Let me start by saying that I came up with this prompt several weeks ago, long before the Corona Virus had left China. Everything I mention about going out and visiting different cities is to be seen apart from the current quarantine measures. Of course, I uphold the social isolation advice. My struggles with taking the initiative took place before this crisis and will probably resume afterwards, too.
Not Just Love
I bet your first association with the subject of ‘initiative’ was within the context of romantic situations. And yes, of course, that issue is also part of my life. How to approach someone, how to take the first step, how to anything really?
But that’s not what I wanted to write about here.
I have trouble with taking the initiative to do anything. I mean simple things like going for a walk in a new district or trying a new recipe to bake a cake on a random day. First and foremost, I come up with all the reasons why I shouldn’t. Why doing that would be a bad idea. And so I don’t. And it is holding me back.
I’m a conscientious person who thinks before she acts. That’s an excellent trait to have, and I’m sure it has shielded me from harm in more than one way. I used to be slightly more adventurous than I am now. As a teenager, I went on holiday with my friends several times, with their parents present, sometimes with only a day of preparation. I didn’t mind at all, I just packed a bag and left.
I joined my theatre groups too, without much trepidation. I was slightly nervous beforehand, but I went anyway, I did my thing and conquered my place in the group. The same goes for when I joined my sporting activities or other courses that I took. My consideration was: do I think I’ll enjoy this activity? If yes, then I signed up and participated.
Money and Back-up
So what changed? Several things actually. Part of the consideration is, of course, money. Many activities, like taking classes or joining a gym cost money, and more now than when I was still a student. I simply do not have a hundred Euros to spend per month on a gym subscription.
Regarding the more adventurous activities: we do not have a safety net. We don’t have much family to fall back on should things go awry. The two of us combined, have one parent left, and there are no grandparents left either. So we need to be careful in what we undertake. If we screw up, we’re screwed.
The one initiative that I took the last year that did work out well was the very blog you are reading now. My blog and everything to do with it is all on me. I decided to do this, I set it up, and I update the contents. I’m immensely proud of what I have achieved with this endeavour so far. It showed me that I am able to take the initiative and accomplish something.
Where To Go?
But my lack of initiative, and tied to that, my lack of confidence, is also holding back my career. The problem is that I do not even dare to dream of becoming a bigger writer, of setting things up professionally. And if I don’t believe in it, then who’s going to hire me to write for them? I’m taking baby steps. I’m trying to get assignments, and products to review, but it often feels like I’m working for crumbs.
Slowly but Surely
The way I see it is that I am building my strength and endurance with these baby steps. I’ve never written as much as I did last year. Most things I undertake are quite popular. I’m building an audience. I need to keep it up and maybe, tentatively, start to dream bigger. That yes, things are available to me. That yes, I am worth more than the crumbs from the bottom of the barrel. But that’s scary as hell.