The power of Initiative

I like feathers. They look best on a bird of course, but when you put a feather on a string and hang it in a room it will show you the invisible, the movement of air.

I like to look at the world like that, seeing what often remains unseen.

This way of looking at things is how I discovered one of the most underestimated and undervalued qualities a person can have: the ability to take initiative.

First, we have to become aware of the fact that every man-made creation in this world is born from initiative. We tend to take these things for granted, they are simply there, but someone was the first to think of something and take the initiative to make it real.

Schools, inventions, businesses, books, sculptures, groups, institutes, families, expeditions — everything.

When we think of our personal lives it becomes less obvious what the power of initiative is. Or what its true value is, because it is invisible and we are often not aware of the energetic cost of initiative. We can see this when we think of a person who lacks initiative. Just think of that one friend, colleague or family member who shows little to no initiative. Do they strike you as particularly energetic people?

What about you? Are you someone who will start something, have an idea and act on it, do you invite others to take part in your plans?

Because it is seemingly simple and comes natural to most people who are rich in initiative we tend to undervalue their contribution to our lives. We don’t really appreciate initiative that often because it is invisible. It just pops up and we think it’s easy. We receive what is given without giving it proper acknowledgement. People who take initiative can testify that it requires a lot of creative energy to propose or initiate something. Why else would it be one of the main symptoms of depressed people that they are (virtually) without initiative? Why would it feel out of balance if one person is always the one who initiates contact and proposes something? Because it is an energetic expense, an investment.

Next time you are the one who initiates something be very aware of what it is you are actually doing and what its value is. Next time someone takes initiative explicitly thank that person, transfer some Bitcoins or buy them a beer and see what it does to the quality of your relationship, cooperation or friendship.

The impact of initiative is that without it, the result wouldn’t be there. Now that’s quite important, wouldn’t you say?

Now go on, honor some initiators in your life by sending them this article and thanking them for their contribution to your project, life, business, group or whatever it is that wouldn’t be what it is without their ability to take initiative.

About the author: Annedien Hoen is co-founder of Veld organisational development — laboratory for creative intelligence

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