If you decided to surprise your family tomorrow morning by cooking breakfast, my guess is that you wouldn’t need to ask for permission first. Even if you burn the toast beyond recognition, it’s hard to get angry with someone for doing something so nice. The thought and the resulting generous action are what count.
If you’re looking for more responsibility, more credit, more ways to stand out, etc., look at the ways you’re spending your time and ask, “What could I do without asking?” Not a selfish act that only benefits you, but a generous one that benefits everyone involved.
There’s no long line of competition to beat, no selection process, no need to get picked for this kind of contribution. All you have to do is see a need or opportunity and then show up.
Your summer class, your part-time job, your martial arts class, your workout with the cross country team–if you make a habit of trying to give more, chances are you’ll start getting a lot more back in return.
Sometimes the best opportunities are those things you can do without asking.