Perhaps the single thing defining whether you will ultimately be successful or not when it comes to both finding a job and advancing in your career is the degree to which you take full responsibility for your circumstances.
I am convinced that taking personal responsibility for what happens in your future gives a person a huge advantage over the person who is in a similar situation but tends to blame others. Here’s how I see it…
When we are very young, we have no control over the families we are born into; be they upper, middle or lower class. We can’t control whether our parents have superior or inferior parenting skills, the part of town our parents raise us in – in fact we can’t even control whether we grow up in a town, city or the country. When we are in school, how we are raised by our parents and the atmosphere in our homes can be supportive or not. If our parents don’t see much value in school; if there is constant tension, open yelling and fighting etc., none of this is going to really help the child trying to do their best.
Of course we also have no control over whether we are raised by two parents, a single parent or whether or not our parent(s) are employed or not. Yes there are a lot of things beyond the control of a young and growing child. These years are critically important to getting off in life to a good start or not and there can be no doubt about this. The things we value are largely shaped early in life, what we learn or fail to learn, what we are exposed to or sheltered from.
As we develop, there come times when all of us start to test our independence and grow. We start to think for ourselves, make our own choices and learn that for all the decisions we make there are consequences; some good and some bad. Some of us learn to rely on ourselves when we are far too young to have to do so out of necessity. Unfortunately there are some parents that wash their hands of the responsibility that comes with being a parent; and kids that should be playing and having fun have lost their childhood and are thrust with the responsibility of looking out for younger sisters and brothers when they themselves are barely in their teens.
I get therefore that all of us arrive at being an adult with a varied past. And don’t think for a second that having every advantage early on in life guarantees a person will turn out just fine. There are plenty of examples of this in the news on a daily basis!
The thing is however that each and every day when we get up in the morning, we have this wonderful gift of having choices to make. The choices we make are, with rare exception, ours to make alone and like I’ve said earlier, each of these choices has consequences. Look, I work daily with people who are out of work. Almost all of them when asked will say they want to work, but it is their actions which reveal truthfully whether or not they are prepared to take responsibility for ultimately being successful or not.
I’ll give an example of two fellows I met recently. Both are unemployed, in their 40’s, with no computer skills. While the one fellow signed up and is taking an introductory computer class, the other decided not to attend. The reason the guy gave for not attending is that he didn’t have a computer to use at home and as no one was going to give him one, what was the point? Just an excuse for not taking the class perhaps, but there he is, refusing to learn the self-help skills which would give the ability to compete for employment better, and pointing the finger at others for not giving him a computer in the first place. The first guy as it turns out doesn’t have one either, but he plans to get one once he learns the skills needed, and until then is happy to use a library, the resource centre and ones owned by others in his extended family.
You find yourself here in the present largely based on the decisions you’ve made in the past. You can’t change those decisions any more than you can change how you were raised. You can however, decide to change your future if you’d like, and it starts with taking responsibility for what happens from today moving forward. This is after all your life to live as you choose. If you continue to make similar choices and decisions, your life will largely stay fairly much the same. If you take responsibility for your life and want a future different from your present circumstances, you have to make different choices that will bring about different outcomes.
So change can be good. Change will involve a struggle to learn some new things; you will be tempted to revert back to your old habits and your old ways which will seem the easier thing to do. There will be times; you’ll wonder why you don’t give up. Stick with your plans for change however, take responsibility for your future, and you’ll create opportunities for yourself that only you can bring about.
Written By Kelly Mitchell
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