I saw this quote from Gordana Biernat a few days ago on Twitter and it resonated with me…
The reality is, we are ultimately responsible for our successes and failures. We are responsible for seizing a moment or sabotaging one.
This is not to say that someone with greater power and influence cannot block your path, stab you in your back, disenfranchise you. That too is true. But when and for how long do you fight back and look for other options and opportunities? If you never do then how can you expect positive change? When do you learn the rules and start using the game to flip things in your favor? The game is over only when we give up. But if you never even made an attempt, then what do you have to say for yourself? You can’t possibly know what “could’ve been” because you never really tried.
I know what it’s like to have someone sabotage your dreams and goals. But why in the world would I give them all of my power by giving up my pursuit of what I want most in life? They may have thrown a wrench in my plan but they don’t determine my destiny. My reality is what I make it, what I concede to. I’ve learned to go back to the drawing board, rethink the strategy and reassess my resources, and then try again.
I can say that I also know what it feels like to have someone use you for your skills and “brilliance”—where you step away from your path to help someone with theirs—or you’re just walking on your path and one day find them hanging on. I know what it feels like to have human leaches hanging on in hopes that the ride will get them to their desired destination, or close enough.
Hitching your wagon onto someone else is not the best plan for success. That horse will stop walking. Eventually it will buck. It will just be you and your wagon. Stuck.
There’s a difference between getting help—a boost, a sling—and then there’s blatantly relying on someone else to get you to your version of the promised land.
Your success should not be tied to another person’s efforts or vision. What is in their life plan is for them. What is in your plan is for you. Your reality changes based off of your actions or lack thereof—don’t place expectations upon others. Your ability to identify their genius does not grant you the right to tap into it and milk it for what it’s worth—especially if in return you aren’t compensating them what their worth.
Collaborations are one thing. Latching on to someone as though they will rescue you is something entirely different. There’s a sense of equality in the former and imbalance in the latter. Collaborations are about all parties giving. Latching on is about you taking. Collaboration is your active participation in changing your reality. Latching on to someone else is about you manipulating them so that they can hopefully change your reality.
Every day you need to be actively pursuing ideas and opportunities that allow you to use your strongest skills to perform work that will positively change your reality. You have to put in the work—not expect someone else to do the work for you to enable you, so that you get what you want.
Change requires you to deliberately act. It starts and ends with you. Good or bad. Slow or fast. Bumpy or smooth. Your efforts. No one else’s.
Thank you Gordana for this quote on change and for the inspiration of this post.