It’s better to initiate

I recently listened to Seth Godin’s Tribes on audio book. It is… amazing! I’m going to listen again, and again, and probably again. I think that you should too.

What sits with me after having listened this first time are his ideas about how we, as leaders, should take action. Most people, he says, react. Some people respond. Others, a smaller few, initiate.

The difference between them is stark, particularly with regard to our intent and the outcomes we can achieve.

This is what I took away.

To react is to allow something to happen and then act without proper thought or consideration of what can or should be achieved, and done defensively and out of fear.

To respond is to allow something to happen and then act with consideration of the environment and what one hopes to achieve, and is done in self-interest.

To initiate however, trumps both, because it’s about taking action to make something happen, rather than allowing something to happen and then taking action, and is done out of generosity.

The difference between initiating and responding is the difference between a leader and all the others.

All the others respond to things that happen to them. Leaders do things that others respond to.

Which will you be? A leader? Or, just one of the others?



 

Success doesn’t just happen. You have to work for it: apathy will get you nowhere and kissing ass will only take you so far.

To be successful at something you need to be awesome at it first. If you’re not awesome at what you do, someday you will be found out, probably humiliated and likely hit a ceiling that will put a halt on your career.

There is some good news, though. As long as you’re willing to put in the work, it’s not too late. You can still become awesome and if you’ve already hit that ceiling I mentioned you’re in luck again because it’s breakable.

Here’s where to start:

  • Stop looking for the silver bullet: the journey to success starts at the bottom of a staircase, not an escalator. It’s not called climbing the corporate ladder for nothing. There is no magic potion for success. Insert as many (misquoted) clichés here as you like, bottom line is you need to start working harder!
  • Know what you want: it’s cool to be all like ‘I let my moral compass be my guide in a career that makes a difference’ but you still need goals. There is no career without them. Stop being a floater. Write down your goals and get at them!
  • Know your business, organisation and your job inside out: research your ass off until you’re an expert and you know all you can about your industry/sector!
  • Seek out and grab with two hands every learning opportunity you can: create your own personal and professional development plan. Show your boss if she’s interested and supportive. Make it happen even if work doesn’t support you!
  • Become T-shaped: if you’re a generalist, become an expert at something; if you’re an expert at something, start learning about everything else!
  • Surround yourself with people who are successful: success breeds success!
  • Don’t make your career your only measure of success: your personal life, health, fitness, hobbies and intellectual pursuits are important and achieving outside of work will make you better at work. Don’t just aim for a successful career, aim for a successful and happy life!

Without hard work and being great at what you do, a successful career will be nothing more than a pipe dream.

When you’re old and looking back on your life, what do you want to see? A loser who looked for the cheap, easy way to the top and didn’t reach their potential; or a winner who worked their ass off to achieve what they were destined to?