Pick yourself — even if the team wants you
This post is part of my series on PBH for Grown-ups — you can see all of the posts here.
There’s a popular notion going around:
Altucher says it:
Too often we want someone to like our novel. Or promote us. Or hire us. Or buy our idea. Or put our product on their shelves. Or tell us they love us. Or tell us we are good.
You have to choose yourself first. …
Greatness is when every moment you choose yourself rather than relying on the past or the future to choose you. Rather than relying on anyone else in the world to choose you. — What is greatness? @ The Altucher Confidential
Seth Godin says it:
It’s a cultural instinct to wait to get picked. To seek out the permission and authority that comes from a publisher or talk show host or even a blogger saying, “I pick you.” Once you reject that impulse and realize that no one else is going to select you — that Prince Charming has chosen another house — then you can actually get to work.
If you’re hoping that the HR people you sent your resume to are about the pick you, it’s going to be a long wait. Once you understand that there are problems just waiting to be solved, once you realize that you have all the tools and all the permission you need, then opportunities to contribute abound.
No one is going to pick you. Pick yourself. — Reject the tyranny of being picked: Pick yourself @ Seth’s Blog
But — there’s an extra wrinkle.
The truth is, if you’re good, someone else probably IS going to pick you.
Someone’s going to want to publish your book.
Someone’s going to want you to write for their blog.
Someone’s going to want your content, your marketing ability, your skills.
Someone’s going to want you to work for them.
It’s very possible that no one is going to pick you. And in that case, you better pick yourself — or get used to warming the bench.
But it’s also true that if you’re good and people notice, they are going to sweep in and want to take advantage of your abilities. They’re going to want to put your talent to use. They are going to want you on their team. They’re going to want to tap your potential.
The question you have to ask yourself is:
Would I be better off picking myself?
There are entire industries (like publishing) built around taking your work and making money from it. There are people whose entire living is hustling up worker bees to fill their hive. These people are constantly looking for content and talent they can use.
They might pick you.
If you get picked and feel tremendously validated, before you walk around telling people about your book deal or your new job, take the time to sit down and think about where you want to invest your time, your effort, and your talent: in someone else’s dream? Or in your own?
No one picks you to start your own business.
No one picks you to be your own boss.
No one picks you to self-publish your book and keep the profits for yourself.
No one picks you to build up your own website, brand, and products.
No one picks you to create your own designs and share them under your own name.
The only person who can pick you to do those things is you.
Sometimes being picked is the right option. Sometimes they have something you need — experience, opportunities, contacts. Sometimes saying yes to working on someone else’s thing is the right call. Sometimes it’s what you need in the short term while you hustle hard on the side making your own thing.
But take the time to think about what it is other people see in you — your talent, your ability, your special skill — and then think about how you might exploit that for yourself. Think about how you might build something of your own.
If no one picks you, then baby, get out there and pick yourself. Start hustling.
But if someone does pick you, take time to think about it. Consider what you’re giving them and what you’re getting in return. Consider what you’re investing and who’s going to reap the returns. Think about how you might invest your talents in something that would belong entirely to you. Then do what’s best for you. But keep your eye always on what you want — the life you want to live, the person you want to be, the thing you want to build and share. Don’t let someone else’s validation knock you off course.
Pick yourself — even if you get picked.
All those who call you to themselves draw you away from yourself. — Seneca
The fellow who sits still and does just what he is told will never be told to do big things. — Charles M. Schwab