One of the most important keys to achieving the success you want is not how talented or skillful you are. It has nothing to do with your knowledge, whether you have the money or not, and it is not about being lucky. It is all about taking the initiative and start doing.
This is the main key difference between the successful and the unsuccessful. The unsuccessful is all about their talks. They say that they are going to do it, but they are not doing it. Please understand that you are not what you say you are going to do, you are what you do.
If you are serious about achieving the goals you set and realizing your dreams, you must adopt the habit of taking initiative.
It doesn’t matter if you fail. It doesn’t matter if your ideas don’t work out. The most important thing is that you start. You take initiative and you do it. This is what matters the most.
Success will not always come to you. Sometimes you fail and sometimes you succeed.
Take this blog as an example. Sometimes I write and publish great articles and there are many times I publish articles are just so-so. However, it doesn’t matter as long as I get it moving and keep on publishing articles.
As long as I keep taking initiative and work on my goals, I will eventually get there. The same goes for everything in life.
Ray Kroc and the Fast Food Industry
Ray Kroc has a profession in selling paper cups and milkshake machines. In 1954, Kroc was told that a restaurant owned by brothers Dick and Mac McDonald in California needed eight of his multi-mixers. And he was so surprised that a restaurant would require eight multi-mixers. So Kroc flew to see the brothers.
When he arrived at the restaurant, he was impressed by the simple and efficient of the operation in the restaurant. The menu was simple, the burgers, friends and the shakes were made in the exact same order and people are queuing for orders.
Kroc, who was struggling to make ends meet at that time, came up with an idea and saw the opportunity of owning thousands of chain restaurants across the world. He then immediately offered to work as a franchising agent for a cut of the profits. He said, “When I got there, I saw more people waiting in line than I had ever seen at any drive-in,” in an interview. And he said to himself, “These guys have got something. How about if I open some of these places?’”
Ray Kroc took the initiative and successfully acquired the contract to open the restaurant in other places. Today, McDonald’s is one of the largest restaurant chains in the world, serving about 70 million customers every single day in more than 100 countries. And according to a BBC report, McDonald’s is the second largest employer in the world, with 1.5 million employees.
McDonald’s is successful and both you and I have the chance to eat in this restaurant because of one man’s initiative. Ray Kroc saw the potential in the business and he took initiative and he did it.
If you were in Kroc’s place, would you take initiative and do the same?
Richard Branson Started Virgin
The famous entrepreneur and a billionaire, Richard Branson was once stranded in Puerto Rico when he was trying to get to the British Virgin Islands due to flight cancellation. Branson said in his blog, “They didn’t have enough passengers to warrant the flight, so they canceled the flight.”
What a normal people will do when their flight has been canceled is that they will do nothing and wait for the next flight. However, this did not happen to Richard Branson. He chartered a plane, borrowed a blackboard and then wrote down, “$39 one way to BVI.” He then walked around the airport to all the passengers who faced the same flight cancellation problem, and quickly sold all the tickets and filled up his first plane.
After the event, Branson was fed up because the airlines just didn’t care about their passengers and he wanted to do something about it. And so he called Boeing to see if they have any 747s for sale or lease, and Virgin Airlines was born. The rest has become history.
Today, Sir Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group that owned more than 400 companies. He was named as the 100 Greatest Britons by BBC and in 2017, Forbes estimated his net worth to be at $5.1 billion.
Virgin Airlines was born because of Branson’s initiative. Instead of waiting for the next flight, he took action on his idea. He executed and he started something.
Do you see the difference between high achievers and people who live in mediocrity? Highly successful people simply take initiative and make things happen.
When you have an idea of doing something or starting something, are you going to wait for the perfect time or wait until when you are fully prepared only to execute it?
Sylvester Stallone Launched His Acting Career
Sylvester Stallone, the famous Hollywood actor was known for his films the Rocky, Rambo, and also The Expendables series of movies. Today, he has a very successful acting career, but he did not start out that way.
Back in the days, Stallone was broke. He was so poor that at one point he ended up homeless and slept in the bus station for 3 days. He even sold his dog for $25 to buy food. Stallone loved his dog so much that he walked away crying.
On one fateful day, he watched a boxing fight between the king Muhammed Ali and the underdog Chuck Wepner. He was so inspired by the match and got the idea for a movie. He picked up a pen and wrote for 20 hours straight.
With his movie script, Stallone tried to sell it to the producers and got an offer for $125,000. However, to the producers surprised, he rejected the offer, instead, he made a request to star as the main actor himself in the movie. Of course, the producers refused and they even up the offer to $350,000, but still, Stallone rejected it.
Not only that, the producers also told him that it was impossible to cast him as the lead actor because he “looked funny and talked funny”. His speech was slurred because he was born paralyzed in the lower left part of his face.
Eventually, the producers accepted Stallone’s request to act as the main actor, but they only paid him $35,000 for the script. The first thing he did was to get back his dog. When he approached the man who bought his dog from before, Stallone offered him $100, but the man refused. Guess what, Stallone up his offer to $1,000, but still, the man refused. At the end, Stallone gave the man $15,000 for his dog that he sold for $25 and got his dog back.
Oh about the movie, it was called Rocky, which went on to win three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Editing. The movie became a huge success grossing over $171 million and shot Stallone’s acting career to stardom.
Again, because of his initiative, he took action on his idea and become a highly successful actor. If Stallone did not take the initiative to write down the movie idea in his mind when he watched the fight, he will never be who he is today.
When the time an idea strikes you, did you take action? Well, not just idea, it can be anything.
The moment you know you need to write a blog post, do you take action and execute it? When you know you have to do the laundry, do you do it immediately or do you delay? When you need to make a call, do you do right away?
No matter what you are trying to do, whether it is cleaning the house or making an important business decision, what matters here is the habit.
It is the habit of taking initiatives that will make you successful.
Story of a Juggler
A lot of people are not taking the initiative to act on their ideas or plan simply because they are paralyzed by the fear of failure. They worry and think too much, “What if…?”
Here’s what I learned from the marketing guru, Seth Godin. I read one of his books, Poke The Box just the other and I thought this is something interesting to share.
Seth Godin uses the example of a juggler in this case. He said:
“That’s why it’s so difficult to learn how to juggle. We’re conditioned to make the catch, to hurdle whatever is on our way to save the day, to – no matter what – not drop the ball.
If you spend your time and energy and focus on catching, it’s inevitable that our throws will suffer. You’ll get plenty of positive feedback for the catches you make, but you’ll always be behind because the throws you manage to make will be ever less useful.
Paradoxically, if you get better at throwing, the catches take care of themselves. The only way to get better at throwing, though, is to throw. Throw poorly, throw again. Throw well, throw again. Get good at throwing first.”
In a nutshell, what Seth is saying that too many people worry about failure than success. They focus on catching the ball and neglect the skills of throwing. Plus, he also mentioned that people learn the most when they fail rather than when they succeed.
More important, the only way to get better is to get started.
Do you get it now? It doesn’t matter if you fail. Just focus and get good at initiating. Learn to throw, and the catch will follow. Learn to start, and the path will be cleared.
How to Take Initiative and Start Doing
Now that you have learned and understood the importance of taking initiative and starting, it is time for you to learn how to do that.
Below are the suggestions that you may want to consider.
1. Do More Than Expected
Yes, always overdeliver. In fact, the word “extraordinary” tells just that. You need to do the “extra” in order to get out of ordinary and become “extra”-ordinary.
The problem with most people is that they don’t prefer to deliver more than expected. They work according to their pay. If their salary is $3,000 a month, they will deliver the work worth $3,000 a month.
You have to treat yourself as your own boss, which in fact, you are. You are self-employed and are working for yourself, even if you are holding a job in a company. So deliver more than expected and do more.
If you want to be exceptional, you must do something extra, something exceptional, and something that everyone refuses to do. When you’re paid $3,000 a month and you deliver work that is worth $30,000, you are exceptional. Even if your boss didn’t value your work, others in the market will.
2. Speak Up and Share
Whenever you have an idea, then go ahead, share it and speak up. If you choose to stay quiet, I can guarantee one thing, nothing will happen. Even if people rejected your ideas or laugh at you, it doesn’t matter. At least you take the initiative and share.
If you want to date a girl, but you’re not sure if you should do it, I would say just do it. If the girl rejects you, you didn’t have a date before you ask and you didn’t have a date after you asked, nothing happen. What if the girl agrees and you succeed? Now you have someone to dine together, and your life will change.
While it is true that we have been conditioned to keep quiet in school and do what everyone else is doing, this is not going to work if you want to build something remarkable in life. We’re taught to follow the protocol and do the work given to us at work, the problem is that if you do just that, you will always end up a follower and not a leader.
Life is short, don’t you think we should aim for something higher, better and learn to be more successful? I know you’d agree with me.
3. Try Things Differently
Try things differently from time to time. You want to train yourself to take initiative and to start something? Then commit to try new things regularly.
People will always do things the same way. Just like the way you brush your teeth and the route you use to get to work, you follow the same pattern every single day. Change that from time to time and see what you’ll discover.
Another important factor to always try out new things is so that you will expand your comfort zone and get used to a new environment or habit. Even if you are staying in the same company and holding the same position, you have to learn how to be efficient and effective.
Unless you want to stay the same for the next 30 years or so, do something different, change something, try out new stuff, and live a fresh life.
4. Ask Questions that Spark Initiative
Opportunities are everywhere. Highly successful people are able to grab the opportunity because they often ask the right question in their head.
- How can I profit from this?
- What does this mean?
- What can I learn here?
- Who can solve this?
- How can I approach this?
- Is there any other way?
Imagine you are in Richard Branson’s position and your flight has been canceled, what questions do you ask? Or probably you will just tell yourself, “why does this always happen to me?” Or “I’m just so bad luck.”
When Ray Kroc visited McDonald’s restaurant, he was indeed impressed with the performance and operation, plus, he asked questions that most people didn’t. In his head, he probably asked, “How can I profit from this?” Or “How can do this too?”
And the answer came – by becoming the franchise agent for McDonald’s.
Therefore, always be conscious and aware of the questions you asked in your head. As Tony Robbins says:
“Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”
5. Take Failure Out of the Equation
From the story of a juggler above, you should understand that in order to take initiative and start right away, you have to take failure out of the equation.
You must proceed as if you cannot fail. Imagine if you will definitely succeed in your business venture and there’s no way you can fail, would you start your business right away? Most people will answer yes.
You see, people are often stopped by the uncertainty that they are going to face in the future. And because they are uncertain about what will happen, they become worried about it. And when they worry, they delay and procrastinate. Never let this happen to you.
One very good technique to take failure out of the game is to be prepared for whatever that comes to you.
If you are in real estate sales, what you can do to prepare yourself is to constantly update yourself with the latest real estate news and the market condition. Whenever the rule change, you’ll be the first to take initiative.
As a blogger, one way I constantly prepare myself is that I read almost every day. I read books on personal development to become better with my knowledge. And I also read articles and books on internet marketing to become a better blogger.
So what can you do to prepare yourself so that you’ll equip yourself with better confidence and to take failure out of the game?