Be Proactive is the first of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of highly effective people.
Have you ever heard that money loves speed?
Or that the early bird catches the worm?
These are both examples of proactivity in action.
Whilst being the first to market isn’t necessarily the most successful – why I will be sharing this post on Facebook rather than Myspace – the ability to change and adapt fast (which MySpace didn’t) will ensure you continue to do well.
Proactivity is without a doubt the most important of the seven habits and if you want to take one lesson from this post it is that to be successful in anything you have to be proactive – even winning the lottery starts with buying the lottery ticket!
In many ways it is all about seizing the day, which is a concept immortalised for me in Robin Williams’ fantastic portrayal of Mr Keating in Dead Poets Society.
However according to Covey being proactive is about much more than just taking initiative.
It is about taking responsibility for ourselves. Only we can make things happen… Its not about our circumstances causing problems in our lives, its about our proactivity creating great circumstances in our lives.
Covey suggests that we need to look at where we spend our time and our energy… and look most at those things we can do something about. These are those things which are in our circle of influence.
To succeed in becoming proactive we need to be working inside that circle.
So to become more proactive we need to start making promises that we actually keep…
So it is no good like I did for many years saying I will start exercising tomorrow, or I will stop smoking tomorrow and then not doing anything about it. If you do you will end up having a photograph like this one, that my wonderful brother decided to publish on the internet – which I would much rather have burnt and hidden from sight forever:
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And somehow I managed to persuade myself I wasn’t really that fat and it took another 3 years before I started doing something about it… I am still 16 months into my fitness journey not there yet, but I am committed to it and I am proactive in achieving those fitness goals by doing some form of exercise 7 days a week.
Now this blog post is being written as part of a 31 day challenge to write and run every day for the 31 days of January – but the real reason I am taking part in the challenge at all is because I want to blog more often and by entering this challenge I am making a promise… and it is one that I will be keeping!
This commitment to creating more content will in theory at least lead to better writing.
The better writing will lead to more content which should lead to more readership, which should lead to more income opportunities.
So the simple habit of proactively writing a daily blog post for 31 days should have as dramatic an improvement on my work life as the commitment I made in September of 2013 to run for 60 seconds and walk for 90 seconds 8 times has had on my physical fitness.
Indeed I am now the fittest I have been for 21 years and by the end of this year I suspect I will be the fittest I have ever been.
Proactivity in action!In tomorrows blog post I will take a look at the next two of Covey’s habits: Starting with the end in mind and Putting first things first… This should help ensure that I get a long way to finally mastering Covey’s seven habits this year – incidentally I first read it back in 1989 when it first came out…. but I wasn’t as proactive as I should have been in taking the lessons to heart.
“If you haven’t been exercising, your body will undoubtedly protest this change in its comfortable downhill direction. You won’t like it at first. You may even hate it. But be proactive. Do it anyway. Even if it’s raining on the morning you have scheduled to jog, do it anyway. ‘Oh Good! It’s raining! I get to develop my willpower as well as my body!”
What do you think? How are you proactive? Let me know in the comments!