After discovering this awesome image on Tumblr (my new obsession, as those of you who follow me on Twitter know... you can find Positively Present on Tumblr here), I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be your own hero. Many people spend such a great deal of time waiting around for someone to save them. There are quite a few poor souls, feeling stranded and alone, waiting for fate to swoop in and save the day. They are sitting where they are, looking around hopefully for a white knight or a Superman. Not to dash anyone's dreams, but, let's be serious: there is no such thing a knight in shining armor and I'm pretty sure Superman is a figment of someone's creative imagination. It would be wonderful if we could all just sit around and someday be saved from whatever it is that is making us unhappy, but that's not the way life works.
Yes, in some cases, we can be (and will be) saved. Love can save us. Opportunities can save us. Wonderful and kind people can save us. But more often than not, it will be up to us to save ourselves. Lately I've seen a lot of people in my life -- including myself -- being their own heroes, and it's been very inspiring for me to see. There are many ways one can save his or herself, but lately I've seen a lot of heroism when it comes to career choices. It's a tough job world out there, and it can be very tempting to sit back and complain, to soak in the negativity (because, hey, it's not too hard to find in an economy like this one) and just settle for whatever comes along.
Lately, I've been inspired by people who aren't just sitting back and waiting for the someday when they will be saved from their unhappy careers. I've seen two of my best friends taking action when it came to their jobs. Here's the back story: Both friends were ready for career changes and were fortunate enough to find new, and seemingly great, jobs even in this troublesome economy. They both started their new jobs and quickly realized that they weren't all they'd thought they would be. Both friends were incredibly unhappy in their new positions. So did they settled into their new roles and call me complaining and whining about their new gigs? Nope! They both did what they could to be their own heroes, and, instead of waiting for someone or something to save them, they got up and took action, reaching out to their contacts and making valiant efforts to secure new positions. Because of their career-oriented heroism, one of them has already started a new job while the other has plans to do so very soon.
Clearly, these two have inspired me, and they helped to realize that no one was going to save me from being unhappy in my career. If I wasn't enjoying what I was doing, it was up to me to make a change. And, you know what? I did! I've taken the stories of my inspiring friends and I'm making it into my own reality. Whether it's a job or a relationship or anything else in your life that you feel you need to be saved from, you have to remember this: you can be your own hero. Yes, there is a slim chance that someone will come along and save you. It happens. But if you wait for that, you could be waiting forever.
After a long time of waiting, hoping, and wishing, I finally stopped dreaming of someday and began to take control of what was cause negativity in my life. It took a long time for me to get up the courage and strength to do what I knew needed to be done, but here is the tale of my recent attempt to be my own hero...
How To Be Your Own Hero
For a long time, I wasn't happy with my career and I was sitting around waiting for something to happen. I would periodically look for new jobs but I wouldn't put in a ton of effort. I just thought that someday something would happen and I would find myself in a new position. Ah, that notion of being "discovered" -- such an American ideal I think so many of us keep tucked inside of our hearts, hoping that someday we will just bump into Oprah on the street and the pages of our hand-scribbled novel will just catch her eye (oh, wait, that's probably just me...). As much as I would find that to be a dream come true, I got to a point when I finally realized: no one is going to save me. I had to take control of this myself.
If I didn't like what was happening in my life, I had to make changes. I couldn't sit around and hope for someone to discover me or randomly offer me my dream job. I wasn't getting anywhere but frustrated as I sat behind my desk and pondered the likelihood of incredibly well-connected people reading my blog. So I decided to take matters into my own hands. And I started looking for a job. This is, under normal circumstances, a daunting and unpleasant task. There are forms to fill out, countless websites to visit and scan for job listings, and dozens of letters and emails to be sent. Under normal circumstances, this is a frustrating and usually thankless task. Add the undeniable phrase "bad economy" to the mix and it starts to feel pretty darn hopeless. It was frustrating to look for a job, to say the least. But I did it. I took action and did what I had to do to make things happen.
Don't give up.
Under normal circumstances, job-hunting is a frustrating and often thankless task. Add the undeniable phrase "bad economy" to the mix and it starts to feel pretty darn hopeless. There were days when I certainly wanted to give up. There are days when I would come home from work, exhausted and drained, and it took every once of strength to turn on my computer and start looking for jobs. For months I didn't hear anything. I sent out resume after resume and still nothing. But I didn't give up. As tempting as it was to throw in the towel and just stay in my current position, I found ways to motivate myself and I got creative. Just as I was about to give up, I sent out an email to my friends and family asking for help and, within a day, I had two interviews lined up. Those interviews must have put the Law of Attraction into play because, shortly after that, more interviews started rolling in.
While, of course, the interviewing process was scary and a bit overwhelming, it was a welcome change to the dull task of submitting resumes online. As welcome as this change was and as much as it was a move in a positive direction regarding the job hunt, it was scary to know that a new job might become a reality. When I first started looking, it was just that -- looking -- but, all of the sudden I found myself in a suit, striding into new offices and shaking hands with the hope that they would pick me. I wanted to be picked, and yet I was terrified of the change. It would have been easy, even at this point, to forget the whole thing -- but I didn't. Inside me I found something that resembled bravery and I keep moving forward until, one lucky day, I was offered not one but two jobs.
All of the sudden I had not one but two companies that wanted me -- me! -- to work for them. It was exciting and motivating and confidence-boosting. It was what I'd been waiting for. Only now I was faced with three choices: accept company #1's offer, accept company #2's offer, or stay at my current company. All three choices had their pluses and minuses. It was as I was debating these three that I wrote The Power of Positive Choices: 7 Tips for Choosing Wisely. It was a difficult decision, but I followed my own advice and found myself making the choice to go with my gut instinct and take a job offered by a company that, for a variety of reasons, just gave me a good feeling. It is only now that I am realizing that I chose, for once, to save myself rather than waiting for someone to save me. I chose to make a change -- scary as it seemed -- and I chose to be my own hero.
And after three years of waiting, today is the last day in this office. Today is the last day here and the first day of my new career. Today is a day I will look back on and think: You know what? This didn't just happen. I made this happen. The desk is being packed because I stopped waiting. The goodbyes are being said because I took action. The keys are being handed over because I didn't give up. This afternoon I will drive away without looking back because I am brave. And I will start a new job with an excited, positive attitude because I chose wisely. What will happen now, I don't know for sure, but what I do know is that, with a positive attitude and a fierce determination, I managed to become my own hero.