We are all, ultimately, who we choose to be. Successful people choose to be successful and don’t accept being unsuccessful. Unsuccessful people choose to believe that they don’t have a chance to be successful. But we all have the chance to be successful. We make the choice everyday to move toward success or to accept defeat.
But, you say, I don’t have the opportunity - my boss doesn’t support me, I’m in a dead end job, I don’t have any money or any time. Abraham Lincoln was born poor and lost multiple elections before becoming President. Nelson Mandela spent more than 20 years in jail before becoming President of South Africa and leading the country out of apartheid.
Some people have an advantage based on their circumstances – family money, good schools, nice neighborhoods – but everyone has an opportunity. Everyone can make that choice to be who they want to be.
You can choose whether you study in school, work hard at your job, read instead of watch TV, volunteer for assignments and opportunities to learn, treat others well, support the organization, and most importantly, to look for the positive in any situation rather than the negative.
If you get turned down for a job, or a promotion, you can complain about how unfair it is that you weren’t hired, or you can look at why you weren’t hired and what you can do to improve your chances next time.
People overcome their circumstances every day, and they do it by deciding what they want and figuring out how to get there, by learning what they need to know and finding ways to show what they can do; by becoming the person that deserves to be in a better place.
I’ve worked in places where we have provided opportunities for people to work in temporary assignments as leaders, to learn the job and show that they have the ability to move up. And instead of getting fifty applications, we got two or three - and once, we got none!
Why? The reasons are endless – it’s too much work, you already know who you are going to hire, I should just be promoted because I did the job someplace else…
The people who stepped up and did what needed to be done eventually got promoted, not because they were the most skilled, but because they demonstrated that they were willing to do the work and learn what they needed to know.
That can be you, if you decide to be that person. Believe in yourself, give yourself a chance, look for possibilities and not excuses. Focus on what you want, and work on it. Learn from your mistakes and rejections.
It’s your choice, and you get to make it every day.