The proactive people are who anticipates the events that are about to happen and is ready with both a response and a plan to deal with the outcome. Instead of shifting the blame elsewhere, the person can begin to carry the responsibility. The person stop thinking that the external circumstances need to change, and realize that person can instead alter themselves internally. The proactive approach is one that deals with things from the inside-out perspective.
When we compare with reactive people, they are who waits for things to happen (not necessarily on purpose) and then reacts to the situation that results. The person is always a little behind as it takes him/her time to assess the event and come to a conclusion about how to behave with regard to it. This is an outside-in approach.
Mapping from Stephen Covey famous book’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, the First Habit – “Be Proactive” tells Proactive people focus their efforts on their Circle of Influence; Reactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Concern.
Covey tells us that in life our Circle of Influence is most often smaller than the Circle of Concern. We can’t control the economy or a company merger. As we react, we tend to focus on the Circle of Concern, which depletes our energy, because we have no control over it. The energy focused on the Circle of Concern is negative. If we focus on the Circle of Concern and neglect the Circle of Influence, eventually the Circle of Influence will get smaller. This will add to feelings of stress and helplessness, because we cannot change anything in the Circle of Concern.
Proactive people can carry their own weather with them. Whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them…means they not affected by their physical environment.
At the very heart of our Circle of Influence is our ability to make and keep commitments and promises. The commitments we make to ourselves and to others, and our integrity to those commitments is the essence and clearest manifestation of our proactivity !!. In simple words, we make a promise…we keep it.
The Proactivity Model is based on a fundamental principle that between stimulus and response, or what happens to us and how we react to it, person has the freedom to choose. We have the opportunity to use our free will and hard work to change our-self and our circumstances. We have the freedom to choose our reaction to any situation, regardless of the condition, conditioning, circumstance.
There are four basic human endowments that give people the freedom to choose how they react to any given situation or circumstance:
- Self-awareness: knowing who they are, they are aware of their self limitations, strengths
- Imagination: the ability to create what is beyond their current conditions
- Conscience: Values, a deep inner awareness of right and wrong; values that govern human behavior (morals)
- Independent will: the ability to act and respond to a situation without external influence such as a bad conditions
Finally we need to be mindful of our own energy and aware of its impact to others. If we look around us, we will notice that the best leaders tend to be more upbeat.