This is the second of forty mantras that I have developed and used over the last two decades in managing high performing teams.

Let’s imagine I walk into a gym. I pay for three years up front – because if I do, that gets me some extra benefits. One of them is three free weeks of working with a physical trainer. They’re going to help me get fit and strong, with six-pack abs.

I see the money come out of my account. I’ve paid them. But I never get a call. And I never go to the gym. And I never work out. And as the weeks go by, people are noticing there are no sick-pack abs.

Now imagine that I complain about it all. Because I thought it was the personal trainer’s job to get me strong and fit. Imagine my friends heard this kind of complaining.

Do you think they’d agree that it’s someone else’s fault?

Not likely.

My health, my fitness, my six-pack abs are a function of the work I do. With or without a trainer. With or without a gym. It’s not someone’s job to motivate me enough to care enough to work out enough to get healthy or fit.

It’s my own job.

We all know this, right? I know I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. But what’s so easy to see in fitness becomes harder to see in professional development.

You know who’s in charge of your own professional development? You.

I know you could give me tons of reasons why your company doesn’t give you the time, doesn’t buy you the books, doesn’t sign you up for the online courses, and doesn’t send you to enough conferences.

I don’t care.

You’re either going to have five years of experience where you keep growing and getting better, or you’re going to have one year’s experience five times in a row.

Read that again. It’s really important.

And you know who’s in charge of making sure you’re growing during each of those years? You.

And if your boss (even me) doesn’t have your growth as a key objective, such that they’re being intelligent about giving you different projects that stretch you, and if they’re not creating opportunities to learn, guess what you need to do?

You do it yourself. Even if you have to walk. Even if you have to leave and go elsewhere.

Because you know who’s in charge of your development? You.