Start Anywhere

The root of the word initiative is ‘to initiate or bring into being.’ Whatever it is that you want to achieve, you have to begin at some point. In Chapter 2 of Ask for More, “Start Here: Taking the Initiative,” I discuss the importance of taking initiative at work and at home You have to take action toward your goal.

Break out of the Cubicle

When you take the initiative at work, you handle duties and responsibilities autonomously without the direction and tutelage of others. Taking the initiative means coming up with creative solutions to problems that arise, helping co-workers with projects by lending them your expertise, and volunteering your time with another department so you can learn new skills along the way.

Break Your Personal Patterns

In your personal life, taking the initiative means being the first to break an uncomfortable silence after a long disagreement with a partner or loved one. It means seeing someone in a café, a stranger with whom you could possibly spend the rest of your life, and starting a conversation. Taking the initiative means being the one to fix a damaged relationship or to know when it is time to let someone go.

Break the Mold

When it comes to your life-long dreams, taking the initiative means starting from where you are right now. If you want to get a star for acting on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, start by acting in high school, college, and local productions. If you want to run a marathon, start by running a few miles every day, for about a month, and build up your endurance. If you want a promotion at work, learn the duties and functions of the position you are after a year ahead of time and research the position completely. Work alongside the person who has the position you’re after and ask him or her to mentor you.

Taking the initiative means working with the skills that you currently have and building on them gradually until you reach your ultimate goals. Don’t be discouraged if you feel that you don’t have the right skills, background, or education. Use what you have and go for it!

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