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Self Starters

There are a number of people in our community who are good front-line soldiers, but who often become so focused on the job at hand that they forget important considerations relating to things going on around them. These people need to work extra hard to improve their range of focus, so that they are not limited to just one simple straight-line task. The more different tasks we can learn to do well, the better leaders we will become.

In the system people often go from home to school to a job, and in each transition, guidelines are clearly set out for them as to what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do. Employers go to great lengths to keep jobs simple, because it means more people can learn to do them, and they can learn to do them more quickly as well.

But the moment some people walk away from a job and into the bigger world, they become confused and disorientated. The safe guidelines are not there any more, and they must decide for themselves when to get up, what to do, when to knock off, what dangers to watch for, etc. Most people cannot do this, and so they will never be leaders. Even retirement almost brings a nervous breakdown to some people because of this. They seem to need someone else to plot their lives for them.

However, the most successful people in the world are ones who can organise themselves and their lives. They are called "self starters". And we need more of them in this community.

When the rules are neatly laid out (e.g. Get out 100 tracts a day.) most of you don't have any problems. But when it comes to bigger responsibilities, you freak out. I don't want unthinking robots in this community; but to avoid this, you must consciously choose to take charge of your lives.

The ideal is to accept more responsibilities gradually; but sometimes we don't get such a luxury. We just find ourselves in a situation where we must make important decisions; and when that happens, we need to be aware of the implications of little things that we do, and know why certain things are important.

For some people the problem is worst when they become involved in trivia (e.g. reading, watching TV, etc.) which chews up both their time and their attention, effectively postponing any consideration of where they are at, where they are going, and how they can best get there. Such activities need to be assessed and dropped if they are hindering performance.

You need to rehearse what your responsibilities are, in order to keep from forgetting them. A pocket notebook, and constant reference to it, are two of the best ways to do that.

Because of the stresses of leadership, I need times when I can forget all responsibilities. However, I also need to plan for them, lest I be mentally out of station at a time when something really important is happening.

So I do things like listing down on paper all that I need to do the next day before I go to sleep at night... and if something pops into my head while lying in bed, then I put that to paper as well. In that way, I not only don't need to worry about forgetting those things, but I can actually try to forget them, so that I can have a good sleep, assured that when I wake in the morning, my list will be there to remind me of all that I need to do that day.

Of course, just having words on paper won't do much good if I don't start from there, and then move on to thinking of all the ins and outs, whys and wherefores, including problems I need to be prepared for, the costs, and the times and dates when I will actually do them.

In addition to doing something like this when going to bed, there are times when you need to totally escape work while still awake. You can't do like normal 9-5 workers, who leave the responsibility with the boss when they go home. But if you are careful, you'll be able to take the phone off the hook for a bit of a break, and still remember to put it back on when your rest is over.

These are just a few tips on how to be a self starter.

(See also Job Lists, Budgets, and Schedules.)

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