Archive for October, 2013

Get your journal out, and spend some time in reflection today.

Write down a few principles you can apply to build momentum when taking initiative and resolving issues.

Give some thought to the benefits you will enjoy when you take those steps.

What other implications are there for any given action you might take? (Remember: Intent does not equal impact!)

Read Full Post »

Review your notes from yesterday’s exercise. Now, spend some time developing a three to five point strategy to address the issue you reflected on yesterday. When you feel like you have a good plan, share it with someone you trust and respect. Ask them what suggestions they have for improving your plan.

What will you do with their advice?

How will you get started (take initiative)?

How will that allow you to build momentum?

Take action today – just get started!

Read Full Post »

How do we get started? Well, first, we must know where we are today; what’s the baseline we are starting from? When we know the starting point, we are able to measure progress. This is the same for building momentum: We must know the beginning, take the initiative to get started, and then we can measure what comes next.

To get started, answer these questions to see how aware you are of your current circumstances and conditions:

What problem are you consistently challenged by, either in your personal or professional life?

What’s the history behind the situation?

What possible solutions can you imagine (don’t filter any of them – just let them all flow out of you)?

What tools do you have to address the situation with – knowledge, resources, insights, other perspectives?

Are those resources adequate? Why or why not?

Are others experiencing the same problem? Who are they?

How are the others addressing the situation?

What is it costing you to live with the issue, rather than address it?

What plan can you develop for resolving this issue?

When will you get started?

What will it be like when you have worked through it?

Read Full Post »

What does it take to get something started?

You’re probably aware of Newton’s Law of Motion:

A body at rest tends to stay at rest, unless an external force acts upon it…

It takes initiative. It takes gumption. It takes someone making the decision to act, and then demonstrating the discipline to do it.

If it was the space shuttle, it took 1.5 million pounds of fuel in the first 10 seconds to accelerate the space shuttle from zero to 18,000 miles per hour to reach orbit. My son tells me that on a diesel locomotive, it often takes two engines, and even when at rest, the engineers will leave one of them idling, because it takes a lot to get one started and running.

It’s a decision to act. It’s the discipline to do it. Leaders understand this. They recognize what it takes to get a project started well and they focus on doing so, as they understand this is what it takes to gain momentum and keep the project moving in the right direction.

It’s a little disconnected, but I enjoy doing needlework. While I would prefer to just jump right in and start stitching, I force myself to follow a routine of preparation, which serves me well in the long run, because otherwise my project supplies (and the end product) would be a mess. So, I make a copy of the pattern, so I can write on it to keep track of what I’ve done and what comes next. I sort all the embroidery floss (threads) so I can find the colors I need quickly. I stretch the fabric on a frame to keep it taut while I work it, and it allows me to focus in on the part I’m working on, rather than having a huge piece of linen to deal with.

As a leader, paying attention to getting off to a good start and building momentum then allows them to fine-tune the direction their teams need to take to maximize progress toward the goal.

As we begin week two of our focus on initiative, take some time to think about and answer these questions:

Think back to a project you’ve led that went well. What initiative did you take to get started?

How did you build momentum?

How did you sustain that momentum?

What was the outcome?

Contrast that to a project that didn’t begin well…What happened?

What can you learn from these experiences to carry forward?

Read Full Post »

I’m writing this to you from Summersville, WV; a place I’d never been before yesterday, and what a beautiful drive it was. The trees are changing colors…from bright green to salmon-orange, and rich reds…and snow! I spent most of the day yesterday attending the Create WV conference in Richwood, and it was interesting, fun, and educational. I’ll write more on this later; right now I want to get us thinking about our Friday ritual.

This month’s focus topic, initiative, is so appropriate for our Friday ritual. I’ve been encouraging you to be intentional about how you think about and spend your weekends. It’s one thing to say we have a plan for our weekend, but we have to take the initiative to actually put our plans into action. I know this is common sense, but the biggest gap we struggle with in our lives it the “knowing — doing” gap — meaning we often know what we need to do, but fail to do it Getting across this gap takes focus, discipline, and initiative.

I will be at this conference through part of the weekend. Nonetheless, I still have reading and writing to do, some review of the activities I’m focused on through the Maxwell Plan for Growth (this month’s focus within that program is Priorities; which, I must say, is really helping me get more done each day), and enjoy a little down time.

What’s on your list for the weekend? What are your priorities and and what will it take for you to take the initiative to get started, keep going, or finish whatever you’re focused on?

However you spend this weekend, I hope you’re intentional about it.

“See” you Monday!

Read Full Post »


For the first time, EVER, two of my mentors, John C. Maxwell and Les Brown, appear together in a FREE 3-part video series “Behind the Stage … The Good, The Bad & The Ugly.”

These two have over 40 years of professional speaking experience and they are ready to share it all with you…what it’s really like to be a professional speaker.

Consider it EDUTAINMENT in its highest form! You’ll learn about the speaking business, as well as laugh with them at some of the experiences they have had and share in this video series…If you’ve ever heard Les Brown laugh, you know this is going to be fun; and if you haven’t, you are in for a treat!

Did I mention the 3 videos are not only FUNNY but are FREE?

This launched yesterday, Wednesday, October 23rd.

Here’s the link…After you’ve watched it, tell me what you think!


Read Full Post »

Today’s a journal day. Block out some time today to journal about yesterday’s conversation with the person you admire, who consistently takes initiative.

What insights did you gain, and what additional thoughts do you have, now that you’ve had a day to think about it?

What two things can you do over the next week or two to move yourself forward in this area?

What benefits will you enjoy as a result of your new behavior?

As we come close to closing out this first week of focus on initiative, I think it’s safe to say you are thinking more about the importance of taking that first step…whatever the endeavor.

Is there something you need to act on?

What is it?

What action do you need to take?

How will you benefit?

Or, what will the consequences be if you fail to act?

What will you do, now?

Take that first step today! Let me know how it goes!

Read Full Post »

Let’s look externally today…Who do you know, in your business or industry, who consistently takes initiative and moves things forward?

Who is it?

What do they do?

What results are they getting?

What can you learn from observing them?

Make a point of letting them know you admire their performance in this area and ask them if you can learn from them. Ask why they do what they do, how they keep themselves moving forward, and how they view initiative.

Then, spend some time reflecting on what you learn and how you can implement something new that will allow you to improve in this area.

Let me know what you discover!

Read Full Post »

Get your journal out and spend some time thinking into these questions today:

What do you allow to keep you from taking action?

In what situations do you tend to take initiative?

In what situations do you tend to hold back?

When you do take initiative, how are others impacted — positively or negatively?

In what ways do you show initiative in your team / organization?

What steps do you take if you were to take initiative in solving a problem?

What steps do you take in taking initiative around a new vision?

Read Full Post »

Do it afraid!

This is something of a refrain within the John Maxwell Team…”Do it afraid!” Why would we say this? Because, often the scariest part of doing something new, something different, even something we long for with all our being, is taking the first step! And the truth is, you cannot know what the entire path to your destination will look like.

Think of it in terms of going hiking. When you get to the trailhead, you can see a little ways in front of you, but unless the trail is only a few yards, you typically cannot see the whole trail. There will be trees, rocks, curves, hills, valleys along the path, and you will see only what is immediately in front of you. And hikers willingly, with enthusiasm even, step onto these trails daily, all over the world, knowing full well they don’t know everything they will encounter on their adventure, yet excited about the trip and the amazing view they know they will discover at the end. And so, you embark upon your hike, taking a few steps, encountering a curve, a hill, what have you…and after a few steps, you see the next few steps, and so on and so on…and in this way the whole trail is revealed to you.

Life is much like this, if you think about it. It requires a bit of courage to step forward into the unknown. It requires us to take initiative and move forward, for we surely cannot just stay where we are…and certainly not if we are leaders! Our teams and organizations count on us to take that first step.

Are you familiar with the story of Jim Sinegal, the founder of Costco? When he was in college, he went to work with a friend for a day, which turned into a longer term stint at a company where he met one of his mentors, Sol Price, of Price Club. Sinegal stepped into and took advantage of a great opportunity, learning from Price and developing his entrepreneurial drive. He worked hard, paid attention, and notice a lot of opportunities for improvement as he rose through the ranks of the executive team at Price Club.

He shared idea upon idea, and better strategies for improving the organization in a number of ways. Many of his ideas were dismissed or passed over. Eventually, he stepped out of what he was doing; leaving Price Club, he founded Costco with the intent of filling the voids he saw in the Price Club model.

Was it scary? Surely! There was no guarantee he would be successful. He demonstrated his confidence in his strategies, the courage to stick to his convictions, and the initiative to try something new.

It wasn’t long before Costco’s success proved Sinegal’s instincts to be correct. He soon positioned Costco as the premier membership retailer, growing from zero to $3 billion in sales in less than six years; the first company to do this. Eventually, Costco even bought out Price Club, expanded globally, and recent sales have exceeded $64 billion! It’s quite a story. If you’re interested in learning more, click here.

As we begin this month’s focus on initiative, take some time to answer these questions:

When was the last time you delayed making a decision or taking action due to fear or lack of knowledge?

What was the situation, and what caused you to delay?

What were the consequences?

What decision or action are you contemplating today?

What steps can you take to avoid delay due to fear, lack of knowledge, insufficient courage?

Who do you need to become in order to see your goal to fruition?

What will the outcome be when you take the first step and propel yourself forward with this idea?

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »