To paddle your own canoe is used to describe when someone does something without the help of others.
“John, if you want to open your own business you are going to have to paddle your own canoe, I don’t think anyone will help you.”
The idiom “paddle your own canoe” is an American English idiom, English speakers in the UK, Ireland, Australia, & New Zealand don’t use this idiom as part of their language! In fact some people may not fully understand its meaning!
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