Proactive people are always looking ahead at future activities, projects, and events and anticipating needs, problems, and possible outcomes.
If they are attending a conference in a distant city, for example, they go above and beyond simply organizing air travel, ground transportation, and a hotel room.
They go over the three-day event in their heads, determining ahead of time what they’ll wear to the various gatherings, which speeches they’ll attend, and who they’ll seek out to optimize their networking possibilities.
They may decide that they’ll need business cards, writing supplies, and empty carry-on bag to store the information they’ll gather at the exhibitions, and casual clothing for the Saturday night cookout during the process.
It’s no coincidence that a few people always appear to have a spare pen to lend, a safety pin to offer, a Band-Aid or pain reliever to offer when someone is in pain, and shampoo when the hotel room doesn’t have any.
When you need a hairdryer, a list of meeting spaces, or change for the hotel vending machine, you go to these folks. They’re also the ones who get hired as project managers, management trainers, and group leaders all the time. They are well-organized, punctual, and productive, and they are well-liked by both their bosses and peers.
Related: Proactive Attitude: Characteristics of Proactive People
Example of a proactive person
What is their secret? How are they able to be prepared for almost any situation? Here are a few of the tools, strategies, and mindsets that make up an example of a proactive person.
1. Set goals
Proactive people hold planning sessions with themselves and others, and they define precise future goals. They not only write them down with deadlines, but they also schedule time in their planners to work on them.
Instead of responding to unanticipated circumstances, individuals are assisting in the creation of their own destiny.
Related: Goal-Achieving Visualization Techniques
2. Block off time for important tasks and activities
Proactive people use their planning calendars for what they were designed for: to set aside time in the future for important chores and activities. They can anticipate potential problems and take action before they occur because they can visualize the future.
Simply seeing an event in writing, such as a scheduled meeting, gets your mind thinking about what you’ll need for that meeting. Proactive people plan their primary activities approximately a week in advance, leaving unscheduled time each day for those critical and urgent chores and activities that undoubtedly arise during the week.
They may have to juggle their schedules to fit everything in, but they never allow a critical task or activity to be replaced without first rescheduling it to a different time slot. They never substitute a less important activity for a scheduled activity. They understand that the good is worth it.
3. Use checklists
for all recurrent events or tasks, including meetings, trips, conferences, sales calls, workshops, and interviews. If necessary, after each incident, these checklists are updated.
If anything was forgotten, it was added to the list so it wouldn’t be forgotten again. Checklists save time and money while also preventing mistakes.
4. Review results
Proactive people don’t just follow through with planned tasks and events; they follow up as well, and make sure the value received was worth the time and effort expended.
This ensures that they are indeed completing 20% of the tasks that yield 80% of the results. They always question whether they are making the best possible use of their time.
5. Plan long-range
Proactive people recognize that it’s never too early to plan and that planning too late causes crises and time problems. If the Titanic had started turning sooner, it would never have hit the iceberg. Small adjustments made earlier avoid large adjustments having to be made at the last minute.
6. Set deadlines
Proactive people give every planned activity a deadline. They understand Parkinson’s Law, which states that activities will take up as much time as you have available. Setting deadlines improves productivity while also preventing procrastination.
People who are proactive understand that deadlines do not cause tension; only false deadlines do. As a result, they always allow for more time than they believe the work or activity will take. This enables us to handle those unanticipated hiccups.
7. Maintain the right attitude
Although proactive people employ a variety of tools and tactics, their attitude or state of mind plays a significant role. It’s even possible to call it a way of life.
People who are proactive would never make a phone conversation without first jotting down the topics they want to discuss, or go to the grocery without first compiling a list of what they need.
They don’t mind checking a map before a trip, researching a prospect’s website before a meeting, making a cold sales call, or reading the directions before putting up a swing set.
Related: Easy Ways To Increase Your Self-Control
Ways to Become the Most Proactive Person
One of the things I often tell my team is, “Be proactive in your own becoming.” This sounds like a weird phrase at first, but when you break it down, it makes sense — and it will put you on the path of achievement.
In short, being a proactive person is a mix of hustle and problem-solving.
I have broken it down into eight key points. Some of them are based on words of wisdom from mentors, and some of them are based on my own experiences. All together, they create a clear path to success.
It’s All About You
No one else is going to get you where you want to go – it’s up to you. Your family and friends are a support system, but that is all they are supposed to be for you.
They cannot succeed for you. Only you can do that. Take ownership of your problems, and realize that nobody else is going to solve them for you.
Problem-solving abilities are one of the most important characteristics of successful people. We’re all going to have difficulties. It’s how you deal with them that determines your effectiveness. Focusing on finding a solution is the most effective technique to deal with an issue.
It’s a waste of time to focus on things you can’t control, so concentrate on what you can control with the end result. If you lead by example, your team will learn how to approach challenges and solutions successfully.
Related: The 5 Most Essential Skills for Remote Professionals
Your level of accountability for completing tasks is really important. One of my favorite books is “Predictable Revenue” by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler.
Their approach to achieving goals is both simple and effective: set your goal and then work backward from that goal to establish metrics to track and evaluate it.
It’s important to have a clearly defined goal that is quantifiable so you can determine if you actually reached it or not.
For example, a goal to “get in shape” does not make sense. What does that mean? When are you “in shape?” A goal to “run a mile in under 10 minutes” is something you can physically measure and attain.
Use “SMART” Goals
This acronym has been around for a long time and its meaning varies, but the basic concept works across all areas of life. This is the version I use to set goals:
S: Specific (Pick something particular instead of using a broad category.)
M: Measurable (Choose something you can quantify.)
A: Attainable (You should actually be able to reach this, and it may just require the right steps.)
R: Realistic (Be honest – it’s probably unrealistic to say you will go from making $10,000 to being a billionaire in one year.)
T: Timely (Give each goal a timeframe to create a sense of urgency.)
Related: How to Be a High Performer and Achieve Excellence
Make Your Own Luck
It’s not about having the perfect kind of luck or waiting for the ideal break to come your way to be successful. It’s not just about having the hope that you’ll succeed. It’s about making daily progress toward being better than you were the day before by staying on a positive, progressive path.
You will not achieve your objective until you create a blueprint and establish benchmarks for yourself in precise timeframes. Things don’t happen merely because you really, really want them to happen. You must make them a reality.
At the end of the day, success isn’t defined by perfection. It all comes down to being consistent. Are you taking daily steps toward your objective in a regular and persistent manner? When you come across a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, do you quit making progress or keep going?
Be constant in your actions. Even though the steps seem insignificant at the moment, doing the correct things consistently will lead you down the path to success.
Find the Right People
Surrounding yourself with motivated, successful people has been shown to help you succeed. Proximity can act as a powerful motivation. You have the option of choosing between those who are driven and people who will bring you down.
You can’t have it all and expect to be successful. You can’t spend all day among slackers and still meet your daily objectives. People that are sluggish are like quicksand.
They progressively suffocate you until you wake up one day and find you’ve been suffocated by laziness.
Honesty Is the Best Policy
Be humble and examine what you’re doing and how you’re going about it. Instead of creating excuses, be absolutely honest with yourself about what isn’t working. It is easy to stay busy and tell yourself you are taking the right steps, but it is harder to be honest if you are not actually making progress.
At the end of the day, if you don’t achieve your objectives, you are just harming yourself. If you convince yourself, “Oh, it’s fine, I’m fine where I am,” you’ll never get better.
This mindset has made all the difference in my accomplishments. Is there anything I’m missing that you think is crucial? Please share your experiences with what has worked for you.
These habits can be cultivated and nourished until they become second nature. Start with small steps, such as picking what clothes you’ll wear the next morning before going to bed. You could find that something needs to be pressed.
Mentally go through the day in the morning. When will you leave the house, where will you park, which duties will you complete first, and so on? The more you plan ahead of time, the more comfortable you will become with it.
You’ll be more motivated to become proactive in all you do as you see your days flow more smoothly, with fewer crises and hassles.
“Acting ahead of time” is what proactive means. Taking action now will have an impact on the future—possibly even the future itself. As a result, adopt the habits of proactive people. Make a plan. Make time for the jobs and activities that are most important to you.
Make use of checklists. Examine the outcomes. Make long-term plans. Set deadlines for yourself. and continue to create