Mar 27, 2012 / by Alisa Hafen / No Comments

Have you ever noticed that those who usually succeed in life will often take the initiative – either at home or at work – to get things done before they are asked?

Employees who do what has to be done and solve problems before they arise are said to be proactive. Bosses like employees that are ambitious and who get the job done.

There are many advantages to taking the initiative at work: You’ll gain skills and learn more about your company and the market that it serves. You will find yourself seizing the opportunities that present themselves in order for you to be proactive.

For instance, if you notice a fellow employee is swamped with work, and you are caught up with yours, ask them if they need some help. By asking to take on additional tasks, this will impress most employers.

Even if the extra work you have asked for might mean you have added to your work load, this is a good thing. I believe the more you do, the more you learn. The more you are willing to put yourself out there to perform more duties, the greater your opportunity for advancement.

Kirk Weisler

I am reminded of the story that my good friend, Kirk Weisler, wrote about in one of his books, “The Dog Poop Initiative.” This is a true story that took place several years ago when he took his young son to a soccer game. Once they arrived, they were warned by several folks there, including coaches, to watch out for a pile of dog poop that was in the middle of the playing field!

Kirk was actually flabbergasted at the number of people who warned him and others to watch out for the ‘pile.’ Rather than using their energy to simply remove the pile, they were spending all their energy in warning others of the mess.

It didn’t take but a few minutes for Kirk and another coach to walk over and remove the “problem.”

He shared his story with some friends, and before he knew it, they were sharing it with their families, as well as colleagues at work. Team meetings were centered on this story. Several companies wrote and told him that they were actually implementing a program where they would focus on the concept of “doing” rather than leaving it for others to do. They decided they would reward the one who had been a “pooper-scooper” and put the “pooper-pointer” in the doghouse!

This is a great lesson for your kids as well. So, the next time you see something that needs to be done at home or at work, ask yourself if you want to dance around the pile, hoping someone else will solve the problem; or do you want to be the problem solver and move on to the next pile.

We need to realize that when we see a problem, it just isn’t your problem. It affects everyone around you as well. I believe maturity occurs when we are all in this together. Don’t wait for others to take ownership and fix the problem. Be a “Pooper- Scooper!”