REACTIVE VS PROACTIVE: WHO ARE YOU?
You've had a crap day at work because the work load was heavy and your colleague snapped at you because you made a mistake on a report-
You leave work and abandon your plans to hit training
You wake up feeling tired and lethargic from a terrible nights sleep-
You grab for that large muffin and coffee on the way to work
Your driving around the carpark and finally find a park to have it snaked out from underneath you-
You hit your steering wheel with you fist and swear out loud
When we are living in a reactive state: our feelings depend on the result of external events or external processes that we really have no control over. We let these external sources have control over our lives.
This is quite often the default setting for many people- this is not uncommon. What many fail to recognise is the effect that this reactive state has on the quality of our lives, the quality of our mental state which in turn will result in the quality of our output.
Lets look at a scenario of a puppet master controlling the movements of a puppet. The puppet master can control exactly how that puppet it going to move- how it walks, when it lifts up one arm, what it is going to say, what the overall scene will involve.
The puppet master is writing the script for the play. Imagine if you were a puppet and your every move and every word was controlled by your puppet master- your external source. Imagine if you had a brain and could see what was going on but couldn't change it- you would undoubtedly feel frustrated and trapped amongst other things. This is what can happen to us when we let the puppet masters in our lives control us. Allowing them to determine our emotions which directly affect our results or productivity in different areas of our lives.
Guess what?! The awesome thing is that we can take control and turn our limp reliant puppet into a independent thinking robot capable of making capable decisions based on positive hardwiring into the framework of the model.
We can choose how to engineer ourselves to be able to deal with different situations. Pretty cool right!
“When the weather is good, reactive people feel good. Proactive people carry their own weather- Steven Covey”
As much as it may be a hard pill to swallow sometimes- we choose to be owned by influences in life, both good and bad. We choose to be owned by different experiences. We choose to be happy, excited, grateful, thankful. We also choose to be unhappy, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed.
We chose what habits we create in our lives and those habits most definitely include how we deal with different situations as they arise.
What is a Proactive state?
To be proactive- to only concern ourselves with things that are inside our sphere of influence. Instead of worrying about things that we simply can't do anything about we look to focus on what we can control. This includes how we react in situations that we can't control. We may not be able to determine the control of others but we most certainly can control the actions of ourselves.
As shitty as a situation may be- its time to stop shifting the blame and take responsibility.
But how do I take responsibility for something that I have no control over?
Its time to take responsibility for the things you can control- you and your emotions. Although it may be hard to accept any responsibility in a situation where a colleague may have treated you like crap- you can take responsibility for the way you respond. Remember that. You can engineer how you react. Will you let it get you down or will you tap into your engineering and deal with the situation in a positive way?
The first hurdle is accepting responsibility. Naturally our reaction is to do the opposite. Shift the blame somehow. Naturally we begin to argue why we cant control it and head down that tunnel. If we can argue that we can't control it then we can most certainly argue that we can control it right?!
How will you choose to show up today?
How will you choose to show up to each and every situation?
Your colleague didn't complete her share of the team task that had a huge impact on the result for everyone.
Instead of blaming and pointing fingers- look to ask yourself what you could have done better to potentially help her.
You have a friend who no matter what you do always seems to be negative and complaining about everything.
You can't control exactly how she is acting or behaving but instead you can focus on building your strengths and what you can bring to the relationship that may help her
Ask yourself daily,
How am I going to show up today?
I want you to consider the following two people- we all know at least one of each in our lives.
The person that you know that always, without a doubt shows up majority of the time with a shit attitude. The person that is quick to respond with a negative response, the person that in light of what may be a positive situation still manages to bring a grey cloud to a bright day. She is never fully truly happy. She always has something bad to say. She is never making progress in her career, or in her training, or with her eating or with her relationships. Do you want to be this person?
On the flip side-
The person that others get drawn to. An energy, a vibe that is contagious. She takes responsibility for things in her life, she takes control of situations and takes action. She is always positive and willing to help others. No matter what is going on her life, she will always show up and give the best attitude that she can for that day. She sets goals and achieves them. She is continually learning and growing. Who doesn't want to be this person?! You'd be crazy to say no!
Who do you want to be? How do you want to be remembered?
So how do you go about changing your state from reactive to proactive?
1. Own it- catch yourself when you are slipping into reactive patterns. Analyse situations throughout your week and look to recognise the different behaviours you displayed.
2. How do you speak to others and yourself?
Do your sentences often start with “I can't” “I won't” OR or do they start with “I can” and “I will”
Remember that no matter what situations you face- you can always take responsibility in some shape.
3. Relive the experiences- in the hustle and bustle of everyday life we can often overlook experiences that can be very valuable for personal growth. We can often push them aside and move onto the next task. Stop, think and reflect. How can you do better here? Taking the time to stop and think may be the difference between how you react to many more similar situations in the future.
Living life through the lens of a reactive state can lead you to make decisions that offer you no benefit for your own goals. Allowing yourself to be easily influenced by the actions or other and situations you have no control over can be the reason why you don't make progress in your own goals.
You have the ability to set goals- achieve them and then do it all again. Its how you deal with outside influences that will determine the success in which you achieve.