Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Being Proactive (Habit 1 of Highly Effective People)

In Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People", I've recently read about being proactive. What is proactivity? Let me start off by saying what it is not. Instead of lumping what society thinks of us upon ourselves by way of saying things like: I was born into an Irish family; so I have a bad temper. Or my parents raised me to be this way? Or if my boss wasn't such a jerk my life would be a lot easier. Proactivity gives you the freedom to choose your response.

This is more than just positive-thinking hub-bub. It's about facing reality, looking at the facts but choosing a positive response. In essence, it means we are responsible for our lives. As Covey puts it, "response-able" - the ability to choose your response.

So what is your response? You can understand they way your are now by watching and listening to your language. Are you saying things like "I can't let go of this issue" instead of "I choose not to let go of this issue". There's more power in the later. For it's ultimately your choice. There's no "I have to do this for blah-blah-blah." It's always a choice.

On the contrary, while you can make your choices you have to accept the consequences. For there's always consequences to each choice. So you have to weigh them against each other when making your choice. If you choose to pursue X relationship what does that mean to Y and vice-versa. You can choose to step into a fast moving train but what you can't choose is what will happen when they train hits you.

Proactive people make love a verb -- something they do, the sacrifices they make, the giving of them self. They realize this is where they can influence most.

Reactive people live in their Circle of Concern instead of their Circle of Influence. As long as you live in the Circle of Concern your are giving control to things outside of you and letting them control you. Subsequently, the power you have to influence diminishes.

Proactive people live in their Circle of Influence, working on things they can do something about. By that very effort their concerns decrease.

To better live in your Circle of Influence your language should include more "be's" instead of "have's". Don't say "I will be happy when I have my boyfriend living with me" Instead what can you influence? I will be patient, be loving, be more caring, be more attentive.

There are two ways you can put ourselves in control. We can make a promise and keep it or set a goal and work to achieve it.


Curtis said...


Steven said...

Looking forward to readiong about the other habits. Thanks for sharing something thought-provoking.

cb said...

I got next to nothing out of the 7 Habits class that I was forced to take by my workplace. Other than the fact the I think Mr. Covey was sorta creepy.

The 7 Habits for us at MY workplace are:

1)Be Overreactive
2)Begin only after you've solved the problem
3)Put yourself first
4)Think Win / Lose
5)First talk loudly, then pretend to listen
6)Sinner Lies
7)Sharpen the Dagger

steve'swhirlyworld said...

WOW to the previous poster...I hope he gets to CHOOSE TO FIND A NEW WORKPLACE...

I taught this class for several years and LOVED IT! The participants were always so into it. I loved seeing people work through their personal mission statements - there were sometimes tears, laughter, and joy...it was a great class.

Good luck with the rest of it!