Taking Personal Responsibility is an Important Key to Your Success

Today, do the things others won’t do; so tomorrow you can do the things they can’t.

I got this one from Jerry Rice an American Football player.  He is in the NFL Hall of Fame.  When he retired, he held all of the important records a wide receiver could amass.  I’ve never seen anyone better – and I’ve watched a lot of football over the years.  Growing up in Pittsburgh, Sundays meant two things – church and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jerry Rice was well known for his commitment to fitness.  He worked out harder and longer than any other pro football player.  When he was asked the secret of his success, he said, “I am willing to do the things today that others won’t do, so I can do things on Sunday that they can’t do.”  In other words, work hard, prepare, commit to taking personal responsibility for your own success.

It’s simple, really.  Success is all up to you, and me, and anyone else who wants it.  We all have to take personal responsibility for our own success.  I am the only one who can make me a success.  You are the only one who can make you a success.  Become willing to do things that others are unwilling to do – and this can be a million little things like keeping your clothes in good repair; shining your shoes; rehearsing your presentation out loud; proofreading your emails, not just relying on spell check; staying up-to-date on your company, your competitors and your industry, building relationships by doing willingly for others.

If you already do these kinds of things, bravo.  You’re in the minority.  Too many people do only what they have to.  Successful people always go the extra mile.  As Jerry Rice says, they do the things others won’t.

Think for a minute.  What are the kinds of things that you can do that go above and beyond, that demonstrate your commitment to your own success?  Make a list.  Then go about doing these things regularly.

Stuff happens: good stuff, bad stuff, frustrating stuff, unexpected stuff.  Successful people respond to the stuff that happens in a positive way.  Humans are the only animals with free will.  That means we – you and me – get to decide how we react to every situation that comes up.  When you take responsibility for responding positively to people and events – especially negative people and events – you’re doing the things that a lot of people won’t do.  This means that you’ll be more successful in the long run.

Personal responsibility means recognizing that you are responsible for your life and the choices you make.  It means that you realize that, while other people and events have an impact on your life, these people and events don’t shape your life.  When you accept personal responsibility for your life, you own up to the fact that how you react to people and events is what’s important.  And you can choose how to react to every person you meet and everything that happens to you.

Take personal responsibility for your life and career.  Do the things others won’t do, and you’ll succeed.

Your career mentor,



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