What does it mean to be reactive vs. proactive?
Reactive means you are reacting to problems or situations as they arise. I call it putting out fires! Sometimes you have to go into reactive mode, but it’s not where you want to stay all the time.
Proactive means you look and see what problems can be eliminated before they happen and what strategies can be put in place ahead of time.
Working in reactive mode can be draining to not only yourself, but also your team. When you think about being reactive, what images come to mind? Stressful situations, overwhelmed, steam coming out of your ears!
Now, alternatively, what images do you think of when you think of proactive? Calm, happy, at ease, grace under stress. If something does come up that requires you to be reactive, you can handle it! You got this!
Reactive vs. proactive can take many forms. It could be how you respond to stimuli in your life. It could be how you approach your business and workstyle.
In the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, being proactive is actually Habit Number 1! He says, “Between the stimulus and response is your greatest power – you have the freedom to choose your response.”
Proactive people take control. They are always looking to the future and moving forward. They make things happen.
Here are 5 tips on being proactive:
- Plan ahead. While most of us have good intentions, sometimes we think we have more time than we actually do. We wait too long before we start planning and then we’re rushed and can’t properly think through everything. If you’re doing a launch, don’t wait until the last minute to start planning it.
- Create processes and procedures. By creating these, you and your team know what and how things happen. They’re not guessing – and sometimes missing! Read this blog post for more information on creating your procedures. As you continue to use these, always be re-evaluating them.
- Hire the right team members. It’s impossible for one person to be able to do it all. Make sure you hire the right people to who can not only support you with tasks, but also help be your brain and help think through and plan out possibilities.
- Have regular meetings. It’s important to communicate and have regular meetings with your team members. This ensures everyone is on the same page and knows what’s happening.
- Anticipate problems and challenges. You know Murphy’s Law…anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. Think about what could possibly go wrong and then take it a step further and figure out how to prevent it.
What are some ways you stay proactive? Share with me below.