It's cliche to say that every journey begins with a single step, yet it's true. Leaders don't wait for everything to be perfect before they move forward. They don't wait for all the problems or obstacles to disappear. They don't wait until their fear subsides. Leaders take initiative.

Leaders know the secret of momentum: once you take the first step and start moving forward, everything becomes clearer and easier. If momentum gets strong enough, problems begin to take care of themselves and new opportunities arise. But the benefits of momentum only come into play once a leader takes initiative.

As leaders, why are we sometimes timid or tentative when we should be taking action? In my experience and observation, there are six root causes of our procrastination.


1. We hesitate to do chores we don't enjoy.

For me, yard work has always been draining. I don't find pleasure in it, and there's a million other things I'd rather spend my time doing. When I was first married, I would procrastinate mowing the lawn until it grew into a small jungle. I knew mowing would make my home look nice and would please my wife, but I abhorred giving it my time and attention.

2. We hesitate to do activities we aren't good at doing.

I enjoy the arts, and I am fascinated by highly creative persons. However, I'm not particularly gifted in painting, drawing, or designing. That's why I avoid decorating. I enjoy a finely manicured Christmas tree, or an exquisitely decorated room, but I simply have no talent at making things look good. As a consequence, I will put off decorating as long as possible.

3. We hesitate to do what isn't on our agendas.

Human nature tends to be set in its ways. When changing circumstances make our plans obsolete, we resist making adjustments. We stubbornly hold to our old course of action and avoid altering our behavior.

4. We hesitate to solve situations that are likely to be messy

A prime example is confrontation. It's difficult to tell someone what they don't want to hear and probably won't respond well to being told. Dreading the possible outcomes, we dawdle and delay rather than initiating confrontation.

5. We hesitate to tackle a task that is high-energy and low-return.

As leaders, we are hard wired into getting the most bang for our buck. The same holds true with our time. We want to invest it profitably. As such, I have always been hesitant to put energy into relationships with high-maintenance donors or investors who aren't substantial contributors to the organization.

6. We hesitate to step into things we don't understand.

Hence the saying, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." My generation has had to come to grips with fast-moving technologies, and it hasn't been easy. I don't understand many features of GPS systems, iPods, or PDA's, and, as a result, I procrastinate adopting them into my life - even though I know they could be helpful to me.


Author John Kotter, says, "Most people don't lead their lives, they accept their lives. Leaders are the exception. In their mind's eye, they have a vision of exactly where they want to go. By keeping that vision in the forefront of their minds, leaders develop priorities, maintain focus, and, acquire a sense of urgency. The vision becomes the driving force behind everything a leader does.

Leaders with a vision are active rather than passive. Whereas most people follow the path of least resistance, visionary leaders refuse to settle for what's comfortable or easy. They shape their world rather than fitting into its mold.

In addition to following a vision, leaders relentlessly schedule their lives around their core values. Leaders are attuned to what they feel is important in life, and they align their activities to reflect those beliefs. Values dictate what they will do, what they will avoid, and where they will invest their most precious commodity - time.


You may have heard the saying, "Quitters never win, and winners never quit." Nothing could be further from the truth! Leaders are strategic quitters. They ruthlessly avoid activities that don't align with their vision or values. They know the power of "NO" when faced with opportunities that threaten to drift them away from their purpose.

I've quit a lot of things during my leadership journey: counseling, administrating, controlling, people-pleasing, and more. Quitting has been healthy for me because I've always quit for the right reasons.

  • You quit something you don't do well to start something you do well.
  • You quit something you're not passionate about to do something that fills you with passion.
  • You quit something that's doesn't make a difference to do something that does.


To acquire more influence, taking initiative is a prerequisite. Leaders step forward when they clarify their vision and values. Knowing their purpose gives them a starting point, and a reason to act. By clearing out the clutter in their agendas, leaders recognize the power of quitting. Free from the handcuffs of over-commitment, leaders are able to choose the dreams they chase rather then drifting down the current of life's circumstances.

"This article is used by permission from Dr. John C. Maxwell's free monthly e-newsletter, "Leadership Wired," available at"

If you have been procrastinating on purchasing Idaho Real Estate or Boise homes for sale, please either pick up the phone and call Don Wixom or drop him an e-mail right now!  Don has co-authored the book, "How to Make Your Realtor Get You the Best Deal!" Idaho Edition, and is willing to send you a free copy, just for asking!

How to Make Your REALTOR® Get You the Best Deal - Idaho Edition

Always looking out for your next move on Idaho Real Estate in the Boise Idaho Real estate Market,  Don Wixom  RE/MAX Executives Nampa, Idaho