[April 2, 2021] Yes, indeed, be the captain of your own ship. If you want to be satisfied with your life and not look back with regret on what you did or did not do, then take the wheel of your ship and steer it. You are accountable for what happens in your life, and you are also responsible for helping others see this unalterable truth.
“You are the captain of your own ship; don’t let anyone else take the wheel.” – Michael Josephson1
I’m a U.S. Army veteran, but I always liked this particular quote for several reasons. The sea captain, I can imagine, is a man weathered by the hardships of life, alone at the helm of his ship, plying inexorably into the rough seas. He knows where he is going, and he is confident in his abilities. He is self-reliant, full of courage, and undeterred by the test before him. The symbolism is clear.
Here are some of the ways that you can become the captain of my own ship:
- Look for opportunities everywhere to advance yourself by: a) asking those you trusted to look for you, b) proving you can handle a lot of work without complaint, c) showing that you are not afraid of doing difficult, complex, risky jobs, and d) demonstrating moral courage.
- Make sure all your paperwork is in good order by: a) writing your own performance evaluations as well as those for your boss and subordinates, b) writing up awards for those closest to you, your boss, and yourself as well, and c) verifying all your health and career records are accurate with verification documentation.
- Find excellent mentors by: a) being on the lookout for those who are the best in your career field and can advise you on your career development, b) know that their success or past successes will reflect on you if they are your mentor, and c) be upfront and honest and why you want them as your mentor. More than one mentor is okay.
- Be yourself and promote yourself by: a) being likable, b) honest and truthful, c) inspirational, and d) energetic. If you do not possess these traits, fix them now. It’s hard work. Make it so.
- Make your own decisions by: a) not blindly following the path others take, b) being original and different to stand out in the crowd, c) not letting negative people influence you, d) staying focused on your career and family objectives, e) prioritizing your values, and f) by recognizing that not all your decisions will be good ones but learn from those mistakes.
I do my best to make my own decisions, and I am grateful that I have chosen this route; how we handle ourselves in those decisions matters. All else is irrelevant.