Take Responsibility and Fire THEY

Somewhere in 1996, I woke up for the first time. I realized that I was responsible for my life, and that if I didn’t drive change, no one else would. That’s when I realized that my supervisors at work didn’t really care about my career. That’s when I realized that no one was coming to knock on my door and change my life. It’s when I realized that the person responsible for bringing greatness to my life was me. Only me. And that’s when things started getting good. Within a year, I’d left my role at the phone company, moved into a wireless company, and started a rocket path up towards where I am today. All under my own steam.

Here are some things for YOU to think about, if you’re still wondering why no one’s handed you the dream career, the chance of a lifetime, or some other excuses for why you’re not the rockstar of your own domain.

You are Your HR Department

No one in your company cares about your career. They have a passing interest insofar as it hooks to their success, but otherwise, it’s not like someone’s really burning a lot of calories thinking about how to make you a star. Instead, YOU are the person in charge. To that end, start learning.

  • Learn about things not related to your business.
  • Learn about things that will empower you.
  • Give yourself tools to succeed, like great blogs and books.
  • Look outside your organization for a path up the ladder, not just within.
  • Example: UC Berkeley put their lectures on YouTube. Watch some. (Source: Scobleizer).

Redefine Yourself

If you work as a software developer, decide whether or not that’s your view of yourself. Nothing wrong with being a software developer, but if you’re sitting there longing for something more, redefine yourself, and then reinforce the path you want to take. Meaning, don’t let your skill set label yourself.

  • Kill your resume and build something that DESCRIBES you. (Example, Bryper’s Social Media Resume).

  • Make your own business cards with your NEW, self-proclaimed job title. Swing over to Overnight Prints or VistaPrint to order your own.
  • Find role models outside your organization, maybe even outside your field, and follow their lead.
  • Get bold and ask brief, specific questions to people you admire about their own rise to greatness, and then see if you can recreate it.

Fire THEY

For every person out there taking charge of their lives, there are tons of people still saying “They didn’t let me take the course.” The truth is this: THEY doesn’t exist. They is an excuse we give ourselves when we’re feeling weak and unmotivated. Because THEY are the same people who don’t step up when there’s injustice in the world. THEY are the people who keep you working for the same company your entire life. Here are some ways to catch “THEY” and fire them.

  • They don’t control your training budget. You do. If not on company time, on your own time. It’s an investment.
  • They aren’t buying your media because you’re not selling to the right people, or you’re not selling at all. (Hint: they won’t just show up, be amazed by your content, and offer to cut you a check).
  • They probably don’t put as much effort into looking at what you’re doing as you do. So if you still think They is holding you down, check yourself.
  • They have their own lives to worry about. Let them. Worry harder about yours.

What’s Holding You Back?

Did you see anything in this post that reflected your situation in life? Did you find little echoes of yourself, past or present, that relate to your questioning of your lot in life? If so, did I give you suggestions to move forward? If not, tell me now. Let’s get into what’s keeping you locked up, and let’s free you.

The easy truth of the matter is this: the more superheroes I surround myself with, the more likely I’ll have a rockstar life and do amazing things. I’m counting on the folks who come here to dig in to their own lives, find their groove, and rocket up into the stratosphere of your own new potential.

Are you on that ride? Have you seen enough to clear the launch pad at least? And if not, let’s talk about it. What’s holding you down?

And if you’re enjoying this blog, please consider subscribing for free.

ChrisBrogan.com runs on the Genesis Framework

Genesis Theme Framework

The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress. Whether you're a novice or advanced developer, Genesis provides you with the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that takes WordPress to places you never thought it could go.

With automatic theme updates and world-class support included, Genesis is the smart choice for your WordPress website or blog.

Become a StudioPress Affiliate

  • http://robsuarez.com Rob Suarez

    Wow! Once again you’ve hit it right on target. The best moves in my life have happened when I got up enough nerve to promote myself to CEO of ME, Inc. (even though I was still “employed” by someone else.) Yes, it is easier to have someone else drive the ship, or worse, just let the current take you along for a ride… but then we can’t complain about where we’re going.

    Grab a paddle… jump into your own canoe. Enjoy the ride!

  • http://robsuarez.com Rob Suarez

    Wow! Once again you’ve hit it right on target. The best moves in my life have happened when I got up enough nerve to promote myself to CEO of ME, Inc. (even though I was still “employed” by someone else.) Yes, it is easier to have someone else drive the ship, or worse, just let the current take you along for a ride… but then we can’t complain about where we’re going.

    Grab a paddle… jump into your own canoe. Enjoy the ride!

  • Randy R

    It’s so much easier to blame THEY for whatever ilks you, both professionally and personally. Taking responsibility for your well being is the first step towards leaving the spiritual equivalent of homelessness. Sure there’s bad luck, bad timing, illness and death. But then you live.

  • Randy R

    It’s so much easier to blame THEY for whatever ilks you, both professionally and personally. Taking responsibility for your well being is the first step towards leaving the spiritual equivalent of homelessness. Sure there’s bad luck, bad timing, illness and death. But then you live.

  • http://logos.blip.tv Alex Landefeld

    Mr. Magoo, you’ve done it again. Hit me right between the eyes. If I can think that a saturn sky will make a practical next car, I can think (and do) anything! Very interesting article on yahoo finance this past week about B schools – that the opportunity cost might be too high, that forging your own path could be just as fruitful…and it will!

  • http://logos.blip.tv Alex Landefeld

    Mr. Magoo, you’ve done it again. Hit me right between the eyes. If I can think that a saturn sky will make a practical next car, I can think (and do) anything! Very interesting article on yahoo finance this past week about B schools – that the opportunity cost might be too high, that forging your own path could be just as fruitful…and it will!

  • http://www.jonglassett.com Jon

    GREAT post. Right on the mark. I’m fighting this particular battle right now & just spent a good part of my weekend gathering training materials with this exact goal in mind.

    If I can point to one thing that holds me down it’s the feeling that when I’m about to do something new I need to be as good at it as the best person out there. That feeling keeps me in the “woodshed” trying to be perfect before actually doing anything.

    The moral: don’t be afraid to suck. You have to be okay with being bad at something and falling on your face a few times. The progress comes when you pick yourself up and try again.

  • http://www.jonglassett.com Jon

    GREAT post. Right on the mark. I’m fighting this particular battle right now & just spent a good part of my weekend gathering training materials with this exact goal in mind.

    If I can point to one thing that holds me down it’s the feeling that when I’m about to do something new I need to be as good at it as the best person out there. That feeling keeps me in the “woodshed” trying to be perfect before actually doing anything.

    The moral: don’t be afraid to suck. You have to be okay with being bad at something and falling on your face a few times. The progress comes when you pick yourself up and try again.

  • http://hfcn.blogspot.com/2007/10/chris-brogan-to-heart-of-career.html Dawn Mular

    Chris, I love it!! I agree and love the accountability and inspiration this brings.. Time people get darned tired of “them” having too much power ‘they’ don’t have.. To bringing and being our best selves!!

  • http://hfcn.blogspot.com/2007/10/chris-brogan-to-heart-of-career.html Dawn Mular

    Chris, I love it!! I agree and love the accountability and inspiration this brings.. Time people get darned tired of “them” having too much power ‘they’ don’t have.. To bringing and being our best selves!!

  • Pingback: GadgetGadget.info - Gadgets on the web » Take Responsibility and Fire THEY

  • http://dazcox.com Daz Cox

    I’m already there my brother! I am an artist who is using social media to find my audience and it was the best move I have made so far in this ‘career’.

    Re-defining myself as a creative-consultant, instead of just another graphic-designer is one thing I have done that illustrates your point.

  • http://dazcox.com Daz Cox

    I’m already there my brother! I am an artist who is using social media to find my audience and it was the best move I have made so far in this ‘career’.

    Re-defining myself as a creative-consultant, instead of just another graphic-designer is one thing I have done that illustrates your point.

  • http://www.ebsqart.com Amie Gillingham

    For the most part, I’ve fired “they” and I think the biggest thing holding me back is ME. At the risk of sounding like a bigger geek than most folks already assume, I’m like Luke Skywalker in “Empire Stikes Back.” I’ve empowered myself to do little things, but not the big things because they seem too big, not realizing it’s all part of the same process. And to appropriate Yoda, “That is why [I] fail.” I’ve been consciously been working to get past my “safe” vision of the future and push through to do the riskier, bigger thing that is probably going to be better in the long run than thinking small and playing it safe.

  • http://www.ebsqart.com Amie Gillingham

    For the most part, I’ve fired “they” and I think the biggest thing holding me back is ME. At the risk of sounding like a bigger geek than most folks already assume, I’m like Luke Skywalker in “Empire Stikes Back.” I’ve empowered myself to do little things, but not the big things because they seem too big, not realizing it’s all part of the same process. And to appropriate Yoda, “That is why [I] fail.” I’ve been consciously been working to get past my “safe” vision of the future and push through to do the riskier, bigger thing that is probably going to be better in the long run than thinking small and playing it safe.

  • http://conniebensen.com Connie Bensen

    Seth Godin’s book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)has a good section on reinventing yourself.

    And what you suggest Chris is totally possible. I believe that we choose our destiny. The momentum I’ve created is incredible & I have two jobs (one is an unpaid leave of absence…). I’m as busy as I can keep up to. My success is dependent on my effort. There’s no time to consider not being successful- just too much to do!

    I think the secret is to make a commitment to get started & then following thru.

  • http://conniebensen.com Connie Bensen

    Seth Godin’s book, The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)has a good section on reinventing yourself.

    And what you suggest Chris is totally possible. I believe that we choose our destiny. The momentum I’ve created is incredible & I have two jobs (one is an unpaid leave of absence…). I’m as busy as I can keep up to. My success is dependent on my effort. There’s no time to consider not being successful- just too much to do!

    I think the secret is to make a commitment to get started & then following thru.

  • http://www.marketingcurve.com Jennifer Gniadecki

    If I get rid of THEY…can I still keep THE MAN and just trot it out on special occasions? You know, like when I was a kid and we went to church on Easter and Christmas…

  • http://www.marketingcurve.com Jennifer Gniadecki

    If I get rid of THEY…can I still keep THE MAN and just trot it out on special occasions? You know, like when I was a kid and we went to church on Easter and Christmas…

  • Pingback: University Update - YouTube - Take Responsibility and Fire THEY

  • http://qlscoach.blogspot.com/ Kristin Chamberlin

    Everyone has habits of thought that get in the way of change, firing the THEY is a great first step. All it takes is little moves everyday to get you closer to living the life of your dreams.

  • http://qlscoach.blogspot.com/ Kristin Chamberlin

    Everyone has habits of thought that get in the way of change, firing the THEY is a great first step. All it takes is little moves everyday to get you closer to living the life of your dreams.

  • http://wilywordsmith.blogspot.com latinbombshell

    This is a great post, Chris. I have had a dogged, stubborn conviction for as a long as I can remember that the true source of prosperity is waking up every morning and doing what you love and for this I have made some sacrifices. Money is energy and if you’re engaged with people/companies/influences that darken and suffocate that energy, you can’t move ahead, because at the end of the day you’re not listening to your heart and just being swayed by others. It’s when you align yourself with a THEY that flows along with your intentions that things start to happen. Maybe I’ve been lucky and found enough support to skirt the corporate world, but all I can say is that anyone’s career is to be true to thine own heart first. The rest will follow.

  • http://wilywordsmith.blogspot.com latinbombshell

    This is a great post, Chris. I have had a dogged, stubborn conviction for as a long as I can remember that the true source of prosperity is waking up every morning and doing what you love and for this I have made some sacrifices. Money is energy and if you’re engaged with people/companies/influences that darken and suffocate that energy, you can’t move ahead, because at the end of the day you’re not listening to your heart and just being swayed by others. It’s when you align yourself with a THEY that flows along with your intentions that things start to happen. Maybe I’ve been lucky and found enough support to skirt the corporate world, but all I can say is that anyone’s career is to be true to thine own heart first. The rest will follow.

  • http://geekgirl.tv Eve (geekgirl) Park

    I love you, Brogan. Your post made me think all morning about what it is that is holding me back, personally. I’ve come to the conclusion that at the moment, it is my inability to ask for help or leverage social resources. And I can’t move a couch by myself. Literally. And figuratively.

    Thanks poking at our brains each day.

  • http://geekgirl.tv Eve (geekgirl) Park

    I love you, Brogan. Your post made me think all morning about what it is that is holding me back, personally. I’ve come to the conclusion that at the moment, it is my inability to ask for help or leverage social resources. And I can’t move a couch by myself. Literally. And figuratively.

    Thanks poking at our brains each day.

  • Pingback: Find the Inspiration and Motivation You Need in Your Career » StandoutJobs.com

  • http://innovationcreation.us john blue

    Where is the “will you be my super hero?” button on this article:-)? inspirational post!!

    Walt Kelly in the early1970s created a quote “We have met the enemy and he is us” that fits this situation: we are our own enemy when it comes to promoting and creating our own future path; many people seek a solution from “someone else” and never consider starting with themselves.

  • http://innovationcreation.us john blue

    Where is the “will you be my super hero?” button on this article:-)? inspirational post!!

    Walt Kelly in the early1970s created a quote “We have met the enemy and he is us” that fits this situation: we are our own enemy when it comes to promoting and creating our own future path; many people seek a solution from “someone else” and never consider starting with themselves.

  • http://www.intrinsiclifedesign.squarespace.com/sca Lisa Gates

    Mr. Brogan, you made my day. I absolutely adore it when (I/We) wake up to the “they” factor. We have a lot of passive, deflective language to get conscious about, and that’s a huge one.

    I’m thinking we might call you coach Brogan. How do you like that title…?

  • http://www.intrinsiclifedesign.squarespace.com/sca Lisa Gates

    Mr. Brogan, you made my day. I absolutely adore it when (I/We) wake up to the “they” factor. We have a lot of passive, deflective language to get conscious about, and that’s a huge one.

    I’m thinking we might call you coach Brogan. How do you like that title…?

  • http://www.chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Hi Lisa- Thanks for the title. I don’t mind being a coach. For a short while, I thought I’d want to be a coach to folks looking to up their game. I still might offer that at some point. I wonder of there’s even any value in that. What the heck do I know that you don’t already know?

    But then, that’s a whole other story. : )

  • http://www.chrisbrogan.com chrisbrogan

    Hi Lisa- Thanks for the title. I don’t mind being a coach. For a short while, I thought I’d want to be a coach to folks looking to up their game. I still might offer that at some point. I wonder of there’s even any value in that. What the heck do I know that you don’t already know?

    But then, that’s a whole other story. : )

  • Pingback: marcpitman.com » Fire “Them”

  • http://www.theclipshow.com Jim Kirks

    Damn you Brogan. This is the conversation I had all last week and something that seems to be a constant as of late.

    Were we separated at birth?

    Whats holding me back? ME!!

  • http://www.theclipshow.com Jim Kirks

    Damn you Brogan. This is the conversation I had all last week and something that seems to be a constant as of late.

    Were we separated at birth?

    Whats holding me back? ME!!

  • http://www.ldpodcast.com whitney

    For anyone still feeling stifled or as if they’re drowning- I strongly recommend “The Artist’s Way”- doing that exerxise and identifying people who were “not helpful” in my life helped me get into the fast lane as well; either “Now discover your strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and SDon Clifton or “Strengthinder 2.0″ by Tom Rath will help you identify your strengths. once you start focusing on strengths, things get better VERY quickly.

  • http://www.ldpodcast.com whitney

    For anyone still feeling stifled or as if they’re drowning- I strongly recommend “The Artist’s Way”- doing that exerxise and identifying people who were “not helpful” in my life helped me get into the fast lane as well; either “Now discover your strengths” by Marcus Buckingham and SDon Clifton or “Strengthinder 2.0″ by Tom Rath will help you identify your strengths. once you start focusing on strengths, things get better VERY quickly.

  • Pingback: Critt Jarvis » Blog Archive » Digging into my own life, finding a groove: Almost music

  • http://www.eggmarketingblog.com Susan Payton

    You always give me great ideas for my own blog! I think it’s a great point to remind everyone that we are each responsible for our own destiny. For those of us who work from home, we already know that (although for me it rather fell into my lap!).

  • http://www.eggmarketingblog.com Susan Payton

    You always give me great ideas for my own blog! I think it’s a great point to remind everyone that we are each responsible for our own destiny. For those of us who work from home, we already know that (although for me it rather fell into my lap!).

  • http://seriousaboutcamo.typepad.com Clay Newton

    Chris, this is a great post. Very inspiring. Inspiring as much because it helps me as a reminder in my day-to-day challenges around mastering my self-confidence and taking responsibility for not just by actions, but my life as a whole. Also inspiring, because it’s a testament to the work we keep seeing you do every day toward these aims.

    It’s nice to see someone reifying themselves constantly, aware of the fact that they are doing so, and sharing it with everyone. Thank you!

  • http://seriousaboutcamo.typepad.com Clay Newton

    Chris, this is a great post. Very inspiring. Inspiring as much because it helps me as a reminder in my day-to-day challenges around mastering my self-confidence and taking responsibility for not just by actions, but my life as a whole. Also inspiring, because it’s a testament to the work we keep seeing you do every day toward these aims.

    It’s nice to see someone reifying themselves constantly, aware of the fact that they are doing so, and sharing it with everyone. Thank you!

  • Pingback: links for 2007-10-12

  • Pingback: …Discover the Rules » Blog Archive » Digging into my own life, finding a groove: Almost music

  • Pingback: Taking Responsibility and Redefining Yourself | Sufficient Thrust

  • Pingback: No Robots, Thank You « StickyFigure

  • Pingback: Hope with 2011. Are the Elastic Pants No Longer Working for You? | Green Talkâ„¢