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You have to create your own openings to succeed. From relationships to business, you have to be first in initiating growth and change in your life.

One thing that used to make people really stand out to me was the degree of initiative they showed.

When I ran a public radio station years ago, I had a staff of about 12 people. They were all college students, which was part of how the station was set up. 

Not all of them were journalism students, which is something that I welcomed. What I found was that the majority of the students I had who were studying psychology, theater, and English had an incredible amount of initiative. 

They got stuff done. They found new ways to bring their original thought to the foray. If something needed to be done that went outside of their normal responsibilities on-air, they did it. And were very creative in how they solved problems.

This is an uncommon skill set. It’s one to practice and take note of. 


You create opportunities when you are initiating growth 

You have to do this. Life doesn’t inherently serve you up exactly what you want in the time you ask for it.

Sometimes you have to take action on your own. Sometimes you have to be the one initiating growth for it to come into being.

In boxing, it’s what coaches and trainers call “Be First!”

Coach Rivas used to shout that at us in sparring. He especially did this with boxers who were training to fight at the amateur level that would eventually go on to compete in the Golden Gloves. 

I misinterpreted the statement the first few times I heard him say it. I thought he was telling the boxer to win. “Be first!” sounds like a command to win the round, or dig deeper to win the fight.

Yet it was one of the key principles he taught me that has forever changed my life. The primary principle is described in Be First: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole.

Yes, that’s a linked part of it.

But the real key to “Be First” is about initiating growth.

Create an opening. Create an opportunity. Don’t wait for the other fighter to make a mistake before you act. Create the space and the situation for you to capitalize and score.

be first initiating growth d grant smith relationship growth farmer blog

Photo by Danny Nee on Unsplash

Life does this too

To Be First in life is to create your own opportunities. It’s taking risks, taking a chance, asking a question to someone you feel is more influential or successful than you. 

It’s like what Benjamin Hardy says in his book Willpower Doesn’t Work“Being successful requires being proactive and not waiting for life to come to you. It means you’re on offense, not defense. You’re active, not passive.”

In boxing, the jab is an instrument to create opportunities. It’s a way to open up a channel for a stronger and more solid punch to come in. In business, you jab with marketing initiatives. Something that gets attention and makes people take notice. 

In relationships, a note or a text can create an opening. It can make the person pause and consider you differently. It can create an opportunity for a deeper connection to take place. 

If you’re already in a relationship and there’s tension or struggle, being first is about taking the initiative to put the other person first. To see things from their perspective. To practice empathy. 

In doing so, and in reaching out to make amends or even make a reconnection, you create a unique opportunity. This is where healing can take place.

It takes a heart of Love to be first in relationships

Because it’s so easy to get stuck in your own head, regurgitating negative thoughts and beliefs generated from stories you make up about how things are wrong and not the way you want them to be. Fear is a huge catalyst here, as well as shame. 

It’s fear, shame, doubt, and anxiety that keep us from going first, from being the first one to initiate a connection or reconnection. We’re hurt by the actions of others. Or we’re hurt by the actions of ourselves, and in our unforgiveness we fear that there is no compassion or grace available.

If you’ve struggled with deep fears of rejection or abandonment, this is likely the cause of much pain in your life. It was the cause of much pain in my life. And in my relationships. Overcoming this pattern is what I illustrate in Be Solid: How To Go Through Hell & Come Out Whole.

There’s no one-stop cure for getting unstuck, even through the process of choosing to be first. However, making the decision and taking the risk to be first for yourself is one of the most healing things you can bring to the table. Because being first is about taking action. Action always creates change.

Staying put, not making a move, “playing it safe” and similar attitudes result in sitting on the sidelines complaining why everything isn’t the way you want.

“But what if I have made a huge mistake and I know that by reaching out to make amends I’m going to get rejected even more?” you may ask.

I’ve asked that question too. If you feel in your gut that the person needs some space, love them enough to give that to them. You can give someone space and still admit your wrongdoing and apologize. Admitting that you messed up and showing remorse for your actions is a sign of maturity. Trust that the person is loving enough to have compassion and forgiveness for you, even if it’s not immediate. 

Be first in forgiving yourself

This has been a huge struggle for me. I’m a perfectionist and a high achiever. And secretly, I’ve carried this fear in me my whole life that if people see my imperfections or if they know I’m not as strong/solid as I want to be, they’ll reject me and leave me.

I’ve carried that fear into every relationship I’ve had. It’s incredibly unfair to my relationships, and it’s especially unfair to the one Love. I wasn’t aware of the depths of that fear or what it was doing to me until I had a situation that brought me full circle with carrying this fear and shame around. I kept waiting for things to change on their own. That never happened. 

The destructive patterns are what you can quantify by looking at family patterns of alcoholism, abuse, and addictions. Alcoholism is in my genes. And if I’m not careful, it can take me as a carrier too.

This means that the journey in me living my best life means that I have to be initiating growth and be first in owning my shit. And my shit stinks!

Through healing meditations, therapies, and other inner work I’ve taken proactive steps to be first with myself. And with my relationships. It’s often very uncomfortable. But I’m fully committed to being the best version of me and living my best life. My family deserves the best me. MyLove deserves the best me. My tribe and clients deserve the best me. And so does everyone else I have the opportunity to serve and help.


What does it even mean to be the best version of yourself?

Knowing that you are Loved is just as important as operating out of Love as a way of being. Because “being” LOVE is still an action. It’s doing LOVE through your thinking and mindset. And it requires you to be the one who is initiating growth of Love inside yourself.

Let go of all the beliefs about whether you are worthy or good enough. This is trust in yourself and GOD. It’s about being first with yourself.

Being first with yourself isn’t an act of pride or selfishness. It’s self-Love in the purest sense. Self-Love is about choosing yourself over everyone else for the right reasons.

If you won’t lead yourself, how can you expect anyone to follow you? If you can’t Love yourself wholly and purely, how can you receive whole and pure love from another? 

Pride is putting yourself above others in terms of how you value them. Self-Love is about choosing to give yourself the Love you seek first. So that your cup overflows. It’s from the overflow that you give to others, starting with your closest relationships.

Be first to initiate the changes you want in life

Being chosen begins when you are first with yourself. Healing also requires that you be first with yourself. 

To heal a relationship, Be First in initiating the healing with yourself. Apologize. Make amends. Do everything you can to bring it back into alignment and wholeness. Ask for a connection. Speak from your heart. And receive the heart that comes back to you.

When you feel like your relationships are holding you back, dig into the soil of your own heart. Find the answers that are already inside of you. This is the key to initiating growth in yourself.

Your energy and your attitude make a huge difference here. In being first with your initiative, have the attitude of Love.

Let Love be on your mind and in your heart. Shift your focus from what’s missing or what’s wrong to Love. Love lights the path and makes the way.

Open up to experience what you truly want in life

Open your hands, your heart, your mind, and let it all flow into you. Let GOD be your source for the Love you operate with and pour out into others.

It has to begin with you receiving and letting your heart overflow. Be First. Give yourself the kindness and goodness to be first with freedom.

When you practice this, you can better give Love with open hands. No expectations or need for a return on what you give out. Because no one else is your source or supply for Love. Only GOD is.

And from this Love the Divine pours into you. our cup fully runneth over and you can share from the overflow. This is where the wholeness of life and Love truly comes from. 

When you put Love first in your actions, you create a ripple effect that carries amazing energy into the situation. It makes a huge difference. This is spiritual in nature. And experiential in effect. Love is how you practice initiating growth in your life.


Want to learn more?

How can you take on a more proactive method of initiation to create the changes you want in your life? Even if you lack confidence and struggle with communication, I can help you.

Set up a free coaching session with me now to get the practical tools to step into your power so you can have the initiative to grow and succeed in your life and relationships.