ABCs of Positivity: I Is for Initiative and Intuition
Initiative / Intuition – It’s my contention that a key ingredient to success is resourcefulness, along with its first cousin, initiative. Resourcefulness is the ability to troubleshoot and problem-solve. Initiative means moving ahead without waiting to be told. Another important I word is intuition, that inner knowing or ability/willingness to trust your hunches. We’ll tie them together in this post.
It has long been my belief that perhaps the most essential ingredient in a good hire is a person with initiative. Yes – there are positions in which rule-followers are certainly more fit for a job, but generally, being able to think for yourself, question decisions that don’t make sense to you, and take action without waiting to be told are beneficial to the whole enterprise. Of course, this can go sideways when a team or staff member takes too much action without authorization or pushes back for no reason or a bad reason. But we’re here to focus on the positive – why initiative is a good thing.
Those who find it easy to take initiative tend to have a few characteristics in common:
- They are action oriented, ambitious, and work well in teams.
- They are decisive, goal-oriented, and generally have a positive outlook.
- They are open-minded, good communicators, and know how to keep their egos in check.
- Although they’re risk takers, they know when to admit a mistake.
- They are optimistic and will follow up on the actions they take, rather than starting something and walking away from it.
- They are big thinkers and life-long learners.
So what, if anything, does initiative have to do with intuition? Intuition is our inner knowing. The idea of intuition can strike some as a bit woo-woo, but whether you believe in it or not, we are all intuitive to some degree – and mostly that depends on our willingness/ability to believe in our own hidden genius. Rather than always looking outside for advice or help in making important decisions, what if we went inward and consulted with our subconscious mind who really has all the answers we seek? All of us have this ability – some of us have just done a better job at tapping into it and honing our natural intuitive skills. It is quite possible that the biggest thing standing between us and our intuition is our willingness/ability to release the programming that has taught us to focus only on what we can perceive with our five primary senses.
One of my first coaches taught me a simple exercise for making a decision. Scrap the pro-con list and take a few minutes to get quiet. Then, be sure you are in an emotionally neutral position about the decision you’re trying to make. You’re neither giddy with anticipation, nor full of dread. You’re neutral about it – whichever decision you make will be fine. Once you’ve reached that neutral position, listen to your inner knowing. You are NOT using your mind to think of those rational pros and cons. You are listening to your subconscious mind that already has all the answers. You will know what you’re really moved to do – and the answer might surprise you, particularly if it is counter to what you consciously think you should do, your friends and family think you should do, your church or community would expect you to do. Try it with a small decision and see what happens – then test this process for bigger life-events.
A person who takes initiative is going to be a lot more successful if they can tap into their intuition in the process of taking action. I remember taking a training as a temp in the advanced features of Microsoft Office. One gal in the class kept going ahead of the instructor without listening, then continually fouled up her document and had to ask for help correcting it. Did she take initiative? Perhaps – but where did it get her? What was her reasoning? Did it benefit her? Did she use any intuition in doing so?
Intuition is our built-in compass. When we listen, it will help us stay on track and head in the right direction. You may have experienced it with small things, like getting a feeling you should move the mug from the edge of the table before it fell. Ever ignore that feeling and then think, “I knew I should have moved the mug”? Perhaps you had an inexplicable urge to take a different way home from work or the grocery store – and the alternate path took a lot longer. But you listened to that urge and later heard there’d been a three-car pile-up near an intersection your normal route would have taken you through. Those are examples of your intuition at work.
People who are very grounded in third-dimension reality may have a difficult time believing in or understanding intuition. They may feel the need to look for scientific proof to explain every occurrence. How do you explain “just knowing”? It might be difficult to explain why you cancelled that client meeting at the last minute – but if your boss were to see the client on the news later that day, arrested for embezzlement, he’d probably begin to understand.
Benefits of Developing Your Intuition
- You will be better able to recognize and act on messages from your inner voice.
- You may find it easier to access your creative side.
- You will have a better sense of people and find the quality of your relationships improving.
- You will experience less stress because you’ll worry less.
- If you’ve been feeling lost or out of sorts, you may discover your true life purpose.
- You may decide to seek out new experiences.
- You will be able to stand firm in your decisions because you know they are right for you.
- You will experience more overall joy and zest for life.
Tips for Developing Your Intuition
1. Learn to recognize your intuitive messages. This will first require that you want to listen. Then, get in the habit of noticing your hunches and feelings. Maybe you have an odd thought that comes as a quick image. Maybe you get goosebumps or a shiver down your spine. Maybe it’s just a sense of knowing. Listen to those messages.
2. Take regular time for quiet or meditation. Your intuition is your subconscious talking to you – and you have to make room for that in your mind and in your life. Meditation is an excellent way to do this. A regular practice of even 10 minutes daily will help quiet your thoughts and turn off the distractions enough to listen to your inner voice.
3. Make a point of tuning into your intuition regularly. This might be when you get up in the morning – listen to hear if there’s something you need to attend to. Perhaps it’s as you get in the car – should you take a different route or stop someplace unplanned?
4. Ask for guidance. Yes, after a fashion, you are talking to yourself – but your inner knowing is connected to the wisdom of the Universe (or Spirit, Source, God). When you are specific about what you wish to know, the answers will become clearer faster.
5. Keep a journal. As you become more adept at listening to your inner voice, more information is likely to come to you. Your thoughts may be rapid, and you might not remember the important details if you don’t write them down. Your journal will also give you space to explore the information you are receiving and decide whether/how to act on it.
6. Take action on the ideas as they come. I have found that I seldom act on any idea when I tell myself I’ll get back to it later, and I have a feeling I’m not alone in this. When you receive the hunch to make sure the car windows are closed, take care of that before the downpour begins.
7. Trust your growth as you become more adept at listening to your intuition. Like any skill you wish to develop, it will take practice to develop your intuition. Taking the initiative to begin today will help you move from wishing you had a better sense of what might happen next to actually knowing.