(part 2 of 3)
Are you still with me? Good. Because there is so much more I want to share with you.
Since each post, and each skill, builds on one another, I want you to start at the beginning.
Before we dive head first into our second leadership skill, let’s do a small recap of last week’s skill: ownership.
Ownership means taking responsibility for your life.
It means taking a step back and looking at the current state of your life.
It means owning the decisions you’ve made along the way and owning where they have led you.
This first step is very important. If you don’t acknowledge the current state of your life, if you don’t take responsibility for the decisions you’ve taken, if you continue to hide behind excuses, you will never be able to move forward.
You will never create the life you crave. You will never be sitting in the driver seat of your life. Your excuses will. Your excuses will lead your life. Not you.
And you don’t want that yourself. I don’t want that for you.
You are a gifted, talented, unique individual and you need to share your uniqueness with the world. But you can’t do that if you’re stuck behind excuses. Hiding from reality.
By coming face to face with your reality, what you’re really saying is that those excuses no longer have a hold on you. You are the master of your own life. You choose the direction your life takes. YOU do that. YOU.
Now that you’ve mustered the courage to own your life, let’s move on to the next leadership skill: PROACTIVITY.
What is proactivity?
According to the Cambridge dictionary, being proactive means “taking action by causing change and not only reacting to change when it happens”.
Basically it means to act, before you are acted upon.
Being proactive is also the opposite of being reactive.
When you are reactive, you are letting circumstances impose on you while you simply react to them. If you are reactive, you are prone to be controlled by your social, economical, emotional and physical environment.
There is very little control to be had when you are acting from a place of reaction.
When you are in a reactive state, you are handing over the leadership reins of your life. You are no longer in the driver seat.
Often times our fear of failure, defeat and ridicule is what tips us over to the reactive side.
And the only way to get out of that state, is by flexing our proactivity muscles.
Luckily, we humans are proactive by nature but your proactivity muscle may be dormant.
If that is the case, it is important to start with small step. And with each successful step, your proactivity muscle grows in strength and size. Eventually, being proactive is how you will lead your everyday life.
The first step to strengthen your proactivity muscle is by making and keeping a commitment to yourself.
Remember all those goals you’ve set but never reached, those promises you made but never kept… Well those have greatly weakened your proactivity muscle. Those unkept commitments to yourself, or to others, have taken you from the offensive line (proactivity) to the defensive line (reactivity).
To get you back on the offensive line, you need to start making and keeping commitments to yourself and to others.
I can’t stress enough the importance of this.
Making and keeping a commitment to yourself will necessarily require you to take some sort of action to get things going and start producing results. These initial actions are the foundation of your proactivity.
Initially, you need to choose the commitments you make to yourself or to someone else, carefully.
You need to make sure they are attainable. Success here is paramount. It is with each small victory (kept commitments) that your muscle will grow and strengthen.
The commitment should be daring enough that it puts you slightly out of your comfort zone but still within your range of action.
Let’s take loosing weight for example. It’s something most of us have committed to at some point in our lives.
Say you need to lose 20 pounds.
It would be unrealistic if your commitment included daily gym sessions and a vastly reduced caloric intake if you have a sedentary lifestyle, never stepped foot in a gym and are a known epicurean.
Setting realistic goals is crucial to keeping your commitment to yourself.
So instead of committing to loosing 20 pounds, commit to loosing 10. It’s lofty enough to be proud of but not so intimidating that you may feel like giving up before starting.
Then instead of committing to daily gym sessions, commit to walking everyday for 30 minutes. And instead of drastically cutting calories, commit to eliminating soft drinks and weeknight deserts.
These steps may not seem like much but every small step you take, every commitment you keep to yourself, strengthens your proactivity muscle.
Soon enough (and this is the end goal) you’ll realize you’re able to take on bigger commitments and easily follow through.
Making and keeping a commitment to yourself or to others will become second nature.
Proactivity will become your way of doing and being.
This example was about weight loss but it could apply to anything else: if your relationship is in a rut, commit to doing one nice thing for your partner everyday (leave a cute post-it note in their lunch bag, prepare their favourite meal, fold the laundry even though it’s not your task…); if a new interesting position opens up at work but requires qualifications you don’t have, commit to researching and getting the necessary qualifications through courses or online training; if you sense dissatisfaction from a supervisor at work, don’t play the victim and blame the supervisor, commit to finding a solution and working towards improving what may be lacking.
Proactivity is about taking action.
If you find you’re lacking the courage to take action in your life, here’s a mantra you can repeat each morning, before stepping out of bed.
While you are still in bed, keep your eyes closed and place the palms of your hands over your heart.
Take 5 deep breaths in through the nose and out through the mouth.
Feel the air coming in and out of your lungs.
Then allow your breathing to go back to normal.
Repeat the following mantra 5 times slowly in your head then 5 times out loud (if you can’t say it out loud for whatever reason, repeat it another 5 times in your head).
“I have the strength within me to take action in my life.
I am acting from a place of love and courage.”
As always, I love hearing from you so once you’ve done this practice or made your first commitment, drop me a line in the comment section or send me and email HERE.
P.S. If you’re looking for additional leadership training, sign-up for my FREE leadership coaching HERE or click the button below.