The companies I worked with provided me with some of the best training of my career. The training was only sometimes technical; it focused on me. My favorite activity was learning the whole job concept.
The whole job concept is looking at what you do beyond the obvious. For example, how does what you do impact others around you? What do they need? What must you do to get the work done? Who can help you? As a result, I learned to be more than an order taker.
This required personal initiative. The following are examples of how I developed my personal initiative:
- Have a plan for your life and your career. When I taught Leadership Training for Managers with Dale Carnegie of Atlanta, instructing participants on how to develop a plan was a critical part of the course. I always asked, “Do you have a plan for your life? Then we talked about business plans. Learn how to create a plan with strategies and actions that stretch you to help you achieve your goals.
- Find and nurture one or two trustworthy people in your corner. If you are lucky, they will be your loyal dissenters. They are much better than five or 10 people who will flatter you. I enjoy networking groups that do not require a set number of member referrals. A business network should operate like a mastermind where genuine support is top of mind.
- Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone by being self-reliant. I started college in my late 20s. I had bills and a strong desire to get a college degree. Time was of the essence, so I committed to working full-time and going to school full-time. I finished my degree in 16 straight quarters. It was a defining moment and proved to me what I could do.
- Get up when kicked and get back in the game. Over time, my resilience was tested more in business than in life, and I was frequently surprised by people’s behavior the later I got in my career. I became wiser and more in command as a result.
- Keep your enthusiasm in check. My role as a business leader is to inspire, which means tapping into the team’s enthusiasm.
- Go the extra mile as a habit. This is in my bones; it’s who I am and a core part of my values.
- Open your mind to possibilities, accept constructive criticism, and follow your curiosity. This is where I get my energy and what keeps me moving forward.
- Take responsibility for your actions and be accountable. The best example of this is making your words and actions match. It’s easy to make a promise and then forget you did. I do my best to monitor the words I use.
Unlocking your unlimited potential requires dedication, discipline, and a steadfast commitment to personal initiative.