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I have been going through some changes in responsibility at my job. I’ve only been in this position since October 31st, so there are some things that are not routine about my routine just yet. Just last week, I began to have to incorporate a new daily duty into my routine. While I managed to survive the week, I’ve been feeling like I haven’t been my usual efficient, organized self.

Before we go any further, there is something you should know about me: I’m afraid of being fired. I’ve been at my current employer for over three years, but I was “let go” from my previous employer after only a few months. That firing started a domino effect of unrelated events that really tested my belief in myself and my faith. It all made me a stronger person, blah blah, but one of the residual effects is that any time my boss calls me into his/her office for anything, I think I’m being fired. Anytime anyone gives me a task, even if I really have too much on my plate, I have to do it; I don’t want to get fired. This is no way to live, obviously. While I’m still working through my irrational fear of being fired, there is something I can do about being buried under work.

I can take the initiative to more effectively use my working time and organize myself. One of the residual effects of being afraid of losing my job has been being afraid to add any personal touches to my office for fear of having someone pack them up in the box. However, the kind of organizational things I am starting to need are either going to be on back order for July or not approved because they aren’t “necessary” to my job. I know if I want to be able to do a better job and to reach my full capacity, I have to take the initiative and do some things myself. So, I bought my own desk organizer (Staple’s Apprentice–it’s ridiculously BOSS), wireless mouse and storehouse of pens this weekend. I’m going to get my own large desk calender and anything else I realize I need to facilitate a smoother (and shorter) day at the office.

Perhaps there is a situation in your life where it seems like you are trying your best and just aren’t getting anywhere. Perhaps you have been merely responding to situations in the prescribed ways and it doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe you feel stuck doing the same things over and over and you want out of the rut. My advice to you would be to take the initiative in your own life. If you and a friend or loved one seem to be at cross purposes, take the initiative to call or visit them and work things out. If you feel like you aren’t getting anywhere, seek alternative solutions and try some out. Nothing really changes by staying the same. If we want things to be different, we can work within the status quo only so long.

Of course, taking the initiative will only work if you follow through. It takes time to get things to change. You can’t let slow progress discourage you from continuing. I know that buying a few desk gadgets isn’t going to solve my workflow problem right away (the problem that may be all in my overthinking head anyway); I will have to get used to my new system and perfect it through trial and error. But I choose to celebrate the small victory of recognizing that things weren’t going to improve anytime soon without me taking the initiative. If this doesn’t work, I’ll try something else, and something else until I find something that does. This is a great principle for the work place, but think of the impact if we applied it to life?

Stop letting things happen to you. It’s a commendable ability to know how to roll with the punches, but even that requires you to roll. Be the change you want to see in the world…all that jazz.

So, tell me: how are you going to take the initiative today?