“Go for it.” “Dig!” This was my high school volleyball coach yelling at us in practice. She always reminded us to Be Proactive. We shouldn’t wait for the ball to get to us before we move. We were to anticipate where it was going and move towards that area. She encouraged us to get in the right position in order to get to the ball first. Our volleyball team was not the best in the area. Frankly, we were dead last! But her lesson stuck with me over these years.
A few years later, I encountered this concept of “Be Proactive” again when I was introduced to Stephen’ Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. With this principle Covey encourages us to Be Proactive about the scripts that we use for our lives and take responsibility for them. He also encourages us to engage with others in a positive manner in order to broaden our circles of influence. This will often put you in the right position to succeed, to get to the ball first.
Being proactive serves me well. When I worked in the corporate world, if I knew of a position that was available in an area that would help me to grow in my career; I would learn what were the qualifications for the position in order to assess how my credentials stacked up against the requirements. I was setting myself up to get to the ball first.
If there were any gaps, I worked to gain the knowledge and the experience to fill those gaps. I also spoke with the people doing the job to learn the pros and the cons of the position. This helped me to make an informed decision of whether it was a right fit for me or not. This also allow others to know that I was serious about my interest in the position. Being proactive also boosted my confidence level. More often than not, I would get the position…hitting the ball right over the net.
The times that I wasn’t proactive about taking action were generally times when I didn’t achieve what I wanted. They were times when I fell short of the goal. Being reactive puts me at a disadvantage more than not…in other words losing. Do you find this to be true also for you?
Stephen Covey advises that we can be proactive by using self-awareness to select the right scripts for our lives. We must also take responsibility for these scripts, because we are the ones who chose them.
In his podcast #131: How To Make Politics Work in Your Favor, keynote speaker and author Dre Baldwin uses the word Politics in an unorthodox way to demonstrate how not Being Proactive can hurt you. He states that if you lose a job position that you wanted to someone else, it is your own fault. You didn’t develop your “Politicking” skills to be proactive about getting the position.
Mr. Baldwin also shares recommendations for Being Proactive through better “politicking” techniques. The first thing he recommends is to improve your people’s skills. Sounds familiar…this is part of Covey’s recommendation not necessary stated in the same way. Being proactive about learning how to work best with others is a strong part of being successful. There are other steps that Mr. Baldwin shares to help you can develop your “Politicking” skills to gain more success. Listen to the podcast here #131: How to Make Politics Work in Your Favor.
Being Proactive in life has it’s advantages. Here are some of the benefits of practicing Being Proactive:
- Save you Time and Money
- Make you more prepared to handle most situations
- Gets you the guy or girl (had to throw that in there)
- Recognize earlier on when to make a change
- Develops Self-confidence
- Expend less energy
- Brings peace of mind
Looking back I can definitely say that Being Proactive feels a lot better that being reactive. What are some methods you use to Be Proactive? Let me know. I’d like to hear from you.
For those of you that are in reactive mode, what are you waiting for? “Go after it!” “Dig!” Put yourself in the right position to hit the winning ball now!
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Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently member of the Public Relations Team. She provides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Speaker, an Author and a Business Manger/Agent for Professional Speakers.