Habit 1: Be Proactive
At iLEAD, we believe consistent development and growth are vital to one’s well-being and to our community as a whole! Over the past year, our staff has been collectively studying and implementing the philosophies and exercises put forth by Stephen Covey in his widely renowned book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The concepts explored in this book can be useful for people from all walks of life, at all ages! We hope you find our brief summary of each habit over the next several weeks useful, and we encourage you to explore the habits at a deeper level by demonstrating and practicing them in your own environment.
Habit 1: Be Proactive
Proactivity refers to more than simply taking initiative. Rather, it means that as human beings, we are responsible for our own lives. Proactive people’s behavior is a function of their decisions, not their conditions. While a reactive person will be affected by the weather being “good” or “bad”, for instance, a proactive person will not.
Proactive people are value driven. If one of their values is to produce quality work, it won’t depend on favorable weather or circumstances. Proactive people strive to deeply and honestly say, “I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday,” and “I am able to choose otherwise.”
In one’s life, there are a multitude of events that occur every day. Of these events, however, there are only a small subset that are of actual concern to each individual. Within that subset there is an even smaller set that one can actually impact and/or control — in other words, one’s sphere of influence. A proactive person spends time to focus only on what he or she can control.
Proactivity is part of human nature, and although the “proactive muscles” may be dormant, as Covey mentions, they are certainly there! To stimulate those muscles, here is a simplified example of one of Covey’s application suggestions: For a full day, listen to your own language and the language of people around you. Pay attention to how many times you hear the reactive phrase “I have to” or “I can’t”. Remember that you always have a choice!