By Steve Keating via stevekeating.me Article
The Importance of Initiative
“I was waiting for a flight a couple of weeks ago when the guy sitting next to me struck up a conversation. He asked what I did for a living and after explaining what I do I returned the question and asked what he did for a living.
He kind of had two answers. He said he worked for the last 9 years as a sales rep for a medical device company but that was merely what he did to earn a paycheck. He then said that he was actually ‘an idea man.’
When I asked him to explain he said that he came up with new and better ways of doing things. Intrigued, I asked him for a couple of examples and then he talked for several minutes without taking a breath. This guy had an idea for just about everything. He ‘knew how to fix healthcare, solve the immigration mess, make a better cell phone, better batteries, he had several ideas on improving the United States banking system, it just went on and on.
When I asked what he was doing with his ideas he seemed a little puzzled. He mumbled something about being ‘the idea man’ but leaving the action to somebody else. I just smiled politely and luckily my flight was called shortly after that. …
As I thought about this guy a little later it dawned on me that he was just like a whole lot of people. He was filled with a ton of ideas, at least some of them surely actionable but he lacked the initiative to act. He was one of those ‘somebody ought to do something’ people who just never thought about the fact that they are somebody.
Here’s the thing, you can have all the ideas in the world but if you lack initiative then you almost certainly lack the ability to achieve your full potential. You may achieve some limited success but it will be just that…limited. …
Initiative is defined as the ability to initiate things independently. The definition is only about getting started. Having initiative doesn’t mean you must know exactly how what you initiate will end. It doesn’t mean that you have to have all the answers to every question before you begin.”