Initiative: The Silent Partner In Success

Guest Article

startup-593316_640Too many people are waiting for someone to come along and tell them what to do. And yet, behind every success, there is a person who took initiative. They got out of bed each morning, roaring to accomplish something. As comedian George Burns noted, “Don’t stay in bed, unless you can make money in bed.”

The question is, how can you fuel your initiative?

  1. Stay open to new ideas

Whatever made you successful in the past won’t be enough to keep you successful in the future. You need new ideas because new ideas fire up your initiative.

Remain teachable. As author and CEO Dr. J. Konrad Hole says: “If you cannot be teachable, having talent won’t help you. If you cannot be flexible, having a goal won’t help you. If you cannot be grateful, having abundance won’t help you. If you cannot be mentor-able, having a future won’t help you. If you cannot be durable, having a plan won’t help you.”

  1. Let go of your past

Don’t be paralyzed by it. No matter how much adversity you’ve gone through, don’t let it kill off your initiative to accomplish more tomorrow.

After all, you’ve probably been hurt and betrayed. You’ve probably failed a few times. So what! So has everybody else. So, get over it.

  1. Do more than is expected

Initiative-filled winners do a lot more than just enough to get by. They understand the lesson in the boulder.

Years ago, a king had a huge boulder placed on a roadway. Some people came by and blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear. But they didn’t do anything to get the big stone out of the way.

A peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. He laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. And then he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

And isn’t that the way it is in life? The big prizes always go to those who take the most initiative, who do more than others or more than is expected.

  1. Read, and read some more

Losers view reading as a period in their life, as something they did back in school. They don’t see reading as a way of life. It’s no wonder they lack initiative and don’t go as far as they could.

The journalist Sidney Harris commented on how differently successful and unsuccessful people view learning. He noted, “A winner knows how much he still has to learn, even when he is considered an expert by others. A loser wants to be considered an expert by others, before he has learned enough to know how little he knows.” There’s even a payoff in it for you. If you take the initiative to keep on reading, you will increase your income. Now that sounds outlandish, but according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor and from a survey by Yahoo, business people who read at least 7 business books a year earn over 230% more than people reading but 1 book a year.

When you see someone succeeding, all you see is the exciting result. Don’t forget behind that behind that success is lots of initiative. And you can fuel your initiative by taking these four little steps.

Zimmerman head-shoulder[1] copyAbout the Author: Alan Zimmerman, PhD has spoken to more than one million people around the world, giving them the tools they need to achieve their goals on and off the job. As a prominent, sought-after author and speaker, Dr. Zimmerman works with a variety of organizations and professional associations. His latest book, The Payoff Principle: Discover the 3 Secrets for Getting What You Want Out of Life and Work is available from

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  1. says

    Melinda, your work is very impressive, but I think you know that…(smile) is very encouraging for me to see how accomplished you are through your hard work! I look forward reading your book Become Your Own Boss in 12 months. Thank you Deborah

  2. says

    “business people who read at least 7 business books a year earn over 230% more than people reading but 1 book a year”

    Damn, if that doesn’t inspire you to read more, I don’t know what will! I’ll remember this the next time I try to make an excuse not to do my daily reading.

    By the way, do you happen to have any books you would recommend? Such a common question, but there are so many books to choose from out there that it’s always nice to get suggestions.

    • Melinda Emerson says

      I’ve got a blog post on the top 10 business books I currently recommend going live on Thanksgiving. Stay tuned!


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