Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Why I'm Proactive

"People place confidence in the fellow who acts. They naturally assume he knows what he is doing." -David J. Schwartz

Being proactive, for those of you who doesn't know what it means, is basically being able to add value to the company/project without being told to do so - it's about you figuring out the next steps instead of your superiors having to do it for you.
For as long as I can remember, I've always been proactive to some extend but I wasn't always adding as much value as I could due to lack of experience. Most performance reviews I've had at work as referred "proactivity" as being my biggest strength but what most people don't know is that I'm only proactive because I hate being told what to do.

You read that right - I'm proactive because I don't like being told what to do. To me, having a superior sit down with me and go over my next task is a bigger pain than just having me do that sort of work. First of all, in most cases, I have a clearer picture of what needs to be done than my superiors do and I consider it a waste of time to try to explain to them that how they want me to work doesn't really make sense in the context that we're in... So I just do it.

Here's another "secret" of mine: While I have an idea of what the big picture is I don't necessarily know all the steps/task to get there before I start. This is the crazy part to me because when I look at a proactive person, from the outside, I feel like they have a clear picture of every steps in order to get the task done but it's rarely the case (at least to me). Most things are figured out on my way to task completion.

How to be proactive?
On my proactive journey, I've identified 4 things that help me be proactive. Those are:
  1. Don't be afraid to make mistakes - One of the reasons why most people aren't proactive is because they're afraid of making mistakes. By having a superior figure out the task, it becomes easier to put the blame on them when the results aren't as expected. Proactive people tend to have to take the responsibility of failures because they're the ones that came up with the steps.
  2. Understand the bigger picture - In order to developed effective steps towards a task completion, you need to understand the bigger picture. What needs to be done and what is your role in it? This obviously becomes clearer the longer you are on a project.
  3. Hate being told what to do - I mentioned this before but when someone tells me what to do, they are also indirectly telling me "I don't trust you with this so do it my way". Since I don't want to be told what to do my mind automatically focuses on the next steps.
  4. Have a creative mind - Having a creative mind does help with being proactive since you need to be creative to come up with tasks that may not of been done before. Reading, writing, drawing and other creative endeavors can be help develop a creative mind and ultimately help with proactivity.
Are you proactive? What makes you proactive? Share in the comments!

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