How to be a Self-Starter

by | Apr 25, 2019

Have you ever noticed that we live in an unpredictable world that demands predictable results? As today’s rapid pace of change continues, it creates new problems everyday – problems that need to be solved even when we don’t have all the answers. This isn’t a world where you can succeed if you’re afraid of taking the first step. Now, more than ever, we need self-starters: people who are intrinsically motivated, proactive, action-oriented and comfortable taking the initiative.

If you don’t already see yourself as a self-starter, it’s time to cultivate certain skills.

1. Be A Goal-Setter

Create a vision for your career. NBA Coach Phil Jackson reported that he saw goal visualization as an important tool. Imagine every aspect of what accomplishing your vision will look and feel like. And then set goals to get yourself there. Whether you want to achieve your vision in a week or a year, you should consistently be taking steps towards it.

2. Cultivate Creativity

Beth Comstock – successful businesswoman, author, and the former Vice Chair at GE – believes that imagination is what makes us uniquely human. She says we’re entering an age of AI (artificial intelligence) and the only thing humanity will be left with is imagination and creativity. We should be training people to use those skills. Self-starters initiate problem solving, propose new ideas, and take calculated risks, all of which involve imagination.

3. Become a Life-long Learner

To make sure the ideas you’re proposing will actually solve problems, you need to have an understanding of the world as it is and the world as it might be. Never stop learning. Take an online course and earn a certification in an emerging or highly demanded field. Take 10 minutes a day to read a book about your field of work. Get coffee or lunch with colleagues who work in another part of the office.

4. Take Inventory

If you pride yourself on being a self-starter, but find your motivation waning despite your best efforts, it’s time to see what’s blocking your motivation. Look around your workplace for the following red flags:

  • Unaddressed conflict
  • Role confusion
  • Crushing workload
  • Too little trust
  • Too much control
  • Fuzzy or ill-described plans

5. Eliminate Energy Blockers

If everything in the workplace seems fine, but you still feel like you’re moving slowly, take a look at what you want to accomplish. Perhaps your goals need to be broken into smaller pieces, perhaps you need to get organized, or perhaps you’ve forgotten what the big picture is or why you even set your goal in the first place.

Once you’ve reminded yourself why you want to achieve your goal, use these strategies to push through and reclaim motivation:

  • Eliminate procrastination. Set a timer for 15 minutes and tell yourself you have to work until the timer goes off. You’ll likely find yourself seizing momentum and working for longer.
  • Use the Eisenhower system for time management. This system was named after President Eisenhower. It breaks all activity down into four priorities:
    • Level One – Urgent and Important
    • Level Two – Important but not Urgent
    • Level Three – Urgent but not Important
    • Level Four – Not Important or Urgent

Write down everything you do and slot it under one of the categories. Your goal is to stay focused on level 2 priorities.

Above all, remember that achieving goals isn’t easy so you shouldn’t spend time criticizing yourself if things are moving slower than you want. Motivation might start within, but it is nourished from without. RedRock Leadership offers programs that foster team building and individual growth so that your workplace becomes a center of innovation, exploration and experimentation.

Jeff Ruby

Jeff Ruby

Founder & CEO of RedRock Leadership

During the course of his professional career, he has worked in organizations ranging in size from a sole practitioner to Fortune 500. Included in his experience are roles in starting and selling companies, sales and sales management, training and development and executive coaching.

RedRock Leadership is a sales training and leadership development company committed to growing companies by growing individuals through on-going training infused with the competencies of emotional intelligence.