A proactive mindset is a person’s ability to anticipate events so that he/she can take control of a situation and prepare for the situation ahead of time. You may think it as how people are hoarding toilet paper when Singapore DORSCON level raise to orange. These people are anticipating in the events of a lockdown state.
While we are not in a lockdown state, the government has announced a “circuit breaker” mode whereby all non-essential services or organizations are required to stop working or work from home. Working from home may be not as productive as working from the office. But, how can you make the most of it?
Do you take the passive role and just wait for incoming emails and reply to them? Or do you think in terms of the present and look to the future, anticipating outcomes and preparing for the rebound? I hope you do the latter.
Why Should We Think Proactively?
Many professionals are struggling with developing a proactive mindset despite the benefits that it can bring. Since problems of the future aren’t affecting their lives at the current moment, many professionals don’t feel the need to put forth effort to avoid or prepare for them.
Arguably, all successful entrepreneurs and professionals process and utilize the ability to proactively think. As market conditions change, and modern ideas grow old, entrepreneurs and professionals need to stay ahead of the game, to be successful.
People who developed proactive thinking control situations by causing things to happen rather than waiting to respond after things happen. People who are proactive don’t sit around waiting for answers to appear; they stand up, put one foot in front of the other, and find the answers. They don’t wait for someone to hand them an instruction manual and a box of tools; they’re resourceful.
Proactive people are constantly moving forward, looking to the future, and making things happen. They’re actively engaged, not passively observing. Being proactive is a way of thinking and acting.
As the saying goes, “Winners” anticipate and act, “losers” wait and react.
So, are you being proactive or reactive in the workplace?
Here are the 5 areas that you can focus on to help you shift toward being more proactive (and thereby successful!):
1. Focus More on The Future
Proactive people plan for the future. There is a reason that the rear view mirror is smaller than the windshield: it’s more important to know what lies ahead. While the rear view mirror may present what’s in the back (past/ historical data) that is useful to make predictions, but it can also constrain our thinking to what we already know. Therefore, in order to make the best decision, you have to know where you came from, where you are, and where you want to end up.
2. Take Personal Responsibility for Your Success
In an age when everyone has to have a “sponsor” to help their career, it can become easy to allow yourself to take a personal back seat with your career or business. Make sure you always focus more on what you can do to be successful than on what others can do for you.
3. Think Big Picture and Through Scenarios
It’s important to consider your ultimate goals. There will always be little things to worry about, but don’t get so lost in the minutia that you lose track of what you are really trying to accomplish.
Focus on likely scenarios and create a plan. Plans can certainly change, but considering the most likely scenarios in advance will increase your chances of being prepared and remaining a step ahead of your competition.
4. Focus on What You Can Control
Just like the COVID-19 pandemic as an example, focus on what you can control. When you do this, you will have more time to think ahead. You can’t control the circuit breaker situation as it is imposed by the government, but you can think and plan ahead on how to rebound once the economy recovers. In addition, ruminating excessively about factors outside of your control will cause stress and harm your wellbeing.
5. Prioritize and Make Things Happen
Being proactive means taking timely, effective action.
Technically, you can’t do everything, and if you try you will become reactive–bouncing from one item to the next. You need to prioritize your work and focus on completing it before moving to another task. You must be decisive and willing to do the work NOW.
Take ownership of your performance and hold yourself accountable. Don’t sit on the sideline and wait to see what happens. Stand behind your decisions. Being proactive means you have taken careful, thoughtful steps to choose the appropriate path; you’re not just reacting impulsively to your environment.