taking initiative, taking the lead

Perhaps one of the lessons my life is trying to give me lately is that I cannot just “go with the flow” anymore, I need to take control of situations to ensure that they work out properly. I have been sitting back, reacting instead of acting, just going along with whatever the people around me were doing and saying and trusting that everything would work itself out. And it doesn’t.

With work, I didn’t pro-actively ask for more responsibilities or let my bosses know I was interested in more challenging work if it meant more pay, and I didn’t go to them to let them know how I felt about communication styles in this office, and so nothing happened. With Jennifer, I exerted basically zero effort one way or the other; I didn’t try to prevent her from cheating on her husband with me and I didn’t try to get her to leave him, I just left it all up to her and hoped that by letting her choose our fate, we would come up with what she wanted. With my father, with working on the house last weekend for example, I agreed to do whatever he told me to do, and I made myself available for the entire weekend, but I didn’t take control of the situation to be sure that things were getting done the way he wanted them to be done, and he certainly doesn’t take control, doesn’t ask for help when he wants it, doesn’t communicate during what times he expects to be working, expects help, and during which times he does not, and apparently, although I followed every direction he gave me (including more than once when he specifically told me to STOP the work I was doing, even though he had nothing else for me to be doing, and the work needed to be done), he was dissatisfied with what got done. Even social situations … I haven’t planned anything or taken steps to help things become more solidly planned, I’ve just gone along with what everyone else was doing, whether they knew what they were doing or not, not double-checking their work, their ideas, not coordinating things properly, and things haven’t been going well. Missing movie showtimes and having to drive back and forth across the city to find another one, miscommunication about which vehicles will be in use or when people will be leaving and returning and on and on, usually just little things, but sometimes problems that suck up whole evenings or cause social problems between friends.

So, this weekend my father is in town again to work on the house some more, but I think I’ll just take control of the situation to be sure it gets done, instead of leaving it up to my father, whose project it is we’re doing. I’ll force the information out of him about what he wants to get done and what it will take and what order it needs to be done in and what times of day he’d like to work on it in, and I’ll be sure that everything stays on track and that things get done the way they’re supposed to get done. I’ll coordinate with my sisters so that when (during the hottest part of the day, when we wouldn’t want to be working outside anyway) I’m going to get my hair cut on the other side of town, my father is working on my sister’s AC on that same side of town, and then we can come back together and keep working. I’ll be sure the tools we need are where we need them, when we need them, and that everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and when, and I’ll be especially sure that if we’re supposed to be waking up at a particular time in the morning, it’s communicated to everyone the night before, AND that if they don’t get up at that time, they are awakened by someone else.

Because if I don’t do it, apparently it won’t get done at all.

And the next time I begin to become more than friends with someone, I will not stand idly by and try to discern and conform solely to their desires, I will exert my own influence over the situation as well. I will make an effort to make the relationship work, and to be sure that all parties involved are satisfied. I do have a will and desire of my own, and I deserve to be more than just a self-made puppet to another’s will and desires. A relationship should be a collaboration, and both parties should take action, take initiative.

And I’m going to … I don’t know what, at work. If I don’t get the job I interviewed for a week ago, I’ll keep looking for work, I guess. But I’m going to try to have more acive communication with my bosses about the workplace, and what goes on in it. I am allowed to have some control over my worklife. I am not a slave.

And I’m going to try to take the initiative in planning social events that I become involved with, to be sure that when other people are planning something they haven’t left something or someone out, to be sure that important details aren’t accidentally overlooked, and that times and places are well communciated to everyone involved in a reasonable manner. I have a good attention to detail, I have good communication skills, I can make sure that everyone is having a good time. It’s weird. I still run into people who tell me what great parties I used to throw. I’d like to get my house in order enough that I can throw some parties (like, dinner parties, or game nights) before the summer is out.

And I need to take more control over many other aspects of my life that I haven’t been. I’ve been very much taking a “go with the flow” attitude about nearly everything in my life, and expecting that if I just let the world do its thing, everything will work itself out, but I can see that if I take control, if I make an effort to make things better, they will be better than if I do not.

For the last six months or so a lot of signs have been trying to remind me that I ought to be in leadership roles, that I ought to be leading in my social life, my work life, and generally. I have been adamantly denying them, I have been trying to take a path which does not require me to lead, but … Fine. I take the hint, I’ve got talent at leading, I’ve got to use it.

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Author, artist, romantic, insomniac, exorcist, creative visionary, lover, and all-around-crazy-person.

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