Dear Why Team member,
Thank you for being a member and for your continued interest in learning, growing and keeping The Why before you. I am grateful to you and these opportunities to create content I hope serves you. Here is wishing you your Best Year yet!
he past two weeks we reviewed
New Year’s Resolutions - why so many have stopped setting them - and providing insights that hopefully will have you restore the tradition or at least be more successful with it.
This week we consider the importance of being PROactive. I put pro in all caps, because the most successful professionals, in all fields of endeavor became so by being a lot more proactive than reactive.
I cannot recall the teacher, mentor or author who awoke me to this truth, but it has greatly served me for many years.
Consider a day where you are mostly “reactive”; you had a plan, but you found yourself having to put out fire after fire. Even that common expression: “I had a fire to put out” implies we had no choice but to stop everything we were doing to fix or tend to an unplanned situation.
I mean it’s a fire right?
Could you have foreseen it had you been more proactive? Maybe.
Or maybe it was more a reactive compulsion born from a lack of self discipline?!
Well, that’s an example of applying a proactive mindset; let’s proactively ask ourselves how many of our fires actually need our immediate reactive attention. I know they “demand” attention; God knows there is no shortage of that which demands our attention, but how many of those demands are actual fires you “need” to put out? What new proactive process could you implement today to help you live and work less reactively tomorrow?
Albert Einstein once said, “we don’t solve our problems with the same thinking that created them”.
No doubt you are aware of the difference between working harder and working smarter; despite there being added power in doing both.
Early in my career, I would often burn out. I would work so hard I would fall into bed every evening exhausted. Fortunately, I began to realize that if I were to become more productive, I had to become more efficient. Burning myself out every few months was not a long term strategy - I often would get physically sick - my compromised immune system opened me up to colds and flus and that certainly wasn’t productive.
One of my first life coaches woke me up to the importance of self-care in order to achieve more and to better care for others.
In the early years of my marriage, I would be so exhausted by Friday night, I had little energy left for my family over the weekend. Fortunately the coaching guidance early-on helped me to stop that pattern. But even that awakening required a proactive meeting with a professional. Remember, it’s hard to see the picture when you’re in the frame.
Few things will suck out your enjoyment of life faster than feeling out of control reacting to every demand that presents itself. The more reactively we work and live, the more we feel our life is out of control. But, reactively analyzing my choices and more proactively thinking about the choices I was going to make, helped me improve my results. For example: better sleep, better diet, exercise, made a ton of sense; when I was working, I became more productive and frankly enjoyed my work all the more since it wasn’t killing me.
Of course every now and then, a real fire will appear - and it will need our immediate attention, as Malcolm Gladwell reminds us: “just because something is outside of awareness doesn’t mean it’s also outside of control” even those stressful moments can find you more capable when you’re living a more proactive life.
Just yesterday I “proactively” turned on the Do Not Disturb on my personal phone - and deleted a couple of social media apps that were contributing to my living more “reactively”.
Ask yourself “why” you leave on the dings and pings? Or even the phone ringer - you can always call them back - on your schedule! How many phone calls are real emergencies?
In this exciting New Year, may the new you be all the more proactive with your life. Put your hands firmly on the wheel and decide where you want to steer your life each and every day.
You are the captain of your ship!
Don’t let others, or circumstances, kick you out of your commander seat.
It is your life - and it will only be more enjoyable, more empowering and more productive, for you and for others, with you proactively at the wheel.
Make it a great week!