Have you ever been the first person in a small group or crowded room to raise your hand to volunteer for something or take the lead on a project? Have you ever been the first person to speak up with a new idea or innovative solution to a problem? If so, you were showing initiative.
Initiative is defined as the ability to assess and initiate things independently. It is the power or opportunity to act or take charge before others do. Showing initiative means to act first; taking the leading action or initial step. It means to be enterprising.
Author and Chemist Orlando Battista said “Initiative is to success what a lighted match is to a candle”. Initiative gets things started and sets things in motion. Unless someone takes the initiative and is the first to speak or act, we all remain observers in a world that can never change for the better.
One person said, “A lot of people never use their initiative because no-one told them to.” There is a risk involved in showing initiative, because it takes courage for one to put themselves out there first. In addition, with initiative comes the required commitment to see things through to the end no matter the hardship. This is often too high of a price for many to pay.
Those who show initiative are like pioneers who possess the courage to pave new ground where others have dared to travel. This often results in one becoming a target for critics and naysayers; putting themselves in harm’s way for the greater good. True pioneers understand this risk, and have already determined that the potential fruit that will come from their initiative is far sweeter than whatever repercussions they may have to endure.
Stephen R. Covey said “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.”
Yes, initiative comes with a price, but if we want to make our world a better place, if we don’t want the small group or crowded room to sit in awkward silence, we must be willing to take the initiative and be the first to raise our hand.