Your Initiative Is Better Than Your Commitment

Lack of initiative is due to an abundance of fear. True, apathy can play a role, but those who do not care are not reading this, so why spend time trying to appeal to their better judgment. It is not important to them.

They can hide apathy behind proclamations of an inability; fortunately, inabilities can be conquered. Limbless kids construct custom-fitted, brightly colored, prosthetic hands for themselves and their friends via 3-D printing. Could you have gotten your head around that concept ten years ago? Everyone can compose a list of things that “cannot be done,” yet, once someone with determination has the initiative, whatever you thought could never happen begins to occur, good and bad.

For all its abundance, fear is conquerable too. Once you take the initiative to face fear, if you choose to ignore it, despite the imagined dangers, courage levels rise, and trepidation dissipates.

People like it when others show initiative because it is the action part of leadership. Talking, planning, and strategizing are all great but are not enough. Thinking alone does not make it so. Thinking, combined with movement, is initiative. Sometimes it does not work out, and sometimes it does; either way, an effort is applied.

The difference between success and failure is rooted in the honesty of one’s judgment. Discernment and initiative are helpful tools. Discernment is a bubble-level; initiative is a saw. Measure twice, cut once, is a rule that transcends woodshop. It prevents lopsidedness in your decision-making.

There is little more frustrating than learning that people knew something had to be done, a wrong righted, but they lacked the initiative to do anything. Examples of their indifference and cowardice litter our history and today’s campuses, boardrooms, streets, and fields.

Committing to action is an unimpressive act. Commitments get broken with alarming frequency and little consequence. Better to be the person who takes the initiative.

What will you initiate next?

Organize Your Thoughts

Some people are great at creating lists; they have impressive lists. Accomplishing tasks — a little less so.

Some people are decisive and action-oriented. They get lots of things done fast, and then they redo many things faster.

Some people think … and think … and think.

Others seem to put very little thought into what they do.

People have different styles and strengths; that’s what makes the world go ‘round.

Experiment and find a system that works for you.

Capture ideas. Decide which ones support your immediate goals and which ones you want to save for later. Know when to cross items out or delete them.

Discover your strengths, shortcomings, and resources to help with both.

Figure out “How much and by when?” for every action.

Thoughts are great but meaningless without action.

Actions without context create more confusion than clarity.

Leaders create clarity and take action.

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Karl Bimshas

Karl Bimshas

Boston-bred and California-chilled Leadership Adviser | Writer | Podcast Host who helps busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.