Article is adapted from Seth Godin’s blog:  March 2011 and December 2010

Sasha Dichter is the Director of Business Development at the Acumen Fund. He doesn’t run a company, he has a boss, and he works for a non-profit organisation. One would think there isn’t a lot of room for initiative and innovation in a setting like this.

Except there is! Sasha has one of the most influential non-profit blogs online, something that he started on his own, on behalf of his employer.

It’s so easy to get hung up on reacting to incoming, on working through a checklist and on imagining what the boss wants you to do next. It’s far more productive, I think, to decide where you want to go and then go there ! The key difference between initiators and everyone else is the simple idea of posture. What do you say to yourself in between assignments? What do you say to yourself once the checklist is complete? What do you do when you see something that needs doing?

Sasha asks himself (not his boss), “what’s next?”

And that’s the shift!

You look at a world of opportunities and you pick one. Initiative is taken, it’s not given.

Bob Dylan earned the right to make records, and instead of using it to create ever more commercial versions of his old stuff, he used it as a platform to do art.

A brilliant programmer finds a job in a small company and instead of seeing it as a grind, churning out what’s asked, he uses it as a platform to hone his skills and to ship code that changes everything.

A waiter uses his job serving patrons as a platform for engagement, for building a reputation and for learning how to delight.

A blogger starts measuring pageviews and uses the blog as a platform to take herself and her readers somewhere they will be glad to go…

There’s no rigid line between a job and art . Instead, there’s an opportunity! Both you and your boss get to decide if your job is a platform or just a set of tasks.  Use your Initiative!