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why you need to be your own hero (and how to do it!)

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

Stop waiting. 

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. 


Take action.  

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. 


Be brave. 

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. 


Choose wisely.

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. 


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Dani, how absolutely wonderful for you my dear! I follow your articles but don't write in often, this one though deserves that I take the time.

You've chronicled so accurately what a lot of us have lived through and are living and the lessons your learned right up to writing this post are wonderful to read, and one heck of an inspiration.

Good for you girl!

Catherine - Thank you so much for your encouraging words! It's been quite a road to get from where I was to where I am now, but I hope that by sharing my experience I'll inspire others to realize that they don't have to settle for anything and that anyone can be his or her own hero!

Hooray! (shakes pompoms) I'm so happy for you and I can't wait to see what new and wonderful things you do next. :3

Awesome news. Your new company has just acquired an incredible mulit-faceted resource in you.

Opportunities are endless. All your future successes could be stimulated by people you meet and things you learn on this new adventures.

How exciting.

wow congrats Dani ! thats awesome and very inspiring =)

That last paragraph, especially, gave me chills !

Some Eagles lyrics I thought of when I saw this post... (I don't listen to them; I just saw this in the book, "The Right Words at the Right Time
Volume 2: Your Turn!" by Marlo Thomas.)

Here's the part of the lyrics from the book:

"Well I know it wasn't you who held me down
Heaven knows it wasn't you who set me free
So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
And we never even know we have the key"

Dani, that's fantastic news! Really, really well done for persevering, taking charge of your own destiny and creating this opportunity for yourself.

This feels like the right moment also to honour the posts you wrote about making the best of a less than ideal situation. To me it feels that you really learned through your experience to find a good balance on this. By accepting and finding the positive in where you were, despite not being totally happy, you helped nurture the energy and motivation to move yourself beyond that situation and, as you write, to choose wisely when the moment came to choose.

I'm so excited for you as you embark on your new job - good luck! :) x

Ellie - Thank you so much! It took a lot to get where I am right now and I really appreciate your words of celebration and encouragement!

Jonathan - I'm excited about all of the opportunities in front of me and I'm even happier that I'm able to take advantage of some of them. Thanks for your comment!

Rocky - Thank you! I'm glad you found it inspiring and it makes me happy to know that the last paragraph (my personal favorite) moved you.

Matt - Those are great lyrics and so perfect for this situation! Thank you so much for sharing them with me.

Catherine - Thank you! I'm pretty proud of myself for taking action, even though it was tempting to stay where I was and keep doing what I was doing. Thank you so much for your comment and for the great connection you made to how I've taken my own advice from previous posts and put it to good use in this situation. Thanks so much for your good luck wishes!

Right on ... be your own best hero. I'm a fan of lead your life from the insight out, and lead a life of action.

J.D. - Thanks for the comment! Great concept of leading your life from the insight out -- I love that!

For some reason, Michael Y. wasn't able to post his comment, but I'm going to post it here for all of you to read because it made my day. Thanks, Michael!

Hey Dani! This is absolutely fantastic! The hero inside you
has done it! You have become an author of your fate and a actor of you social role. This sounds so reassuring. I enjoyed that post of yours very much and even designed and devoted a little poem for you:

This Never Ending Sunrise

Reflecting things backwards
I understand to my utmost surprise
That my yesterday
can be be found somewhere
where lightning ages apart arise
Scattered in the cool cosmos
A warm signal comes from the heart
Clear and simple -

I have just lost another day
from my future..
But the world continues - as never before -
behind the windows, a different wind blows...
Clouds are wearing new hair cuts
Allowing me to see bright light in the eyes
of our younger generation...

This never ending sunrise -
with my life steadily passing by
yet still in front of me again !
Leaving no place for memories.

Big ups to you, thats wonderful. Congratulations!

Feyi - Thank you! I'm very excited about the big change coming my way. :)

Love the note-card attached to the post!

Congratulations, Dani! I know that feeling and it's the best "drug" in the world! Well done you on making your own dreams begin coming true! I hope you will remind yourself of this bravery and accomplishment when you ever feel down again: it's a powerful reminder of all you are capable of.

Wishing you the very best!

Very nice post Dani, yes we do need to become heroes sometimes in order to sail safely through life, thanks for sharing your thoughts:)

Richard - I'm glad you liked that! I thought it was very fitting for what I've been going through.

Chania Girl - Thank you! It's definitely a great feeling and it's great to be experiencing it. Great point about keeping this feeling in mind the next time I'm facing a difficult situation. Thanks for your well wishes!

Farouk - Thanks! It can be hard to remember that sometimes, but it really is true that we need to be our own heroes at times!

Hi Dani,

I really like the verse in the image. It's SO true.

And look at you. You've taken it to heart and are following your dream to the beautiful future which awaits you. Yes. You are brave.

I wish you all the best on your new endeavors.

Barbara - Isn't that a great image? I was so happy when I came across it, knowing it would be perfect for this post. Thank you so much for your comment and your words of support and encouragement! :)

an amazing image i must say. When taking charge of our life it becomes exactly how we want it to be. Reminds me of a quote from jim rohn “If you don't design your own life plan, chances are you'll fall into someone else's plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”

Josten - Great quote. Thanks so much for sharing it! I agree that if you don't design your own life plan, you'll end up living by someone else's plan. Glad you shared that quote!

Absolutely beautiful! This gave me chills (in a good way) your fire reached through my computer. Congratulations to you! And thank you for writing this, it's beyond inspiring - it shook me

Aileen - Thank you so much for your comment! It means so much to me to know that this post really spoke to you and left you feeling inspired. :)

Do you know who wrote the insightful verse above about being your own hero? I love it!

Wiesemillr - Sorry, I don't know, but I love it too!

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