Responsibility and Initiative

I sometimes think of life as a journey of taking more responsibility. The only way of making a sustained positive difference is to take responsibility for what you do.

Whether you are the CEO of a huge multi national, the best Professor in the world, the best researcher in the world, the best blogger in the world or the best sportsman in the world, it’s all about taking responsibility and delivering the goods consistently.

And every professional journey is one which involves proving that we are capable of more responsibility. And, at the end of the day, it’s the one question your boss probably asks before promoting you – ‘Are you capable of handling the additional responsibility?’

Responsibility is typically painted as a very serious thing in the hands of the wise while initiative is painted as a youthful trait. When we think responsibility, we often think grey hair and wisdom while, when we think of initiative, we imagine a young youthful person with lots of women. ‘

The funny thing is that one cannot exist without the other. At the end of the day, the big outcome of taking initiative is proving that we are capable of responsibility and the big outcome of more responsibility is the display of initiative.

It’s a curious dichotomy. But it sure exists.

And it typically means a couple of things. If you have moved to a position of great responsibility, remember that taking initiative never stops. It’s your display of initiative that got you there.

And if you are looking to move to a position of more responsibility, show lots of initiative. Ask for more, do more, take some risks, fail a bit, respond well and show yourself capable.

The big problem with taking initiatives, of course, is that failure is guaranteed. Maybe that’s why the ability to not fear but to respond to failure creatively, constructively and correctively may be amongst the most valuable traits of them all..