Being Your Own Hero

Being your own hero. Silhouette Of A young boy wearing a cape plays a super hero at sunset.
Be your own hero.

One day I was teaching a customer service class, and I remember a woman complaining non-stop about how miserable she was in her job.

She went on and on about how she hated all of her coworkers, she hated her boss, she hated serving customers, and most of all, she felt like her job was taking years off of her life due to “being around stupid people all day.”

When she was done with her rant, I asked her a very obvious question that she probably should have asked herself years ago:

“If you’re so miserable here, shouldn’t you consider finding another job that will make you happy?”

She was completely shocked by my question, before she finally responded.

“Well, I have bills to pay and I need this job. But that’s not even the issue. I just don’t understand why this company has so many idiots working here. They should be the ones who have to quit, not me…” Blah, blah, blah.

On and on she went. It was truly sad to listen to her.

She believed that the responsibility for fixing her unhappiness in her job belonged to her company, to her coworkers, and to her boss.

The fact is, no one is going to save her from a job that she hates–least of all, the “idiots” who she hates working with.

But I know who can.

Superman is Busy

The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. The gift of life is yours. It’s an amazing journey, and you alone are responsible for the quality of it.” -Dan Zadra

There is not one post on The Positivity Solution that will be of any use to anyone if we’re not willing to do one very important thing:

Take full responsibility for the quality (or lack of it) of our lives.

What good is any blog post, advice, or encouragement if we foolishly believe that someone else has the power to save us, besides ourselves?

Let’s be real.

Superman isn’t coming, because Superman isn’t real.

And even if he was real, he would probably be too busy to save us anyway.

The good news is that we don’t need him.

The responsibility for saving us and leading us to our best lives, is our responsibility and our responsibility alone.

Simply put, we need to be the heroes in our lives.

And truthfully, doesn’t that make sense?

The person with the most power over our lives will always be the person looking back at us in the bathroom mirror every morning.

We’re the ones who are making the decisions in our lives.

We’re the ones in charge of our thoughts, words, and actions.

Most of all, we’re the ones with the most invested in our overall happiness and well-being.

Contrary to popular belief, it will never be our bosses, our significant others, our parents, or anyone else who hold any power over us.

Unless we choose to give them that power, of course.

Make no mistake though, our power belongs to us.

And since we’re on the topic of mistakes, the biggest one that we’ll ever make in our entire lives is choosing to give that power to someone else.

The Best (and Toughest) Advice I’ve Ever Received

The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” -Mark Twain

In 40+ years of life, I have been fortunate enough to have some amazing mentors.

During one particularly whiny period of life, I remember being addicted to the triple-whammy of personal mediocrity: 1) Chronically complaining, 2) making excuses for everything that was going wrong in my life and 3) blaming everyone else for my problems.

I still remember telling one of mentors (my psychology professor in college) that “I work my ass off at my work study job! I deserve to be treated better by my boss! It is so unfair.”

What my mentor told me next hurt like hell, but it changed my life forever.

“The world doesn’t owe you anything.”


Sure it stung, but she was absolutely right. The world doesn’t owe us anything. Not a damn thing.

That’s why we can’t fall victim to these way-too-common thoughts:

I give this company 110% effort on a daily basis. I deserve a boss who respects me.

I do everything for this family. I deserve a spouse who appreciates my efforts.

I’m such a nice person. I deserve a loving relationship.

Truthfully, your boss should respect you, your spouse should appreciate you, and you deserve the greatest love that this world has to offer.

But if you’re not getting those things and you truly want those things, then don’t wait for the world to magically hook you up with those things.

The world owes us nothing.

It doesn’t owe us a respectful boss, an appreciative spouse, true love, or anything else.

We owe it to ourselves to make those things happen for us.

Ever since I started The Positivity Solution, I have heard a lot of people tell me, “Shola, it’s not that easy.”

Seriously, can we all agree right now that is the worst comeback in the history of the world? Does something have to be easy in order for us to do it? 

Being our own heroes isn’t about “easy.”

Sadly, I’m writing this as a former chronically complaining, professional excuse-maker who wouldn’t do anything unless it was easy.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing easy about being the hero in our own story.

What is easy is making excuses and blaming others for our problems.

Being a hero means keeping our power by always taking full responsibility over the quality of our lives. I failed to do that for far too many years and I paid a very steep price for it, both professionally and personally.

If we’re going to be heroes, we need to remember that excuses and blaming others for the quality of our lives is no different than kryptonite.

And just like holding onto kryptonite, holding onto excuses and blaming others will only make us weaker.

Thankfully, there’s a much better option.

Here’s what it looks like.

Real Heroes Don’t Need a Cape

Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.” -Mandy Hale

I want you to remember the above quote as you read the following story.

Recently on The Positivity Solution’s Facebook page, there was a woman named Keisha (not her real name), who shared with me that she made the huge life decision to leave an extremely toxic relationship.

Here are her exact words the day after she left her toxic significant other (re-posted here with her permission):

“I wrote the other night about leaving a toxic relationship. I wanted to report that I have officially moved me, my 3 kids (from a previous relationship), and all our stuff to a more positive atmosphere. I was yelled at and belittled during the whole process, but I stood my ground. I feel mentally and emotionally battered. But I will come through this stronger, and with the satisfaction that I taught my daughters not to stand for being mistreated!”

Pretty awesome, right?

Please trust that there’s nothing easy about what she did.

She needed saving. Even more importantly, her three kids needed saving.

And believe me, “waiting for a hero” definitely wasn’t an option for her.

So, she decided to be the hero in her own story.

I recently followed up with her to ask where she found the courage to be so heroic, and here’s what she said:

“I’ve been through quite a few hells, and I still have the ability to smile. It’s all about how you handle the situation. It wasn’t easy, it was most likely the hardest decision of my life. I chose to love myself enough to find the strength within. It’s there in all of us, I promise. I believe that we are never handed more than we can handle. We were given this life, because we are strong enough to live it.”

This woman, my friends, is no chump.

To me, Keisha is the epitome of what being a hero is all about.

She felt the fear and did the damn thing anyway.

We can all do the same thing the moment we decide that no one has the power over our happiness, our well-being, or our best lives except for us.

No more giving our power away to excuses and blaming others.

No more waiting for the world give us what we’re owed.

No more waiting for Superman.

From now on, if we ever need to be saved, we only need to remember this simple truth:

The only hero that you’ll ever need is already here.

Your Turn

Is there an area of your life where you need to be your own hero? Have you ever “saved yourself” by being your own hero? Jump into the comments below and make your voice heard!

31 thoughts on “Being Your Own Hero”

  1. Such a valuable lesson for every person to learn.

    The youth that I work with are not yet capable of learning this lesson. We work so hard to try and teach them how to stand on their own, but since they have never mastered basic skills, they just don’t see how they are their own biggest resource.

    It is possible, but it takes a lot. It’s also heart-breaking to see how many times they fail because they don’t know what success is. When they start to feel it, it terrifies them and they stop.

    Shola, it breaks my heart!!! I refuse to give up on these kids, even when they give up on themselves over and over. Yes, there are days I would be more successful just banging my head against the wall, since the headache at the end of the day is the same. However, I will continue to be the obnoxiously positive person in their lives.

    Thank you for another fantastic post, friend. 😀

    • I’ll admit Kathy, personal responsibility is one of the toughest lessons to teach teens/young adults. I know that it took me a while until I was ready to learn that lesson. I’m just thankful that those kids have a mentor like you who is refusing to give up on them, because I had many mentors who refused to give up on my silly ass, and because of their belief in me, my life was changed forever. There is no doubt that you’re having the same powerful effect on the kids you’re working with too. You are doing AMAZING work, Kathy. Thank you for being a huge part of the solution!

  2. There comes a time in life when you have to understand that you can’t blame anyone else for anything. You know, I know a man who grew up in a home where his father was abusive to his mother. It was not physical abuse, but verbal and mental abuse. He cheated on her and just plain treated her crappy. Of course, as children, the opportunity to remove yourself is not usually an option. You have to rely on the adults to do that for you. But what I want to tell you about this is that this man grew up telling himself “I will never treat my wife the way my dad treats my mom.” He could have grown up to be a jerk just like his dad and everyone would have just said “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” but he made the choice to be a better person because he realized that he COULD be better, that he didn’t have to be like his dad. It’s a lesson that I wish for every person, b/c once you realize that you are in charge of your happiness, you are free…

    Thanks for the awesome message Shola! 😀 Have a wonderful week!!

    • Isn’t it amazing how some people who come from horrible backgrounds are able to say “I will never be like my abusive dad” while other people repeat the pattern and make excuses like “I can’t help it. Bad temper is a family trait.” Like you said Spring, once you decide that you are the one who is in control of your thoughts, words, and actions is the moment that you’re truly free. Thanks for reading, my friend!

  3. As I read this, the words from one of my favorite quotes rang through my head over and over again. After the recent issues, I’ve dealt with, this one helped me remember to keep pushing. No one else is going to save you. No one else is going to make it better. You have to do it on your own if you’re going to do it at all. Thank you again for the fantastic message. It’s another one I’m sure I’ll revisit time and time again!

    “…you are your own hero. Do not wait for someone to save you, rescue you or tell you that you are ok. Be the hero of your own story and never, ever let them make you the victim.” ~John Goode

    • What an amazing quote, Valisa! Back in the day, I wasted so many years of my life waiting for someone to save me from my problems, until I finally woke up and realized that I was “someone” and I had the power to save my life if I chose to do it. Personal responsibility was something that I avoided for years, but it’s amazing how quickly my life turned around once I decided to be my own hero. I’m glad to hear that you’ll be revisiting this post, because I’ll definitely be revisiting your quote. You truly are the Quote Queen! 🙂

  4. I needed exactly this today. I am preparing to stand my ground later this morning. Thanks in advance for being one of the guys in my corner as I do so.

    • Right on! I hope that you were successful in standing your ground, my friend! I am firmly in your corner, and the fact that you’re standing your ground doesn’t make you a “potential” hero, it makes you a real one. Props to you for honoring yourself fully and I sincerely hope that it went well 🙂

  5. I think I’ve often confused power and control. I thought if I controlled my actions/behavior/responses I could control how others treat me. What Power is really about is recognizing that I have options and choosing as wisely as I can among them. None of those options include changing another person or changing myself enough to make certain people like me (believe me, I’ve tried).

    I’m beginning to realize that when I feel powerless, it’s usually because I’m busy trying to exert control I don’t have over a situation. I’ve reduced my choices to something like “the way I think it should be or abject misery.” If I take a step back and let go of my illusions of what I think something “should” be, I can look at my REAL options and hopefully choose wisely among them.

    • Great points, Maria. Like you said, power is about recognizing that you have options. Or put another way, it’s about realizing that while we may not have any control of other people, we’ll always have control over our own thoughts, words, and actions. I completely agree with your point about feeling most powerless when trying to exert control over a situation–I’ve definitely been there (actually, as recently as this morning). Thanks for your comment!

  6. Superman isn’t real?! Shit. At least we’ve still got Spiderman 🙂

    Jokes aside, I loved this post man. The easy path in life is to blame everyone else for your problems. It requires very little effort to complain about your situation. But it requires A LOT of effort to acknowledge you’re in control and then take action.

    But ultimately the people who decide they run their own shit will be exponentially happier in the long term. It’s just a matter of making the decision and putting in the work to create a beautiful life.

    • Hell yes, Spider-Man is 100% real, Kev. But Superman? A dude from another planet who flies around in blue tights and a red cape? There’s nothing real about that clown 😉

      You hit the nail on the head, my man. The easy path is blaming everyone else for our problems. Back in the day, I used to blame everyone for everything instead of pointing the blame at the fool staring back at me in the mirror each day. I remember reading a quote somewhere that said “if we could kick the ass of the person most responsible for our problems, we wouldn’t be able to sit down for a week.” Like you said, it’s the ones who confidently decide that they’re the ones running their own shit who will truly experience a level of happiness that will never be achieved by constantly blaming others. Thanks for reading!

  7. This post is such spot on advice and real talk people need in their lives. Everyone wants to blame everyone else but that person in the mirror who is responsible for their reality. But I guess it’s easier than facing the truth and challenging of making a change.

    The faster you realize there isn’t a “captain save a hoe”, the better your life will be. LOL

    Thanks for the real talk!

    • Well said, Eddy! Like you said, it doesn’t matter if it’s Superman or “Captain Save a Hoe” (yeah I’ll admit, that made literally LOL), the faster we realize that they aren’t coming to save us, the better our lives will be. It will always be easier to put the responsibility for the quality of our lives onto someone else, but true success and happiness comes when we decide to keep that responsibility for ourselves (even if it isn’t easy). Thanks for the laugh my man, and thanks for reading!

      • I totally agree with you Shola! Happy I could put a smile on your face. Not like you need one though as you’re good with you’re “cheesing” already my friend. LOL

        Keep up the great content. Looking forward to reading more!

        P.S. You need a way for users to subscribe to comments so we know when people reply. I only realized you replied because your blog came up in my referral stats which I check constantly like I’m looking for gold. LOL It’s also a great way to drive traffic back to your site as it caused me to do so.

  8. Hey Shola,

    Overall it was a good article and much of what you say is true. We do need to take responsibility in our lives. However, I don’t completely agree with you either. There are lots of people interacting in the world and their behavior does affect us. We don’t function in a vacuum where only our own actions make change – instead lots of people’s actions interact like ripples on a pond. In your example, Keisha did make change and I am sure it was not easy but she is lucky she wasn’t physically attacked by her abusive partner. A close friend of mine was not so lucky. In difficult situations I find too often personal responsibility turns into another form of victim blaming. Food for thought.

    • Hey J, thanks for your comment! It looks like we’re going to have to agree to disagree on this topic. I do completely agree with you that other people’s actions and behavior can affect us, but when it comes down to making a change in our lives, it will always be up to us to make that change happen. Since we aren’t in control of other people’s actions and behaviors, the only option that makes sense to me is to fully own our own actions and behaviors. One thing is for sure though, in my opinion, personal responsibility isn’t even in the same universe as “victim blaming.” Victim blaming is like saying that a rape victim was “asking for it” because she wore a short skirt out to the nightclub. The sole purpose of “victim blaming” is to shame the victim, and there’s nothing cool or useful about that. Personal responsibility, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. To me, it means to feel consistently empowered to change or improve your situation or thinking at any time. Is this always easy? Definitely not. Like you, I have a friend who was physically assaulted by her now ex-husband, and to me, she’s the perfect example of personal responsibility. While her ex-husband is obviously completely to blame for the assault, she used that horrific situation in an empowering way. She now spends her time educating other young women to 1) be aware of the warning signs of a potential abuser and 2) monitor their own feelings and behavior so that they don’t end up in the same situation that she did. In her own words, she has refused to be a “victim.” Does this make her better than other victims who don’t do the same? Absolutely not. She just chose to make a different choice. And really, that’s what this post was all about: reminding us of our ability to make a different choice at any time.

  9. Great article and so many truths. It’s always a positive boost when you meet another who have similar beliefs. Thank you

  10. It is the first time I am visiting this homepage and you are damm right. One of my favorite motivations I want to share, because it definitively fits (and the reason why I find this hp):

    “She was a true fighter, you could see it in her eyes. She was not born strong, she made herself strong. She was sculpted to be her own hero. Do not wait for a hero. If you need a hero, become one.”

    It is a really hard way (in the beginning – and i am a beginner), but if you go ahead and hang on, it will work – that is my opinion. The difficulty is to hang on to make a change. The human is a creature of habit. But it is not impossible.

  11. I definitely agree that personal responsibility is important. Without it, you subject yourself to your own inner hell. However, I believe personal responsibility can be extreme in some cases. This is especially true with perfectionist. I don’t mean the average person who says they are a perfectionist in a job interview to show that they work hard. I’m talking about the obsessive tendency. The condition of the mind where people believe they can literally destroy the world and their life if they do something wrong. The results often are procrastination due to fear and low self-esteem due to an overarching sense of doom with their decisions. People with this condition truly benefit from seeing that they are not in control of everything nor is everything their fault. Moderation is important, even with the most helpful ways of thinking.

  12. Hi Shola
    I have just come across your website and you have seriously helped me start thinking differently to make some positive changes in my life!

    I worry a lot about how others think of me-I dont allow myself to cut my hair short or wear young and hip clothes because im worried that people will treat me like im too young and not respect me and not talk to me. I dont know why but ive noticed that when i dont make myself standout I think that people want to talk to me. But my soul is screaming inside. I want to express my creativeness through cutting my hair and colouring it a different colour and wear clothes that are trendy and colourful and ask questions in class despite looking silly or like laughing as hard as i want to laugh without containing it or being silly with my kids infront of my mother inlaw without feeling affected by her judging me for not conforming to her idea of how a woman should be.
    At the end of the day I am feeling upset at myself because I dont do the things that I want to do naturally.
    How can I get myself out of my comfort zone to do what I want to do and love in order for me to feel comfortable with myself? How can I allow myself to be how i want to be without feeling hurt by people like my inlaws not accepting me? How can yu be cheerful when people around you are so serious?
    Im sorry for my rant but I just find you and your words very comforting like a best friend.

    Thank you for your amazing work. Blessings xx

  13. YES! This is a wonderful blog post! One can choose rather or not to be their own hero.. but life is what you make of it.. not what someone owes you or to scape goat placing blame on everyone else, without taking a good look in the mirror! My being my own hero started 15 years ago when I said ‘enough’ to my abusive husband, walked away from that marriage and NEVER looked back. Since then I have had pit falls, but I learned from each and every one of them, again, growing, learning and NEVER looking back. Being your own hero consists of individual milestone successes that taking ‘life by the horns’ and moving onward, upward.. forward. If you keep wallowing in the past, you will miss the beauty each and every day blesses upon all of us!! I again, became my own hero with my weight loss, healthy life transformation that led me to this blog after I decided to grasp positivity, become strong and MOVE forward.. maintaining my weight loss and training to complete a half marathon.. did my first 10k with amazing finishing time this weekend! YEAH!!

  14. In my teens and twenties, I unfortunately was a chump. I felt so sorry for myself, and indeed, I was waiting for the world to wake up, see how wronged and deserving I was, and roll out the red carpet. Chump might not be a strong enough word. More like: JACKASS. True, I had been raised for 18 years in an abusive and unloving home, so the “victim mentality” was part of who I was. Still, I think I should have/could have figured out sooner that, once out of the house, I could make whatever I chose of my life. Thank God I did figure it out, and started making tough choices: move to a new city, dump toxic friends and a toxic relationship, take my job seriously; just take responsibility for myself in general. Life can be be so hard, and the pain and scars can seem overwhelming, yet in spite of that, we really do, as long as we’re breathing, have the ability to see a different path and get ourselves on it, even it it’s going to be tough to get there. Thank you for re-posting this Shola. It is a valuable reminder to all of us, to stay focused, and not get knocked off course when things get rough.

  15. Awesome article! It’s true that we need to take more responsibility and stop thinking we “deserve” something from the world. Life is hard sometimes, and the only way to get what you “deserve” is to work hard and take it for yourself!

  16. Hi meet shola !
    i am new in blogging. this is my first time in your post but i am quite surprised while reading your Post . You are the founder of positivity solution. I learned so many positive thing from this post. I am following you . this article is inspiring me a lot in my personal life …

    thank you so much for this wonderful post.

  17. This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I stumbled across your blog and I love it. <3 I needed this reminder. No more wishing for superman or prince charming (thanks Disney for ruining my expectations). I will continue to be my own hero!

  18. It’s my 70’s coming up soon. A friend is preparing a surprise for me and I have to provide her with words saying my favorite this that and the other. One of them is ‘hero’. I thought about it and honestly, I don’t have a someone who I consider a hero. Lots of people have contributed to me becoming me – wonderful people, wonderful contributions. But, I get it – I’m the hero of my story … I’ve taken stuff on board, faced my self, done the hard yards and am so happy with me.
    What a wonderful realisation 🙂


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Hi! I am Shola

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Over a decade ago, I was drowning in the despondency of yet another workday. My success as the top regional performer had been numbed by a culture of incessant workplace bullying. And, I’d recently made the situation worse by filing a formal complaint. In short, I was collateral damage in a company without the process or intention to address my experience.

Exhausted from the drama, with an unrecognizable version of myself at the wheel, I intentionally swerved off the interstate in an attempt to take my own life. But in that half-second, my reflexes responded, and I yanked the wheel away from disaster. As I clipped the guardrail on I 405, something changed...

I uncovered a power within myself

...a burning desire to reverse a trend that happens daily to sixty-five million people in this country alone. This catalyst has since become Go Together™ Movement - a transformational roadmap of mindset, behaviors, and tools that transform workplace cultures and drive results.

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