At a 10-year class reunion, four friends gathered to visit. Tina and George reflected on the differences in Steve and Angela after they walked away.
"They were both so smart and outgoing when we were in high school," George said. "Yeah, they were both voted Most Likely to Succeed, remember?" Tina added.
"Then why have their lives gone so differently in the last ten years?" George mused. After a conversation and discussing several factors, Tina and George determined the biggest difference.
Tina seemed to summarize the conversation: "Angela seems to be willing to get started and take action; while Steve has great ideas and lots of promise, but he always seems to be waiting on something."
George said, "I think that's it. Angela is more proactive and that seems to make a huge difference.
Being proactive doesn't just make a difference for Angela. It's important for all of us.
The Collins English Dictionary defines proactive as: "tending to initiate change rather than reacting to events." Other definitions include the phrase "acting in advance" and "taking initiative." Finally many definitions include the concept of the habit or discipline of being proactive.
I'm sure no one would disagree with the concept of being proactive, yet for a variety of reasons many of us are more hesitant, more calculating, more fearful or just procrastinate at being proactive. Here are five specific actions you can take to develop the habit of being more proactive in any part of your life.
Five ApproachesForget perfection
. Do you avoid taking action because you want things to be perfect? Do you spend time scheming or justifying continued learning as an excuse for taking action? While learning and looking at best practices is important, at some point it is pure procrastination. Learn to say "good is good enough."
Take a risk.
All of that calculating, planning and reworking is often done to reach perfection, or at least to reduce the chance of a mistake. It's OK if it isn't perfect; it's also OK to make a mistake. When you try you will either succeed, or learn a way that doesn't work. Either way, you're ahead of doing nothing.
Focus on a goal.
When you focus on something you want to achieve and the reasons why, you begin to create a desire to take action. Keep your focus on what you want, and the actions to move in that direction will come easier.
Do something now.
Just get started. You become more proactive by taking action. Decide what's first (or next) and take action - now. The root word of proactive is active - or action. Momentum builds when you do something. Start now!
Accelerate your expectations.
Getting started is a good first step; the next step is to move faster. You become more proactive and develop that habit more fully when you put speed in your corner. Believe that you can accomplish more, try more and achieve more; faster. Then prove it to yourself.
These are just five suggestions. They all may not match your needs, but I am confident that at least one does. If you want to become more proactive, any time you spend looking at the list and wondering where to start is just another form of delay or denial. Pick a place to start, and take action!
Nothing happens until you take action. Taking a proactive approach to life is a key indicator of your future success; and the best way to get on the proactive path is to get started. You can become a pro at taking action.
Remarkable leaders know that they must lead change. Meaning, leadership implies a proactive approach! One proactive way to build your leadership skills is participating in The Remarkable Leadership Learning System
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