Burning Initiative

Glancing over at my Tweetdeck columns right now, I see the faces of many friends and professional colleagues. There’s an astonishing diversity in this group of digital networkers, but when I think about the common ground among those to whom I feel closest, there is definitely one thing each possesses.

Burning initiative.

Great ideas are a dime a dozen. Knowledge is easily obtained, and superficial appeal is a make-up kit and sound-bite away.

My people make things happen. They’re not into the status quo. They see what is, dream what ought to be, and take action.

I see, on my screen, Tom Martin, who is constantly pushing the marketing/social media envelope, and who works as a solopreneur and change agent. I see Lisa Petrilli, who could easily land a job in a big corporation, but who is pursuing her own, more revolutionary, vision. There’s Jason Falls, and there’s Jay Baer – two thinkers and doers who are not afraid to try out new things and push, over months and years, to make a difference.

I spot Dave deBronkart in my Twitter stream – ePatientDave who took the bull by the horns when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer. My pharma co-conspirator Sally Church, who takes the arcane world of clinical research and brings it into the social world. And Geoff Livingston, who will puncture the balloon of just about any status quo, and continually seeks to do something about it.

I could go on and on, but the point is – no matter how smart you are, or what title you’ve been granted, 90% of the game is initiative. Preferably burning initiative, hot and steady, over the long haul.

It might be a thrill to be called a guru, or to be a best-selling author, or to put “award-winning” as your first name. Maybe none of that is so bad, but to be a catalyst, to be someone who makes the pie bigger for everyone, to be a change agent in a positive direction – isn’t that what matters most? Or am I just an idealistic dreamer?

We’ve all been called many names (only some of which can be reproduced on a public blog!). I mostly gravitate toward people with the title Catalyst, Initiator, or Revolutionary. If you’ve got the fire, let it burn and take some initiative!


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

9 Responses to Burning Initiative

  1. Steve,

    I’m always honored to be included in your posts alongside such ground-breaking folks, and am equally honored to be your friend. I believe you’re right about gravitating toward people who want to make big things happen – given my TweetDeck looks a lot like yours. 🙂

    Thank you, Steve,

    Lisa Petrilli

    • Your name came up, Lisa, in a conversation I had over lunch with someone, re: executive leadership. You’re always top of mind when it comes to my co-catalysts!

  2. Tom Martin says:


    I LOVE that phrase — burning initiative… never heard it before but think that you’re spot on. There has to be an intangible desire to move forward to truly change anything.

    Great post… and thank you for including me in this list of folks… honored to be mentioned in the same post.


  3. Without passion there is nothing to do. It’s just a job, as opposed to you life, and something to reflect upon and be proud of.

  4. They’re a crafty, cunning bunch, for sure. What I love about every person you mentioned is that those burning initiatives are not at anyone’s expense.

    They give more than they get, they’re generous with their time and talents and they are rock solid people who are exactly how we see them online.

    Burning initiative alone is a good thing. Coupled with a passionate and compassionate heart — an awesome thing!


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