With a touch of desperation and a tone of sincerity, she took the microphone during the Q&A section of my speech, and asked, “How do I get the very best human resource leaders to put their time and energy into helping me become one of the best?”

Her question, along with the desperation, felt incredibly familiar to me, as I remembered back to the days I pleaded with several talented speakers and messaging experts to help me find and share my message. In fact, I remember snapping a photo of this quote—

“Give me a place to stand, and I will change the world.”

—and sending it to Dawn, a gifted speaker and my former coach, secretly hoping she would tell me exactly what I believe in and how to package it so that I would gain traction in my career.

“I feel like a Lamborghini… inches off the ground. Help me get my wheels to touch the pavement, and I’ll take off,” I’d say, hoping that someone would take pity on me and devote their time and resources to providing me with the exact opportunities and experiences I needed to become one of the best.

Too afraid to take any chances on myself, I secretly hoped they would step up to the plate and do it for me. Of course, it doesn’t work that way, but I couldn’t see the truth back then. I couldn’t see that I had to be the one to give myself a place to stand, nor did I understand that standing in that place would change the world—my world—the only world I can ever change.

Asking others to give you a place to stand in the world is akin to asking a fitness trainer to burn calories for you, which would be awesome and ridiculously profitable if it were possible. It’s not. They can—and the best trainers do—create custom exercise programs, and hold their clients accountable to their goals. But—they cannot do the work for you.

When you invest (time, energy, and money) in the results you care about (being one of the most valuable human resource professionals in the market, as an example), you send a clear signal to the Universe (and everyone around you) that you are committed to doing whatever is necessary to reach success. Please note: there are three critical pieces at play here—time, energy, and money/resources.

While you can pay a trainer (and even a leadership coach) thousands of dollars to create the plan, and hold you accountable to it, you cannot pay them to feel the frustration or the pain for you. You get to be the one to experience fear, frustration, and the freedom that comes when you get to the other side of it. Showing up and putting yourself through the workout is critical to crafting your best body, and career.

Only you can lower yourself to the ground, and you do this by picking yourself—to get curious about, take risks on, to invest in, and to develop. When you decide to pick yourself, you’ll find a way to get the training you need, to introduce yourself to the people you need to meet, and to take on that project you know will get you the experience and exposure you need to fuel your career.

Don’t waste another minute waiting for someone else to pick you and decide on the direction of your career, or of your ability to contribute to your community. Start taking risks on yourself—invest time, money, and energy in strengthening key relationships, advancing skills, gaining experiences, and sharing every bit of what you learn along the way. Get involved in projects you care about. Don’t know what projects you care about? Listen intently for the people/experiences that intrigue you—then, invest.

Avoid worrying about perfection, and simply do the best you can with the information and skills you have. You will never have all the right training, nor will you ever get it exactly right. That’s okay. The feeling of progress far outweighs the pain of postponing your desire to advance.

You already have everything you need to do the work that matters to you—put yourself in the game, experience the difficulty of getting knocked down, along with the thrill of scoring. Recognize that neither of those two experiences (getting knocked down or scoring) is better than the other—they’re both simply giving you feedback.

Follow Pema Chodran’s advice and start where you are, in this moment, not where you think you should be. There is never a better place or time to start picking yourself then where you are right now. Trust me, I started at rock bottom—void of opportunity and suffering greatly from anxiety and fear of worthlessness.

There wasn’t enough training on this planet—or a good enough teacher—to rid me of my fears. My saving grace: picking myself. Investing nearly every bit of energy, money and time I had in getting the training I needed, building relationships, and finding opportunities to share my talents have put the right balls in motion to get my wheels to touch the pavement. And, while it feels great in this moment, I know that the investment is never done.

There is no, “there, I did it.” Well, maybe there is, but it must be followed up with, “Next!” Many years ago, Edie, a mentor, irritated me with her constant, “Next!” I wanted to take my time celebrating, meanwhile the world moved on, and I wound up in the fetal position praying for my life.

So, yes, celebrate your successes, and then ask yourself what’s needed to continue evolving your spirit, relationships, and career. Keep putting forth the time, energy, and resources necessary for advancing your own mind, body, spirit, and successes—no one else can do it for you.

Here’s to Your Greatness,

Misti Burmeister

NEW! Ready to reconnect to the excitement of—

—Your work/career

—Leading your team

—Growing your bottom line, along with your people?

Grab your 40 minute Gearing for Greatness session with Misti today—

“Through the power of listening and summarizing situations, Misti has an uncanny way of motivating not just you but your whole team!” – Susan Malone, Executive Director at Wide Angle Youth Media