The dictionary defines taking initiative as “to do something; to activate oneself to do something even if one has not been asked to do it.

In the workplace, these following criteria mark a person having high initiative:

-Begin new tasks before you are told
-Look for work to fill spare time
-Making oneself available for extra work or overtime
-Keeping communication with superiors open
-making suggestions
-Trying to correct problems or mistakes
-working without supervision
-Taking on extra tasks
-volunteer for committee work
-demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.

Some common causes of a lack of initiative and motivation include:

-Lack of faith or confidence in your abilities
-Low self esteem
-Lack of enough interest in what you are directing your attention toward
– fear of what others might say
-procrastination habits
-time constraints
-being too stressed or anxious
-absence of stimulus or incentives

My first piece of advice is, if this is you, try to determine WHAT you are passionate about. Where there is no vision, the people perish! We don’t pursue what we are not passionate about… At least not long term. If we are doing something we have no zeal for, we will eventually be depleted in our energy resources to complete the task at hand. We may even begin to suffer the signs of burnout from putting all our energy into something that depletes not only our energy, but possibly our self-esteem.

I believe in takes motivation to take initiative. I also believe that assertiveness is linked to taking initiative as well. So my second question to you is this: “What motivates you?” and “what are you motivated to do?”‘

So let’s take a look at the fear factor that causes us to second guess our actions and keeps us from taking initiative.

Some of us are wrestling with being people pleasers, obsessed with fear of confrontation, of being reprimanded, or rejected in areas they risk taking the initiative in some area of their life.

Often people with low self worth feel it harder to take initiative than those who grew up very self sufficient & independent . These people have their own set issues as a result too, as we all learn by our environment and it’s surroundings, and by the people we do life with.

I propose a plan of action that just might help! It’s called ‘assertiveness’.

“Assertiveness is not a strategy for getting your own way. Instead it recognizes that you are in charge of your behaviour and that YOU decide what you will or will not do…it recognizes that other people are in charge of their own behaviour and does not attempt to take that control from them. When we behave assertively, we are able to acknowledge our thoughts and wishes honestly, withiut the expectation that others will give to us. We express respect for the feelings and opinions of other’s without necessarily adopting’ their opinions or doing what they expect or demand.”

This does not mean we become inconsiderate of the wishes of other’s either of course.

What we need come away with, thinking about, is: what is at the ore? What is the root reason why I wrestle with taking initiative? Is it lack of self worth? A developmental boundary injury, fear of confrontation, self hatred or self punishment? What keeps us from stepping up to the plate? Is it a learned behaviour or a medical diagnosis of depression, or anemia or low adrenals or insomnia that keep us tired all the time that affects our motivation level? Could it be we are putting our energy into something that is depleting us, rather than something that brings us joy? Who do you surround yourself with? Who are your friends and co-workers? What is the environment like around these people? Are they positive or negative influences? Are you being sucked into people pleasing? What rings most true for you?

Let’s leave it there for this week and we will pick it up next Friday when we talk more about motivation. For now, my challenge to you is this: try and determine where you lack initiative e and why?

Cheers!

Katie Meilleur
http://www.freedomlifelove.com

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