Taking the first step can be the hardest thing you do, but it is imperative to understand that nothing will progress around you unless either you do something or someone else does — more likely than not, no one will. Do you see an interesting case competition you would like to participate in? Do not just sign up for a case competition; sign up, go to the required meetings, meet your team and do the work.
More often than not, when we are thinking of our regrets, we will be looking back on what we should have done, rather than what we have already done. And maybe you live your life with the philosophy of no regrets, but the fact is you are missing opportunities. Every time we have not spoken up, or talked to someone, or whatever it may have been, we have foregone a possible movement forward in our personal growth, or the growth of the organization we are in.
Commit to a life of action and opportunity through the median of initiative. Inspiration can be found in the smallest of instances — like someone creating a conversation with an individual they did not have to interact with, which may lead to a lifelong relationship. We can also find inspiration in national movements — people peacefully assembling and protesting not just because it is their right, but because they know it is imperative to protect and enhance their universal rights.
It is a trap to be caught up in traditions — it either leads to the detriment of those that you serve, or forgoing a better overall path — especially if it means overall stagnation. Keeping what works is great, but expanding upon what already works on a periodic basis is far better. If you do not know if something is actually producing a positive impact, then a reevaluation needs to occur.
In an excerpt from the book “Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for Students” by Marcy Levy Shankman, Scott J. Allen and Paige Haber-Curran, published by Stanford University’s Stanford Center For Teaching and Learning, they state, “whether it is a fraternity that hazes its new members, a student government bogged down by gridlock, or a new organization trying to recruit members and develop traditions, leadership can move an organization past its challenges and unhealthy behaviors. This only happens, however, when someone takes the first step and speaks out against the norm or takes an unknown path.”
It is easy to take the road most traveled, or go down the path walked many times before, but to blaze a new trail means taking the necessary initiative to show others that there is a better way. It takes time, effort, and sometimes courage in the face of opposition, but it is well worth it and easier once you take the first step.
Would you rather let your dream or idea fall by the wayside, or perhaps work to make your thoughts a reality? The best part is, it really is up to the individual whether a vision will be seen and heard by others, or remain within their own mind. Well, maybe you could fail, but failure brings experience, and that experience can be used to make the next idea work that much better than the last.
Finally, it is imperative that we keep our eyes out for others’ ideas as well, because just as others can uplift our own thoughts into action, we can do the same for others. We can serve as the catalyst for others’ success, which will in turn instill our own. All that we need to do is to take the initiative.