The Biggest Key to Your Success? Personal Responsibility

As part of my social media marketing strategy, I send motivational quotes to my subscribers every day. Each quote comes with the header, “Think, Act, Succeed,” and with the following suggestions—Think: How does this quote apply to my life and career? Act: Do something. Put your thoughts to work. Succeed: Thoughtful action is the key to creating your life and career success.

I always provide the opportunity to unsubscribe. Very few subscribers do. But when someone does, I ask for feedback. The other day, I received this bit of feedback from someone who chose to unsubscribe.

“Bud never explains the quotes, or offers any insight as to why he chose them or what they mean to him.”

This person missed the point of the quotes entirely. My goal is to provide something to think about. I encourage people to make personal meaning out of the quote and then to take some action to move forward in their lives and careers. I don’t expect that every quote will hit home with every person. But my hope is that a quote will move someone to take some positive steps to move ahead.

And that’s why I feel as if the person who unsubscribed missed the point. Other people can provide you with wisdom, guidance, suggestions, or just something to think about. But you have to do the work necessary to benefit from them.

I devote an entire section in my career advice book, Success Tweets, to the idea of committing to taking personal responsibility. Tweet 33 says, “Take personal responsibility for your success. No one will do it for you. Adopt the motto, ‘If it’s to be, it’s up to me’.”

It’s simple common sense. If you want to succeed, in pharma marketing or any other field, taking personal responsibility is key. This means learning from your mistakes. It means setting high goals and meeting or beating them—on a regular basis. It means bouncing back from setbacks and mistakes—getting past your hurt feelings if you don’t get that promotion. It means being tenacious in the pursuit of your personal and professional success.

How Good Leaders Help

There’s a leadership lesson here too. Good leaders develop the people around them.  They realize that the best way for them to get promoted is to have a slate of great candidates ready to backfill them.

You can’t develop young marketers by doing it for them. They will have to try, and sometimes fail, if they’re going to grow. But you can do several things that will help the people you lead take personal responsibility for their growth and development. You can model the kind of behavior that will help people move ahead. You can engage with the people you lead to better understand their strengths and challenges. You can be there for them when things go poorly—helping them learn from their mistakes. You can teach them what you’ve learned through experience. And you can watch them as they go about their work, reinforcing them for what they do well, and redirecting them when they run into problems.

But you can’t do it for them. You can mentor and advise, but you have to leave it to those you lead to build their own success. That’s why my quotes ask people to think, act and succeed. I want my subscribers to reflect on what they’ve read and then take responsibility for putting it to work.

  • Bud Bilanich

    Bud Bilanich, The Common Sense Guy, is a success coach, motivational speaker, author and blogger. He is a faculty member at the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver where he teaches courses in Organizational Dynamics and Human Capital Management. Bud has written five books on career and life success, which are the basis of his Common Sense Success System.

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