Taking initiative is a privilege you get when you bet on yourself. You’re picking yourself to win; you’re choosing yourself to figure out the problem and solve it. Initiative is not something given to you. It is something you take. If you’re not living the life you want to live or if you’re not making the progress you want to be making maybe it is because you’re not betting on yourself to win. You’re probably going along for the ride. You’re probably checking all the boxes and going through all the same steps that everyone else goes through to get to the end. But if you’re doing the same things as everyone else, in the same order, at the same speed, how do you think you’ll ever get ahead?
Initiative is the path to success. It’s also the path to joy and fulfillment. Joy isn’t the same as pleasure or fun. It’s the satisfaction you get from the positive emotions you earned from taking risks and doing the critical work that is waiting to be done. Heroes are the people who are taking the risk of choosing themselves to do the work.
Taking initiative is choosing pain over comfort; knowing that comfort feels safe and secure but is genuinely deceptive and dangerous. Comfort leads to contentment of your less-than situation. Contentment leads to contempt. Contempt of self is a pit of hell where the pain of safety is ten times worse than the pain of truth. The same truth that we could choose to face if we take initiative.
Initiative is action. Shame is talking about action. Instead of being vulnerable and taking initiative to take the risk of failing and being seen for who we truly are, we hide behind empty words because we are afraid of what people will see when we try our best. We talk about how great the work is that we could do instead of doing great work because the doing part of it invites the risk of failure. We would rather die than be seen as a failure.
Vulnerability is the only way to truly do great work. Taking initiative is voluntarily being vulnerable for the sake of growth, for the sake of connection, for the sake of caring, for the sake of relationships, for the sake of purpose and passion, for the sake of legacy, for the sake of making a difference that matters and a difference that lasts. Take initiative. Take risks. Bet on yourself to do or say something that forever changes the lives of the people who are waiting to hear from you. Someone needs you to do that job.
Do the work.