There is no doubt that God, the devil, and other people are going to throw a slew of “stuff” your way in this coming year. It doesn’t matter whether you work at home or in an office or the field or don’t work at all: stuff will head your way. Stuff happens.
As we begin this New Year together I want you to consider the fact that over the last year you handled the stuff in three different ways.
You REACTED (badly) to stuff.
You RESPONDED (well) to stuff.
You INITIATED new stuff.
Before I had my foot surgery my doctor gave me a painkilling drug and I REACTED badly to it. It just made me dopy (more than usual) and sick and didn’t really take the pain away. He tried a new one and I RESPONDED well by staying clear-headed and pain-free. This year I am INITIATING a new policy of not acting like I’m twenty-something and will turn down playing on the softball team.
I told my warehouse department, all 25 of them, that they had all lost their jobs and they would have to reapply for their old positions under my new job descriptions. Ten of them REACTED BADLY to the news, filed grievances against me, discrimination suits and tried to make my life miserable. Twelve of them RESPONDED well and had their applications in within an hour of the job being posted. Three of them took the INITIATIVE and asked if they could help with the restructure and offered helpful ideas and possibilities for the new department.
Some stuff happens …
Think about what you normally do now. Do you REACT to it? How much of your time is spent REACTING to what people say, do or email?
The rest of your day may be spent RESPONDING to stuff. Responding to emails, requests, facebook stuff. RESPONDING is gratifying, it makes you feel good because at the end of the day your desk is clean and the pile of stuff is in a different spot than it was when you started.
And that’s it. You go home having spent no time INITIATING! We tend to reserve INITIATING for quiet times, good times, down times or desperate times. We wait until our REACTING and RESPONDING is done, which never really gets done, and people go through life never INITIATING a single thing.
I want you to INITIATE this year. I want you to pause your REACTING and RESPONDING and spend some time INITIATING something totally new and different. Some jobs are REACTING jobs and some are RESPONDING jobs but the best jobs are the INITIATING jobs. And here’s the cool part: ALL of us have a job that could take more of our INITIATIVE.