Take the initiative.

My friend Susan has an unusual obsession: masquerade balls.

As in: those grand, sweeping, epic gala affairs where everybody wears a bejeweled mask until the stroke of midnight.

Who knows why she developed this particular obsession? Perhaps it is because she has read the Fifty Shades of Grey series five dozen times and a vision of a masked Christian Grey (as depicted in the story) is permanently etched in her mind. Or perhaps she was a French Duchess in a past life. (Neither scenario would surprise me…)

For a long time, Susan ogled photos of black-tie parties online. She’d gaze longingly at images of glamorous women dripping with jewels, strutting around in fabulous gowns, clutching glasses of champagne, slithering down red carpets and frolicking through mysterious Italian villas and star-drenched gardens, and Susan would think to herself…… “Why is my hometown so boring? Why doesn’t anyone here throw parties like that?”

Eventually — because Susan is one of those highly self-motivated, initiative-seizing women who refuses to let her cravings go unmet — Susan decided, “Enough waiting. If I want to attend a masquerade ball so badly — AND I DO — then I am going to throw one myself!”

And she did.

And it was amazing.

What is your personal “masquerade ball”?

What is something that you have been yearning to do, be, have, or experience?

One lesson that I have learned from my friend Susan — and from dozens of other inspiring men and women that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet throughout the years — it’s that if there is something you want, waiting around for somebody to “give” it to you is a rarely a good plan. You must take the initiative to create your own opportunities, your own parties, your own experiences. It’s up to YOU to lead the charge.

Recently, I have been yearning to make “visual art.” Drawings. Cartoons. Things like that. I’ve never been a painter or an illustrator. I’ve never taken a formal art class. My drawing skills are childlike at best. But my heart has been whining at me like a toddler — “Please draw things, pleeeease!” — so, following in Susan’s footsteps, I’m just doing it!

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been making fun, silly coloring sheets — like this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this — which I photocopy and hand out to customers at my sweetheart’s restaurant. People color while they wait for their food to arrive. To my surprise, people really love my “artwork”! These coloring sheets make people smile and they give people something to do with hands — other than stare at their phones and text at the table. It’s awesome. For them and for me.

The badass marine biologist and aquatic explorer Sylvia Earle says it best:

“Hold up a mirror and ask yourself what you are capable of doing and what you really care about. Then take the initiative — don’t wait for someone else to ask you to act.”

Whether it’s throwing a masquerade ball, or making visual art for the first time in your life, or hopping into a steel cage and getting up close and personal with a great white shark, when you “take the initiative,” that is when life pulses alive. That is when your cravings get met. That is when you grow and discover new abilities, make new memories, and feel your best. That is when the world gets to witness the best version of you, too.

None of this is mind-blowing info, of course. You already know this is true. Now, turn that “knowing” into “doing.”

Seize this moment, this day, to create some type of experience that you want.

Tap into your inner Susan or Sylvia.

You will not regret it.

Just do it.