“Life just happens.” These are the infamous words of the mass majority of people in the world. All religious beliefs aside, it seems as if most people think that life has a mind of its own and that it is certainly out to get us. This causes many people to default to a reactive personality. They go through the motions of life and wait for things to happen. Then they react.
It isn’t until people have, what some might say, ‘a blonde moment,’ when they finally realize that they could have been proactive all along. Sometimes, it takes people days or maybe weeks to have this epiphany, yet others take years and sometimes almost their whole lives.
Breaking the Cycle
So how can we intentionally be strategic in our lives to have a sense of urgency and passion rather than a lack of motivation?
Seeming how the title kind of fits the pun, let’s take ‘Proactiv Skin Care’ for example. If it were up to me, the product would be called ‘Reactive Skin Care,’ due to the amount of people that do not use the product until they finally realize that their face looks like a mixture between the Grand Canyon and the moon. This is the same mindset/behavior pattern that we, as entrepreneurs and human beings in general, need to avoid.
Part of breaking the reactive cycle in our lives is by simplification. Humans tend to think that our lives are more important or significant when we are extremely busy and running around all of the time. We take simple matters and make it difficult to achieve a sense of accomplishment and self gratification. When things ‘fail,’ we blame the fact that we didn’t have enough time or resources to accomplish a task rather than learning from our mistakes and being proactive in changing our behavioral patterns.
Most life and business matters can be simplified down into 3 steps that will constantly keep us from being reactive and encourage us to be proactive:
1. Researching, developing, learning (Revelation) – We are constantly looking for new ideas and innovations in our businesses and in our lives in general. However, contrary to popular belief, this is a process that should never cease. You shouldn’t reach a point where you are not searching for new innovations, ideas, and strategies for your business and your life.
2. Utilizing, applying, testing (Incubation) – This is the step where you take your ‘revelations’ and apply them to your life. This can sometimes be a scary step, but if you can’t easily replicate your ideas into real life situations, you will never fully reap the benefits of being proactive. (This could be applying a new business idea, marketing campaign, sales growth strategy, or even a huge milestone in your personal life like deciding on schooling or career opportunities.)
3. Reaping, harvesting, sharing (Manifestation) – The final step is the longest step. When you are implementing new revelations and letting them incubate in your business and in your life, there comes a time when you will reap the benefits. Sometimes they are good and other times they are bad. The point is that you actually make it to step three. This is a learning process; or as we like to call it in our office, ‘split-testing’ (inside joke.) You scratch the ideas that don’t work and you replicate and share the ones that do.
Side-note: Sharing is important (I always knew Barney was a smart dude.) I realize some ideas may be personal or business sensitive; however, sharing your innovations and ideas may actually be the biggest step in developing them. If you are like me, then you probably surround yourself with like-minded people. Therefore, when I come up with new ideas, I share them and allow others strengths to enhance the idea. This is a huge part of being proactive.
The Flower and the Tree
I have always been amazed at the process of a flower blooming. In the matter of hours, a flower can go from being completely closed to a beautifully sprawled creation.
This is similar to our mindsets when we are developing strategies in our life.
We want to see immediate results and we tend to get frustrated when we don’t see them. Imagine if your strategies in life were like a wild flower. They would bloom in hours, yet, when the first hard wind blew, cold drift passed, or drought happened, it would die just as fast as it bloomed.
Our growth strategies in life and in business need to be more like a tree, who’s roots have developed over many years and can withstand any season of the year and most happenings by mother nature.
The Big Scoop
My point in this article isn’t to scare you from taking growth steps in life. On the contrary, I encourage you to take many leaps of faith in your business and in your life.
When I first had a dream and a vision to launch a media company that provided music education, design services, and entrepreneurial resources, I already had a stable job. At the age of 19 I was making nearly $40K a year working in a financial institute. I knew I could easily climb the corporate ladder and forever be ‘successful’ in my so called career. I also knew that I was extremely discontent with the thought of never accomplishing my full potential through pursuing my dreams.
So, after months of planning and strategizing my new venture (as talked about in Step 1,) I came to the scary part (as talked about in Step 2.) I realized that if I waited for the absolute perfect moment to launch my own business, the time would never come. That’s when I decided to take the leap of faith and I left my job to venture into the world of small business. 9 months later, I’m working with 3 other entrepreneurs, 3 interns, and I absolutely love my job.
Had I chosen to live a reactive life, the thought of pursuing my dreams wouldn’t have crossed my mind. In the end, it is ultimately your choice on how you proactively chase your dreams. The only time you should react, is when you are reacting to the unbelievable results you have reaped from being proactive.