Can You Change from Being Reactive to Proactive?

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.  ~Stephen Covey

If you aren’t sure if you are proactive or reactive, think about this quote for a minute.  Covey goes on to say that our behavior is determined by three main factors, and unfortunately, they start to look like a “Pavlov reaction” soon enough.

  • Genes: Did you inherit this character from your family?
  • Nurture: You got your character and ideas from how your parents brought you up.
  • Environment: The people and places around you are starting to influence your behavior.

So now that we have determined the basis for being proactive and reactive, it is likely you just decided that you might be just a wee bit reactive.

I don’t mind joking on myself to make a great point, and you can probably see this coming, but I was raised by very reactive people.  It makes for funny stories, it really does, but it makes it difficult to break out of such a cycle.  Here is where it is necessary to start though.   It is time to take off the gauntlets, and start learning your own set of skills for enacting change in your life.  After all…it is YOUR life. 

At some point in your life, it is likely that you have gotten drawn into the “I am going to have the last word” argument.  If you are someone who usually loves to have the last word, then this part will be difficult for you, but you have to try.  What can you do when every form of logic they are speaking just makes no sense, but they keep talking anyway???  <<< try not to flip out.

Here are a few tips for this situation.

  • They really just want you to come back and argue more in this situation…and nothing you say will actually change their mind.
  • Try this “I am not interested in having this debate with you…so I am going to do something more productive with my time.”
  • Stay silent and just look at them.  How often has this worked for you?  The key to your empowerment is to actually NOT have the last word…thus sending the message that there really is nothing to discuss.

When we are in the reactive state of mind, they control our reactions.  I repeat.  They are in control and usually know this by continuing to bait you. 

Here’s another one for you to think about.  You are at work and that co-worker who plucks your last nerve is spouting off at the meeting, the copy room or the lunch area.  You are minding your own business until they insert something that they claimed they did, but it was your idea first.  It could even be that PTA lady at your kid’s school, but it doesn’t matter.  They are being loud in order to get reactions from people.  They want praise and encouragement to continue this line of thinking.  How are you going to handle this?

  • Look them straight in the eye and congratulate them.  This is one way to handle it, but keep it simple.  Nothing more.
  • You have the choice to explore a different route now…and make your original idea much better.  After going down this route, then present it to your boss.  There’s nothing wrong with waiting until you have tweaked it.
  • Enlist in the support of others if you want to make a bigger impact with your idea.  If you really want to get over this person trying to control the situation, you could even ask them to help you with how to execute this plan.  It’s all in how you phrase it.

As we learn not to be reactive, and turn more towards the proactive way of thinking, we learn not to be stuck in this victim mentality that so many people are using each and everyday.  These reactive people exhibit the following signs.

Signs of reactive thinking:

  1. Failure to accept any responsibility.  It is always someone’s fault…except for theirs.
  2. Everyone in the nearest vicinity is at fault.  Blame never gets caught in their own two hands.  It’s like the game of hot potato…and they throw that thing away before you can see it stopped on them.
  3. They rationalize their destructive habits.
  4. They focus only on the problems...never wanting to move to a solution.
  5. They might live in the past or the “what if” land.  What if things had been different??  But they aren’t.  So here you have it.

Signs of proactive thinking:

  1. The buck stops hereIt is your responsibility to get things done.
  2. You are accountable.  Your goals are clearly defined and you know what you need to do in order to reach them.
  3. You have good problem solving skills or seek out others who can help you create the skills you need in order to accomplish the change you want to see in your life.  It does not have to be business related, it can be completely personal goals.  For example: losing weight.  You have been struggling, so you seek out ways to make it happen with a plan.
  4. They are consistent.  Slow and steady really does work for keeping your eye on the change you want to create in your life.
  5. They aren’t worried about reaching out to the right people in order to succeed.  I have been running a closed group of motivated people from all over the world.  On days we need to remember that our goal is mastering our thoughts, we put in the work, ask the questions in the group, and start back at our monthly goals.  We have surrounded ourselves with like minds in order to really focus on creating this lasting change for ourselves.

In the end, being honest with yourself is best.  If you think it is time to do the work on the inside in order to get results on the outside, we would love to have you in our group.  Being reactive throughout life didn’t really yield any personal satisfaction when I was in my worst pain.  However taking control of those thoughts, and taking control of my Head|Heart|Health, has given me an entirely new outlook on life.

I went from pain of hardly being able to move, to completing 200 hours of Vinyasa yoga teacher training.  I then continued on to get certified in yoga for pain and arthritis.  I left a job that was taking a toll on my health and I learned how to heal myself naturally, and then continued on to get sports nutrition certification.  I started counseling others how to do the same and this year, was proud to announce the new online catalog that includes different options to really take back control of your life.

Brand Yourself…

The quote “Better to bend than to break.” has been attributed to many different authors.  Social Media is a lot like that.  If you don’t believe me, look at how I seemingly lost 1,000 fans the other night, but I keep on going.  What appears to have happened is this…I checked my FB fan page admin stats right as they were apparently rolling out the “Call to Action” button on my page that I have been waiting on.  So I got the button…but somehow a glitch lost me a few fans.  Since I really wanted this button and sometimes get in on a few beta testing opportunities, I don’t mind because it sends the fans over here to sign up for the blog.  On my Vitalize You page, I was given the button even earlier and I set it up as a direct shopping cart for those of you who want to know what products I am using.  See the tab Vitalize You up top here for more.

Next, I am in this beta testing group for Pinterest ads and promoting your pins.  Now when Pinterest first started, way back when, I was a newbie and I made all my own pins from scratch.  I created what I wanted the look of my boards to be at first and didn’t re-pin.  I know, it sounds like I didn’t get it, but I actually wanted my own content to be the foundation of my boards.  I wanted to see what happened.  I remember my first “Geek” board as no one else seemed to have thought of that and my geeky pins were getting really popular.  Next, my inspiring words board still to this day has my most popular viral pin ever and gets pinned all the time.  Finally, I found out people like smoothies…particularly this one I found and wanted to try as “paleo”.  So what it taught me were that there were a few or 10,000 or so people out there like me.

Recently I began doing a lot of research for a company that had not yet hired me.  I like to know who I am going to be working with and what help they might need.  They needed quite a bit of help in the social media department and I had some good ideas, but I don’t think they really understood the value of what social media can do for their business.  I looked deeply at their Twitter, FB fan page, and website and everything was erm old.  Stale.  The links took me to last year’s events.  The FB page actually had some ummm bad spam that I reported to the “FB police”.  And Twitter was vastly, vastly underutilized.  I Googled them.  I spent lots of time studying ways they needed to move forward.  They needed a total social media plan and package.  As I sat shivering through an interview that was nearing 2.5 hours, I could tell they did not quite see the value of spending time interacting with your “fans” on social media.  The story you pitch to others is not just a way to make money, get donors, or help your business grow.  It is in fact, part of who you are.  If we can’t connect to you, as an individual person, if we think you just want our money, then you have, quite simply, lost us.

So when we were nearing the end of this process, I was listening to one of the directors speak about not changing the name, which I strongly agreed with because that’s the “brand” people associate you with…but then she went in another direction about the color.  She didn’t want to be associated with a certain color and I was told to notice that they didn’t have it everywhere.  The problem is, the color is everywhere on the marketing materials…and their page…and their website.  In fact, this color evokes such strong feelings of support that it could actually be part of their current success without her realizing it.

So I didn’t quite understand, and happened to have a few brochures that used this color from her business, and that’s when I knew I definitely lost them…as much as they lost me.  I was no longer interested in this job at all.  Because you see, it was the color pink.  This color represents compassion, nurturing and love. It relates to unconditional love and understanding, and the giving and receiving of nurturing…which in fact happens when you are supporting others who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.  They had even cleverly used the pink ribbon in their materials…and merchandise.  So clearly I didn’t see their vision if this color was something that they really didn’t want to be associated with.  So trust me when I say brand yourself and tell your story.

right_people

Irritations…

I don’t know when it became acceptable for others to simply do whatever they feel like doing at any given time, speak to you however they feel or act however they want.  Today’s society drains me as there seems to be no common courtesy in the world anymore.  Yesterday I went to my local health food store.  Unfortunately, I said I wasn’t going in there ever again after something happened the last time I visited.  I spent about 6 months personally boycotting the store.  Seriously.

Until I needed some things that no one else sells.  So I made my trip up there hoping I was going to see him…the cause for irritation.  I made it into the store and poof, he magically appeared.  Throwing a comment over his shoulder as he walked by me, can I help you find anything, as he kept walking away from me.  Yes, actually you can.  I need coconut butter.  Using a simpering, irritated voice “Oh my God. You are like the 5th person to ask for coconut butter.  I do NOT have it. I have coconut manna. What do you all want it for anyway?”  As he sighs heavily like I am putting him out.  Did I mention that he is the owner?  Well he is. 

Let me tell you about the first time I ran in with my whole family to get something.  It was like 4:45 p.m. and I needed something as I eat gluten-free.  Some of my ingredients are difficult to get.  I am sometimes, erm lots, depressed when I can’t eat similar items my little family is eating as we used to make things together.  We have changed our whole eating habits for me as a dinner ritual, which is nice, but occasionally, I want a cookie darn it.  So we went in to get some ingredients only this guy has.  Seriously, it wasn’t much of a list.  I went in and they yelled out “Closing in 15 minutes.” as a way of greeting us.  No hi.  No hello.  No welcome.  Nothing.  I got my little things with my husband and kids as we were on our way to my parent’s house, and went to the counter.  From behind the counter a voice says “BETTER late than NEVER” in a seriously ugly tone.

So number one, I am doing this guy a favor by shopping in his store.  Number two, I get no recognition, no greeting, no courtesy.  Number three, it’s like I am putting him out by being a customer.  So I refused to enter the store for months and apparently he hasn’t changed because after he “helped” me yesterday, he proceeded to mention things he can’t sell now because we are getting a Whole Foods soon and people would just drive there, which by the way, is 40 minutes away right now.  So let me just gently remind you all, if you are a small store owner, a business person of any kind and someone is doing you a favor, don’t speak to them like you can’t be bothered or perhaps “don’t have the energy” to treat them right.  They will remember.  Trust me.  Treat the person how you would want to be treated.  It’s just a small thing in this world.  Kindness.  Pass it on. 

Kindness

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