Pokism #7: On Picking Yourself

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“Reject tyranny of ‘picked.’ Pick yourself.” – Seth Godin”

My prolific blogging friend (and mentor), Anthony Iannarino wrote an article exactly two weeks ago, titled “Your Permission Slip.” I printed off the article, signed it, and framed it. Maybe you should too…

Remember back in grade school when you were going to go on a field trip and needed express, written permission from your parents in order to go? Remember when you needed a “Permission Slip?” It seems so childish doesn’t it–to have to ask for permission?

Yet unfortunately, as adults, most of us never grow out of asking for permission. Not just from our parents, but from everyone. We are constantly seeking approval to justify acting on our convictions. We ask our teachers, our bosses, our employees, our colleagues, our friends, and even our enemies.

We Need Someone Else to Tell Us It’s Okay

I’m not talking about completely ignoring the advice of others. Sure, it’s a good idea to consider other perspectives, especially when they are coming from people who care about and want what’s best for you. No, I’m not talking about disregarding everything everyone says. But I am talking about not being controlled by it.

Because, you see, when all is said and done, you can’t blame others for the bad advice they gave you. You can only blame yourself for having taken it. You are responsible for your actions–whether you admit it to yourself or not.

I think that’s why so many need the input of others, though, in order to validate our convictions. If we go with our gut, we have no one to pass the blame on when we fail. If we let others run our lives for us, we can escape some of the guilt and self-loathing that comes with the setbacks. Waiting for permission–or even instructions–is simply just easier.

Waiting to Be Picked

Seth Godin, in his book Poke the Box, talks about how everyone is always waiting to be picked. Entrepreneurs wait to get picked by venture capitalists. Employees wait to get picked for a promotion. They need someone to select them, he says, in order to validate the value they bring to the table. I don’t have a solid business idea unless I get funded. I’m not really that great of a work unless I get promoted. “Reject the tyranny of ‘picked.’” Seth Says, “Pick yourself.”

A couple of days ago, Anthony Iannarino wrote another post about a few of his undergrad students wanting to launch a business. Apparently, one of their other professors had told them not the waste their time because there was a group of MBAs attempting to do the same thing. “What makes you think,” he asked, “that you are able to start a social media consulting practice?” Anthony’s advice for those students? Ignore the skeptics and go for it!

You know your capabilities. You know what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t or shouldn’t accomplish the goals. Allow your convictions to be shaped by reason and good sense. But ALWAYS ACT ON YOUR CONVICTIONS!

What are you waiting for? Who are you waiting for? Stop waiting. Sign your permission slip and get going.

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