4 Steps to Take Initiative (Jumping in the Pool)

 

It took me three years to begin my company after I finished college. People ask me all the time:

“What took so long to begin?”
“Why are you holding back?”
“When are you going to start?”

The ideas and creativity always poured out of my mind like rain drops. I always made sure to write my ideas in my journal. Taking initiative was the only step I needed to take but I never took it.

The hesitation of taking the first step was always a challenging one. It is similar to jumping in a pool as a child. The initial shock of the pool water is the scariest part. Of course, the water feels cold if you only touch it with your toes. I grazed the surface of the water in hopes for the water to be comfortable. However, when you see children jump in the pool with no fear, their bodies quickly get use to the water temperature. The transition from “shocking coldness” to the familiar water flow as the body submerges underwater.

My heart pounds really fast when I think about taking that first step. It always felt that my heart wanted to burst out of my chest. A feeling inside prevented me from diving into the pool of opportunity.

1) Close your eyes and take deep breaths.
As humans, it is easy to overthink the situation at hand. What if I fail? What if I don’t have enough money? I can’t do this. I can’t do that. Our minds always want to find the shortcuts to skip hard work and it will make excuses for “why we can’t.” Before I made my jump into the pool, I sat down and closed my eyes every night for one week. When I closed my eyes, I put my hand over my heart and took deep breaths. This reminded me of my heart beat. I used this technique to clear my mind of obstacles I created myself.

2) Make a list of what you love to do.
The question people ask me all the time, “What is it that you love doing?” I cringe when that question is asked. I never took the time to find out what makes me passionate. The distractions of paying rent, making money, and gaining stability intervened with my “passion process.” Take the time to list all and everything you enjoy doing. There is no more room for excuses when you fill your heart with passion. Backflips, filming, painting, flag football, snowboarding, teaching, reading, and the list continues on. This list rejuvenated and energized me for the next step.

3) Focus.
Do not be overwhelmed with your passion list. Remember to breathe and keep the list handy. Focus on the top 6 activities you love doing. Do not think about how much money you will make on each activity. There will be a time and place for that. Take a moment to think about what you see yourself doing. Do you see yourself teaching in front of class? Acting on camera? Doing accountant work for a large firm? Helping people get healthier? Get input from friends, family, and fellow co-workers, what comes to their mind when they see your skills? Athletic? Researcher? Writer? Lastly, choose the top 3 activities from your list of 6.

4) Jump in the Pool.
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky

There comes a point where you put in all the hard work and mentally prepare yourself for the opportunities to come. Prepare and build a foundation. Trust the hard work and take a leap in the pool. It will be cold at first, it will be uncomfortable, but your body will get use to it.

“You can’t learn how to swim if you don’t get in the pool” –Dat Nguyen

Take the initiative and get things started. You will learn fast but you will never sink. As long as you fight to stay above water, you will stay afloat. Trust and believe in yourself.

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