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How to be More Proactive At Work

How To Be More Proactive At Work

Personal Development Training: Be More Proactive

You can put people into one of three different classes:

  1. Those people who are proactive.
  2. Those people who are reactive.
  3. Those people who are passive.

Being more proactive is the best option

People who are proactive tend to achieve more, tend to be happier and tend to be more respected than those people who are either reactive or passive.

Therefore, whether you choose to be proactive, reactive or passive, it will shape the outcome and condition of your whole life.

What is meant by being proactive?

Being proactive means, "deciding to act on your own volition".

It means not waiting to be told what to do by someone else.
And it means NOT waiting until circumstances have become so bad that you are forced to act, in order to avoid a catastrophe.

Being proactive means you are the source of your own motivation, and this motivation is emanating from your own thought process.

Your motivation is emanating from the combined effect of having taken three mental steps:

  1. You have decided to make your situation better.
  2. You believe that you are capable of making it better.
  3. You have figured out how you think you can make it better.

Now that your brain has taken these three steps, it feels compelled, it feels motivated, it feels inspired to swing into action.

Now you are acting under your own volition; you are not waiting for anyone else. You have become the master of your own destiny.

Compare that state of mind, to its two contradictory states.

These are:

  1. Being reactive.
  2. Being passive.

Let us look at each one.

Being reactive

This means that you don't do anything unless you are told to do it by someone else, or that you don't do anything until there is an immediate crisis.

You can see that both these states of mind are inferior to the proactive mind.

Re-active Roger

If Roger is too reactive, he is by definition, subordinating his mind to the mind of others. We understand that there are conditions when one must subordinate one's own opinion to the opinion of others, (for example, if you are on an aeroplane, you must subordinate your own opinion to the will of the flight crew). But, if Roger were to routinely, as a matter of mental habit, subordinate his own will, to the will of others, then he would lose all his personal power.

Being reactive could also mean that you don't act until you are forced to react to a situation that has now become critical.

The re-active driver drives as if nothing could possibly go wrong.

  • He speeds down the motorway at 96 mph and he just assumes that nothing will go wrong.
  • In the event things do go wrong, then he re-acts.
  • He is a reactive driver.
  • He reacts to situations as they appear.
  • He does not try to anticipate.
  • He does not try to predict what is likely to happen.
  • A reactive driver is driving on his wits: Instead of driving on his intellect.

Being a reactive driver is more dangerous because, by the time the emergency situation is perceived by the reactive driver, it is already too late to rectify it.

Problems can appear very quickly

Problems may take an age to develop, but they often appear very quickly.

A volcanic eruption may take 200 years to develop sufficient internal pressure to explode, but when the volcano does eventually explode, it can do so in an instant.

So by the time a problem appears, it may already be too late to REACT effectively to it.

Problems are best solved by proactive people

Problems are best solved by proactive people, who anticipate the problems and solve them, by acting before the situation has time to develop into a full blown crisis.

If only Re-Active Roger had been less reactive and more proactive, then the crisis situation could have been averted, before it even had the chance to materialise.

Even though the reactive mind is not very good, the passive mind is even worse.

The passive mind

The passive mind is the exact opposite of the proactive mind.

A passive mind is the worst of the three options.

Passive-Minded Pete

Compared to the proactive mind, Passive-Minded Pete has made three opposite decisions.

  1. The passive mind has decided that it is impossible to make the situation better. (Passive minded people tend to be fatalistic. They say things like, "If it's meant to be, it will happen anyway, whatever I try to do.)
  2. The passive minded people don't believe in themselves or their ability to make a difference. (Again, based on a belief in fatalism, or the idea that they are personally powerless).
  3. They have no plan. (What would be the point of planning, if you tended towards fatalism? Since things will happen anyway, Passive Pete thinks, any plan he makes won't make a lot of difference. So, why bother planning?)

Now that Passive Pete's brain has taken these three steps, he feels defeated, demotivated, and dis-inspired to take any action.

Passive Pete has lost his sense of Personal Power. He does not think that he is the Master of his own destiny, and as a consequence, he does nothing to make things better.

But if Pete does nothing to make things better, not many good things happen to Pete, and he has no reason to suppose that they ever will. So Poor Pete has nothing to be optimistic about. He has nothing to be hopeful about. Thus, he slips into a mildly depressed state, hoping that one day, he might win the lottery. How sad.

Don't be a Passive Pete, instead...

How To Develop a Pro-Active Mind

In order to develop a Pro-active Mind, take the following steps.

  • Decide exactly what you want.
  • Decide that you will develop the skills necessary to achieve the goals.
  • Decide what steps you have to take to kick start some progress towards the goal.
  • Don't wait for the timing to be just right.
  • Don't wait for others to give you their blessings.
  • Don't listen to people who tell you that you won't be able to do it.
  • Don't wait for Fate.
  • Don't wait for your luck to change.
  • Instead, make your own luck.

Become a Proactive Individual

There are some people that brew their own beer.

Instead of brewing your own beer, be one of those people who brew their own good fortune.

The proactive mind wins.

Make the impossible, possible.

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About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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