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"Too often we go through life never stopping to think about what we are doing or why.  We get up in the morning and go on autopilot and let it take us through the day. We react to what ever comes our way overlooking the many other choices we have available to us. As human beings we are responsible for our own lives. You are what you are today because of the choices you made yesterday."

 

 

 


 

 

 

"Proactive people are more than just positive thinkers.  They face reality and then create a positive, goal-oriented plan of accomplishment.  They carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven and if their value is to produce good quality work it isn't a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not."

 

 

 


 

 

 

"Choice is what makes us uniquely human. We are not machines that have no choice in how we react to situations, nor animals that are programmed by training or instinct.  That is why they are relatively limited and man is unlimited.  If we live like animals, out of our own instinct and conditioning, we too will be limited. Proactivity means that we move from being victims of the situations and circumstances that come our way, to empowered human beings. Between stimulus and response, you have the freedom to choose."

 

 


 

 

"Being proactive may be a new way of thinking for most of us. A lot of the things we do, we do them because they've always been done that way.  In order to reach an ultimate level of effectiveness one must begin by becoming proactive.  In other words, one must have both the initiative and more importantly, the responsibility to create their own successes in their life. The more you exercise your freedom to choose your response/ability, the more proactive and therefore more successful you will become." 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 THE POWER OF PROACTIVITY

 

WHAT'S IN YOUR TOOLBOX? 

 

Think tools are just for carpenters and plumbers? Think again! Whether you're aware of it or not, YOU have a toolbox, too. We each pick up tools that will help us survive as we move through our lives. Often unconsciously, we fill our own personal toolboxes with the tools that help us acquire what we need, build what we want, overcome our obstacles and find our way.

 

Are your tools useful and up-to-date? Do they help you to thrive or to just survive? When was the last time you picked up a new tool? We all know what it's like to attempt a job without the right tools. It's frustrating at best and downright futile at worst.

 

One of the hallmarks of a successful person is a toolbox full of relevant, practical and handy tools. Successful people consciously fill their toolbox with tools that fit the specific job.  POWER TOOLS FOR SUCCESS will help you to consciously fill your personal toolbox full of relevant, practical and handy tools to build the life you want.  The first tool to add to your toolbox is "Proactivity."

 

THE POWER OF PROACTIVITY

 

The story is told of a young couple making dinner. The wife cuts the edges off the ham before she bakes it, and the husband asks, 'Why do that? It seems wasteful.'

 

'I don't know,' she answers, 'it's what my mother always did.'

 

So they ask the mother, 'How come you cut all the ends off the ham before you bake it?'

 

'Because that's the way grandmother always did it,' the mother says.

 

So they ask the grandmother, 'Why did you always cut all the ends off the ham before you baked it?'

 

And the grandmother replies, 'Well, that's the only way I could get it to fit in the pan.'

 

Too often we go through life never stopping to think about what we are doing or why.  We get up in the morning and go on autopilot and let it take us through the day. We react to what ever comes our way overlooking the many other choices we have available to us. As human beings we are responsible for our own lives. You are what you are today because of the choices you made yesterday.

 

PROACTIVE VS. REACTIVE

 

When you lose your temper, experience depression, feel irritable or uneasy, procrastinate, or answer (and/or) act before you think - you're reacting not responding! Reactive individuals are affected by the environment around them. Their decisions and actions are based on the outward circumstances of the moment.

If someone is rude to them, they are rude in return. They let other people decide how they are going to act and worse still, reactive people blame whatever happens to them on someone or something outside of them, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them. It's always the fault of someone or something else.

 

In the syndicated comic strip, FRANK AND ERNEST, two bums are sitting along a wall talking with each other. One says to the other, "Do you believe in fate?" The other replies, "Sure. I'd hate to think I turned out like this because of something I had control over."

 

Reactive people focus on problems and circumstances over which they have no control. For example, if the weather is good, they feel good. If it isn't, they let it affect their attitude and their performance. The result is that these circumstances grow and consume areas over which control could be exercised. Consequently, everything becomes a concern about which nothing can be done. This negative energy is a real distraction as reactive people often lack foresight and get caught unprepared for a situation forcing them into a course of action rather than choosing how to act.

 

Proactive people are value driven, get the most out of the environment, and are able to see and choose their course of action. Being proactive means accepting personal responsibility for your attitudes, thoughts and behaviors - instead of blaming other people, organizations, or circumstances. If you are proactive you have the ability to respond rather than react to circumstances.

 

Proactive people are more than just positive thinkers.  They face reality and then create a positive, goal-oriented plan of accomplishment.  They carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them. They are value driven and if their value is to produce good quality work it isn't a function of whether the weather is conducive to it or not.

 

Stephen Covey, who has "be proactive" as the first of his famous "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", defines proactivity as more than merely taking the initiative, but focuses on "response-ability" - the ability and freedom to choose our response.  Look at the model below, which shows the difference between reactive thinking where a stimulus gives rise to an immediate response, and proactivity where there is sufficient space between the stimulus and the response for a choice of response to be made.

 

REACTIVE

PROACTIVE

 

       

STIMULUS

RESPONSE

             

STIMULUS

  >>>

RESPONSE

           

Choice is what makes us uniquely human. We are not machines that have no choice in how we react to situations, nor animals that are programmed by training or instinct.  That is why they are relatively limited and man is unlimited.  If we live like animals, out of our own instinct and conditioning, we too will be limited. Proactivity means that we move from being victims of the situations and circumstances that come our way, to empowered human beings. Between stimulus and response, you have the freedom to choose.

 

While we are free to choose our actions, the consequences of our actions are governed by natural law. Sometimes we make choices with negative consequences, called mistakes. We can't recall or undo past mistakes. The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. Success is the far side of failure.

 

LANGUAGE

 

Proactive and reactive people use a very different type of language to communicate the reasons for their current state in all life areas.  The reactive person speaks so as to place blame on anything or anyone but themselves.  This individual absolutely believes that they are in fact determined by their external surroundings. "I am not able to choose my response," which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.   Reactive people produce evidence to support these beliefs - leaving them felling victimized and out of control. As long as we focus our attention outside ourselves we empower these things to control us.

 

In contrast, the proactive person speaks with words indicative of their ability to choose their own response to any situation.  A proactive person uses proactive language - I can, I will, I prefer, etc.

 

  Reactive Language                                  Proactive Language

 

There's nothing I can do.                    Let's look at other alternatives.

That's just the way I am.                    I can choose a different approach.

He makes me so mad.                         I control my own feelings.

I can't.                                              I choose.

I must (have to/should).                     I choose.

I'll try.                                             I choose (choose not to).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 For proactive and reactive people alike, it is this freedom to choose that ultimately determine the outcome. One of the most important things you choose is what you say.  

  

ACTION CHALLENGE

 

For one month, make a conscious effort to be proactive - to make conscious choices of your responses to situations, especially those that could easily lead you to become irritated or annoyed. Think to yourself, "I choose", "I prefer", "I will."

 

Listen to your language and to the language of the people around you.  Is your language more proactive or reactive?  How often do you use and hear reactive phrases such as "If only," "I can't," "I have to" or "I should"?  Is your language different between work and home life? Stephen Covey describes proactivity as a habit - think about whether you need to practice the habit!

 

Being proactive may be a new way of thinking for most of us. A lot of the things we do, we do them because they've always been done that way.  In order to reach an ultimate level of effectiveness one must begin by becoming proactive.  In other words, one must have both the initiative and more importantly, the responsibility to create their own successes in their life. The more you exercise your freedom to choose your response/ability, the more proactive and therefore more successful you will become. 

 

 

Pat Kilgannon,  author, coach, workshop leader, and speaker, inspires and supports clients who are committed to improving performance and achieving greater success in their business and personal lives.    Pat can be reached at 215.348.9192 or pat@coaching4success.com  

 

             SUCCESS COACHING                     215.348.9192                    pat@coaching4success.com