue they are facing.
  • Why? Human egos are delicate – avoiding the problem feels safter than dealing with it. If we don’t change, we don’t fail. Don’t have to face the emotions or consequences of acting.

Resistance, Conditional Commitment

  • What? Rejecting or partially rejecting compliance with any request that create a challenge or problem for the individual.
  • Why? Fear the unknown, resist things that don’t feel comfortable (we are creatures of habit with routine and procedure). Can’t see the end from the beginning. Creates a feeling of lost control and resisting or conditionally committing allows them to get a sense of control back.

Reasons, Storytelling & Excuses

  • What? Our minds fill in the gaps of what we don’t understand or when we don’t have the full story.
  • Why? Rarely do we have all the information – our brains are picking and choosing the information we take into process and filing in the rest based upon what we already know, which is why bias is in everyone.

What is the root cause of this suffering/lack of accountability?

Human Condition

Everyone experiences this push-pull when we encounter challenges in our lives (which is all the time). There are always things popping up in our world that we have to respond to, especially in the workplace.


The root cause of what is pulling us out of coherence is our emotions. We have an emotional reaction to the challenge and when we respond with that emotion, it's the human condition to get stuck or fall into the accountability hole. When our heads experience things, our hearts feel them, then our bodies will hold onto them until we deal with those emotions and understand our situation.

Nervous System

We operate between our sympathetic (comes into play when we interpret something in our environment that is challenging or risk to ourselves) and parasympathetic (drop into rest, recover, digest state) nervous system. The ideal state is when we are moving between the two states at a consistent rate.

  • HRV Coherence - A sign wave just like what we see as part of the human condition – going in and out of sympathetic and parasympathetic systems. Occurs with love, courage, appreciation, and other positive emotions.
  • Incoherence - Occurs when we are unbalanced – jumping up into sympathetic or down into parasympathetic in a random or sporadic way. Occurs with frustration, anxiety, worry, anger, irritation, fear.

Identifying the Emotion

What is the root emotion that is causing the low accountability behavior or mindset? We have to get to the underlying emotion in order to pull ourselves out of the accountability hole and move forward. It helps us understand why we are there which allows us to connect with empathy and have compassion for ourselves for falling below the line.

Interfering Intelligences

Our emotions are always going to be triggered by the circumstances we are in. But one of our three brains (head, heart, gut) are interfering or pulling us out of coherence which is creating that reaction from us. Each of our three intelligences have responsibility for different functions:

  • Head – Cognitive Perception, Thinking, Making Meaning
  • Heart – Emoting, Values, Relational Affect
  • Gut – Core Identity, Self-Preservation, Mobilization

Emotion & Intelligences Interfering

Learned Helplessness

  • Emotion – Frustrated, Paralyzed, Skeptical, Cautious
  • Intelligence – Example of “Freeze” response – I can’t overcome this so I will just not even try at all. Head – we’ve learned there is nothing that can be done (even if this is untrue our brains tell us it is)

Judging & Criticizing

  • Emotion – Self-Conscious, Ashamed, Jealous, Irritated,
  • Intelligence – Heart – we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt based upon our values and who we are, but we judge others Gut – Core Identify - challenged

Deflecting, Finger-Pointing & Blaming

  • Emotion – Worried, Nervous, Ashamed,
  • Intelligence – Gut – don’t have to take responsibility – don’t have to deal with a misalignment with our core identity or take action to bring change. 

Venting, Complaining & Gossiping

  • Emotion – Lonely, Overwhelmed, Stressed, Vulnerable
  • Intelligence – Heart – looking for connection, someone who will understand our emotions and relate to us by sharing, complaining, and gossiping

Disengaging, Evading & Avoiding

  • Emotion – Disillusioned, Shocked, Isolated, Confused, Self-Conscious
  • Intelligence – Gut – don’t want to take action, risk failure (identity), avoid mistakes or risk retribution or fear/failure – self-preservation.

Resistance & Conditional Commitment

  • Emotion – worried, cautious, paralyzed, Hesitant, Perplexed,
  • Intelligence – Head – they don’t have all the information or data of what will happen, so their head is resistant to taking action out of fear of not knowing what will happen or come next.

Reasons, Storytelling & Excuses

  • Emotion – isolated, inferior, victimized, betrayed, abandoned
  • Intelligence – Head – we don’t have all the information so our heads fill it in with what we’ve known in the past – which may or often may not be helpful to our current situation. Especially if we’ve experienced challenges/trauma in the past.

As we stated at the beginning, pain, problems, and challenges will happen in our lives. We will encounter hard things that cause issues for us.

What we can do is increase our awareness and understanding of what is happening when this occurs AND then change our mindset to create more joy, peace, and happiness.

Check out the Evolving to Exceptional Podcast Episode that talks about this topic more in depth here.




(1) Take our FREE course on Creating Exceptional Work & Life Experiences

(2) Purchase and read the book The Exceptional Life R-Evolution - available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Audible. You get a free workbook and course with the purchase of the book!

(3) Check out our Free Resources page for workbooks and guides to get you started.

(4) Check out our Peak Performance Certification Program

(5) Listen to the Evolving to Exceptional Podcast to hear our series on "Evolving Workplaces" from the old corporate machines of the past into new living beings!

(6) Get the first few chapters of my new book Fiercely Cherished Beings for FREE. Now available on Amazon and Audible!

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