by Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
The word “Initiative” has been thrown around a lot lately. So what is it really about? In this time and place, some words have become very broad in terms of literal meaning, but very different and specific in terms of individual’s perspectives. Initiatives can be started by governments, enterprises, or individuals; however, in this article, we will focus on the latter, specifically the ones that serve the community.
For the sake of the argument, the word “initiative” will be defined as follows: it is the act of starting something with good intentions, without being requested or instructed to do so. Initiatives are setup to fix something in the society, help a niche, form a community for a certain purpose, fill a gap in the society, or so on, from aspects that would make the society itself an easier, better, and more satisfying place for people to live in. Ideally, initiatives continue and sustain their presence; some are operated voluntarily by committed individuals, while others are turned into businesses.
There are a lot of initiatives operating in the society. The motives sometimes vary between good intentions, or for the profit, or merely for the fame. Regardless of the motives, if the initiative is serving the society righteously, then the motives should not be a barrier for others to support their success.
There are so many examples on initiatives that continue to positively influence the community. Such as TEDxDubai, the conference was first hosted in October 2009. It was organized by a team of TED fanatics who wanted to bring to Dubai the value of sharing ideas, by doing so, they inspired many people to find their true passion and get focused on their dreams. Emiratweet is another example. It is a social entity whose founders aim to create a strong Emirati community by bringing together UAE nationals with common interests in informative events. Ahdaaf, an indoor football facility; the main objective of the owners is to provide a convenient environment to encourage sports and reduce health issues arising from obesity. POAG, Promise Of A Generation, its founders aim through their events to bring different cultures under one roof, raise awareness on essential society issues, and pursue solutions for those issues.
There is always room for new initiatives. Look around you. Find that one thing that you always say I wish people knew more about it, or I wish that thing/situation could be any different. Chances are, you are not the only one who is thinking of the same thought. This means, if you start an initiative on such, you will eventually build a network of people having the same interest, and together you will be able to create a sustained solution.
Starting an initiative is not as hard as many people may think it is. Nowadays, many initiatives start by merely using the Internet and social media to build a community and a network of supporters. Starting an initiative is more of having the right attitude of a doer and go-getter. As a suggestion, here is an aggregated possible guideline to start an initiative:
1. Find that one thing you know you want to create or change.
2. Find at least one more person who shares the same notion.
3. Define clearly what you want to do. Write a mission statement and an initiative description in which you list down the extensive details of what you want to achieve and how.
4. Commit to go through with it. Some people choose to tell their friends about their plans to be held accountable by them. They find that at times, it matters more to keep their word rather than the actual achievement of the initiative.
5. Start right away. It is easier to start when the idea is still fresh in your head. It is also easier to keep the momentum once you start operating.
6. Do not fall into thinking that you are not going to get any obstacles; they are part and parcel of the package. They are not showstoppers. They should only make you strive harder and get a clearer vision of what you really want to achieve.
7. Learn from your mistakes and feedback to continuously fine-tune your initiative and grow it.
This is how most of the initiatives started, with small steps till they started achieving what they are today. They say you do not have to be great to start, but you need to start to be great.
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