I’ve recently been reading Stephen Covey‘s book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and I have been really enjoying it. The first principle or habit is all about being proactive. What exactly does that mean?
For a long time, I was reactive. If an event happened, I would react to it. If someone said something, I reacted to it. What does that look like? If someone said something about the way I did something, I would react by being happy, surprised, angry – whatever the emotions the circumstances demanded.
So what is being proactive about? Proactive is not about anticipating situations, because you couldn’t go around anticipating good and bad things. Nor is it about letting others influence us or allowing others to tell us what to do.
Being proactive is about taking charge of our own lives. Not letting others influence us, or upset us, or needing others in our lives to feel better about ourselves. Instead, it is about choosing how to react to the situation. I could chose to react like I used to, or I could be more self aware of what is going on around me, using my conscience to determine whether it fits with my morals or values, and the independent will to act on my own self awareness.
Now I realise it all sounds like a lot of new age stuff, but it isn’t. It is actually based on learning what your own core values are and staying true to them.
And this is the journey I have been on – to learn what my core values are. It has been a very interesting experience, determining what really matters to me. Some of the words I have come up with are:
There is a lot there, and I still have a lot of work to do, the next part is creating my own personal mission statement, but for now, I need to work through the above list and work out which of these are the most important to me.
So what are you’re core values? Are you proactive or reactive?