Showing Initiative

Many people wait for something to happen or someone to take care of them. But people who end up with the good jobs are the proactive ones who are solutions to problems, not problems themselves, who seize the initiative to do whatever is necessary, consistent with correct principles, to get the job done. 

Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Seizing the Initiative

Everything in this world conspires to put you on the defensive. At work, your superiors may want the glory for themselves and will discourage you from taking the imitative. People are constantly pushing and attacking you, keeping you in react mode. You are continually reminded of your limitations and what you cannot hope to accomplish. You are made to feel guilty for this and that. Such defensiveness on your part can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Before anything, you need to liberate yourself from this feeling. By acting boldly, before others are ready, by moving to seize the initiative, you create your own circumstances rather than simply waiting for what life brings you. Your initial push alters the situation, on your terms.

Robert Greene, 33 Strategies of War

pick a side

"There’s nothing I can do."  (Let’s look at our alternatives.)

"That’s just the way I am."  (I can choose a different approach)

"He makes me so mad."  (I control my own feelings)

"They won’t allow that."  (I can create an effective presentation)

"I have to do that."  (I will choose an appropriate response)

"I can’t."   (I choose)

"I must."  (I prefer)

"If only."  (I will)

A serious problem with reactive language is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. People become reinforced in the paradigm that they are determined, and they produce evidence to support the belief. They feel out of control, not in charge of their life or their destiny. They blame outside forces--other people, circumstances, even the stars--for their own situation.

Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Accountability

Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming. Proactivity is part of human nature, and although the proactive muscles may be dormant, they are there. By respecting the proactive nature of other people, we provide them with at least one clear, undistorted reflection from the social mirror.

Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Expecting Initiative

Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming. Proactivity is part of human nature, and although the proactive muscles may be dormant, they are there. By respective the proactive nature of other people, we provide them with at least one clear, undistorted reflection from the social mirror.

Stephen Covey, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Start before You’re Ready

A side effect of doing challenging work is that you’re pulled by excitement and pushed by confusion at the same time.

You’re bound to feel uncertain, unprepared, and unqualified. But let me assure you of this: what you have right now is enough. You can plan, delay, and revise all you want, but trust me, what you have now is enough to start. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to start a business, lose weight, write a book, or achieve any number of goals… who you are, what you have, and what you know right now is good enough to get going.

We all start in the same place: no money, no resources, no contacts, no experience. The difference is that some people — the winners — choose to start anyway.

James Clear