Proactive means responding well

The word proactive means we are acting in anticipation of events that haven’t occurred.  It implies we are thinking about how we are responding to situations we expect to happen.  It also means that we are taking responsibility for our actions instead of watching our lives as observers.  When we are proactive, we maintain control of the course our lives take. 

Notice I didn’t say we maintain control of our lives because we can only control ourselves and our responses.  When we are reactive, we allow the circumstances and others to determine our actions.  We are merely surviving.  But by taking the time to look at our options, look at alternatives, we can consciously choose which direction we want our lives to take. 

Proactive living means we look ahead and see if we can expect situations and seek resolutions or ways to bypass the potential issue before they occur.  When we approach life in this way, we are consciously aware of our goals. We can maneuver towards them despite what circumstances arise. 

Look at the word responsibility—“response-ability”—the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling. ~ Stephen Covey

Benefits of Living a Proactive Life

When it comes to our health, being preventative is a pre-emptive approach.  Waiting until we have a medical crisis may have dire consequences, but consciously choosing to enhance our well-being is proactive.  Taking supplements, adding movement into our lives, and getting more quality sleep are positive ways to enhance our health. 

Learning to de-stress and add a self-care routine into our lives is also a great way to boost our well-being.  Being proactive in stress reduction is as simple as breathing.  Yes, breathing exercises cause a physical reaction in our parasympathetic nervous system, which immediately decreases our blood pressure and calming us. 

All we need to do is inhale in for a count of five, hold for a count of five, and exhale for a count of five.  Repeat this process for three full breaths, and our bodies are calmer. 

Are we proactive with our mindsets?  If we have a positive mindset, we are looking for growth situations and expecting splendid opportunities.  But if our mindsets are negative, then we will be reactive to any situation.  We will feel like we are putting out fires instead of moving forward towards our goals. 

Resiliency results from proactive living.  Why, because as we build our self-confidence muscle, we learn to avoid obstacles because we learn to anticipate them.  This ability allows us to limit any fearful thinking and quickly bounce back from unexpected challenges because we are adaptable to the change.  Innovation comes through being proactive.

I believe that everyone chooses how to approach life. If you’re proactive, you focus on preparing. If you’re reactive, you end up focusing on repairing.     John C. Maxwell

The Unknown Rewards of Being Proactive

“Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout Motto.  During my eight years in the scouting program with my boys, this became a statement to live by.    A little planning today could have huge payoffs later by mitigating negative consequences or the ability to turn challenges into opportunities. 

When we are cleaning up the consequences because we were unprepared or putting out the fires of a mistake, we are wasting our resources.  We squander money and time when we are reactive because we have to spend money and time that could be used more constructively. 

We become more flexible in life when we are proactive because we are open to change.  We know that change is neutral, and therefore, we can respond more effectively and overcome obstacles faster. 

When we are forward looking, we are always looking for ways to improve and grow.  When we find a weak area, we can quickly assess the matter and look for ways to develop it to live a better life. 

We have more peace of mind when we aren’t anxious about the other shoe dropping because we are confident in responding appropriately.  So we live from a place of less stress.

Being proactive empowers us.  It inspires us to dream big.  It encourages us to take action.  Being proactive emboldens us to take risks.  And it energizes us to keep moving forward. When we feel we have options, we feel in control of our destinies. 

The word proactive means more than merely taking the initiative. It means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Our behavior is a function of our decisions, not our conditions. We can subordinate feelings to values. We have the initiative and the responsibility to make things happen.     ~ Stephen Covey

What Prevents Us from Being Proactive?

For many of us, not seeing the immediate benefits of our pre-emptive actions keeps us from taking any action at all.  This inaction becomes procrastination.  By waiting, we are stressing about the work we need to get done. We are only harming ourselves.  Over time, it turns into excuses for why we aren’t living the life we desire.  But by changing our habits and taking small steps towards our goals, we can overcome them. 

So when we procrastinate, we are not managing our time well.  We need to allow for ample time to do tasks.  Schedule focus time to work on one item.  We also need to allow for interruptions, so we have some wiggle room to complete the items. 

Part of our time management skills is learning to prioritize.  It seems obvious to do the most urgent matter first.  But we also have to keep in mind that others may wait for our part of the project so they can do their part.  So maybe completing that item first would be more of a priority. 

Having a fixed mindset keeps us in a reactive mode.  We like being in our comfort zone and don’t actively seek ways to grow personally.  Being passive means, we aren’t taking action steps towards our goals.  We aren’t engaging with others, asking questions, volunteering to help in another area- we are only doing what others expect, nothing more.  And therefore, we stagnate and stay small. 

Be a creator of circumstances rather than just a creature of circumstances. Be proactive rather than reactive.     ~Brian Tracy

Learning to Control our Responses

When a situation arises that needs to be addressed, how do we learn to respond instead of reacting?  Learning to control our responses may seem to be a tall order, but all it requires is to pause.  When we take a moment to process the situation, we allow our creative minds to look for appropriate responses and solutions. 

When we pause and take a deep breath, we can stay calm.  This ability to be composed makes for better communication and clear thinking.  The moment before our response allows us to not jump to conclusions from an emotional place.  We can maintain an open perspective to deal with the circumstances from a rational place.

When dealing with others, try to look at things from their perspective.  Seeing another viewpoint can help us respond with compassion and empathy.  When we share with others from a place of authenticity, we are open to genuine connections vital for our relationships to thrive.

We need to do our best to maintain a positive outlook on life.  When we do, we are taking a proactive step in not being overwhelmed by circumstances.  We are more likely to see them differently than we would if we had a negative mindset. 

If you can stay calm and relaxed in any given situation, you will also manage to be proactive, not reactive. We all want to be proactive.     ~Michelle Landry

Ways to Be Proactive

Take responsibility for the situation.  Only we can move our dreams forward, so we need to understand that our ability to respond to the circumstances is crucial. We made choices that brought us to this place, and the conscious decision we make now determines the path we move down.  Blaming others or making excuses does nothing but delay our progress towards our goals.

Instead, let’s focus on what we can control.  We can take action to change the circumstances, and that’s where we need to put our energy.  We hold ourselves accountable to make sure we accomplish what we need to do promptly.

Take part instead of watching.  Proactive people are not on the sidelines of life. We are in it entirely.  We take action, we speak up, and we participate in the planning of activities that involve us. 

Stop talking and instead take action.  There are the dreamers who talk, but then there are achievers who accomplish their dreams because they take action.  Each day one step towards the desired outcome. They are always moving forward.

Think and plan.  Consider where you want to go by creating a vision. Then break down the dream into steps that can be taken towards the life we want.  

Be consistent with how we relate to others and in how we live our lives.  Our behaviors affect our outcomes.  We need to assess our habits so we are unwavering in our daily activities towards success. 

Find our tribe—those like-minded individuals who keep us inspired and accountable.  When we are with proactive people, it helps us see the benefits of this lifestyle.

Think proactively and dynamically. Be realistic, but set your sights high.     ~Lori Meyers

Proactively Moving Forward

As proactive people, we don’t let our circumstances control us.  Alternatively, we have a mindset that allows us to rise as respected and influential leaders who are productive in all we set out to accomplish. 

We are proactively seeking opportunities to grow and expand our souls.  We seek feedback, adjust our goals, and involve others.  We are calmer, organized, and in control of ourselves.   As proactive individuals, we are healthier, happier, and more successful than reactive people. 

Being proactive is a pillar of spiritual growth and meaningful development.    ~ Eli Landa

Do you need support to help you become more proactive in your life?  Do you want a strategy to help you overcome the ego’s limiting beliefs and live a successful life? If so, please contact me, and we can put together an action plan for you to create the life you desire.