I found this simple illustration:

Imagine you share an apartment with roommates and the dirty dishes are piling up in the kitchen. With every additional plate, empty space in the kitchen disappears. Eventually, the filth tolerance level of one of the roommates is surpassed and this poor person starts doing the dishes. Often this initiative encourages roommates to follow the good example. Everybody likes having such leaders as roommates, and human resource departments have a strong interest in recruiting these personalities as well.

In fact life itself responds to people who possess this quality. Over the years I realise that while for some people taking initiative seems to come naturally, it is a skill that follows a thought pattern and can be replicated over and over and over again till it becomes an exact science.

“A lot of people never use their initiative because no one told them to.” ― Banksy

That will not be you, because I am telling you now.

Don’t be like Findley (see image above)

Get started on this journey…

“Folks who never do any more than they get paid for, never get paid for any more than they do” ― Elbert Hubbard

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Ashley Lauren Perez, Sourcing Specialist at WilsonHCG noticed that whenever she gives advice for people to take initiative at work, many people respond with

“Why would I put in all this time and effort if I’m not getting compensated for it? Most of the time it goes unnoticed so what’s the point?”

She continued, regardless if those things seem to initially be true, you must remember to take a step back and see the big picture. Taking initiative doesn’t just help you potentially get a raise or promotion, it helps you grow. You will gain new skills, learn how to overcome challenges more effectively, and really get an idea of what you are passionate about and good at.

Bob Nelson, author of 1001 ways to Take Initiative at Work says:

“The biggest mistake you make in life is to think you work for someone else.” – Bob Nelson

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A recent poll of executives asked, “What do you feel is the single best way for employees to earn a promotion and/or raise?” Topping the list for 82% of the respondents was “Ask for more work and responsibility.” It is not only the work or responsibility that matters, getting results does too. Taking initiative helps you get results faster, and opens up more room for you to take on more responsibility.

A friend of mine recommended me for a role at a global Financial Institution recently. I’d seen the company recruit 14 interns referred by my friend a year earlier. After the interview, the hiring manager said to me ‘Your friend helped automate most of the processes in this role. He worked in that role, and he made the job easier for everyone else.” He was not only rewarded with promotion and pay rise, his initiative made him an influencer in the company.

Top performers consistently take initiative.

Would you like to be a top performer by Taking Initiative?

In this series, I will give ideas you can start using instantly that will position you as someone who is ‘Taking Initiative’ consistently, not just at work but in other areas of life.

If you are a top performer with a track record of Taking Initiative, share your stories, advice and experiences. Many readers will learn from you, and will appreciate helping to develop this all important skill.

If you got here through outside links and you are not subscribed to Mind and Mouth via e-mail, you may miss out on the follow up series. Join the community today. Click here to subscribe.

Use this now

A few top tips for taking initiative (Note: I will expand on this themes throughout the series.)

  • Think Differently
  • Do your Research
  • Take Action
  • Improve on initial findings
  • Don’t Give up.

To your success,


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