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Either You Run The Day, Or The Day Is Running You! Be Proactive and You Are In charge!

Written by: Lotta Spjut, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

A few weeks ago, I was part of a Global Online Event with many million viewers and the theme was “Going from Reactive to Proactive”. I find this subject very interesting and useful. Going from reactive to proactive has helped me a LOT(ta) in life and also in my business and I am sure it can do for you too.

Do you ever feel that you are wasting your energy and time worrying about things that you cannot control, that you become paralyzed and fail to act on the things you actually can control? I believe we all do from time to time, and this can be the result of being reactive, in both your private life and in your business.


When we on the other hand focus on things we do have control over, we can see that our actions got an effect and that is empowering us. This feeling of empowerment encourages usto take more action, which causes us to feel even more empowered and that causes us to take even more action. This is the result of being proactive instead of reactive.


Being PROACTIVE simply means, you take control of your life while being REACTIVE means that you allow life to take control of you.

Let´s break it down so it is easier to understand. What is characteristic of Proactive people? They take responsibility for their behavior, results, and growth…

When you are proactive, you take responsibility for your life. You are accepting responsibility for your behavior (past, present, and future) and you make the choices based on that you are “response-able.” Proactive people are not afraid of change and choose not to be victims of their circumstances, to be reactive, or to blame others. You act, rather than being acted upon. Even when circumstances limit choices, a proactive person will find a way.


Be proactive means you know you can´t blame everything on your parents or genetics, circumstances, or conditions. Proactive people know they choose their behavior.

And what about Reactive people?


The opposite of a proactive person is a reactive person. Reactive people, on the other hand, are often affected by their physical environment. You find external sources to blame for your behavior. Be Reactive means you let your circumstances and conditions control you. If the weather is good, you feel good. If it isn’t, it affects your attitude and performance, and you blame the weather. Reactive people don’t act, they’re acted upon.

Easy to say but HOW to start going from reactive to proactive? Let´s go on with looking into the "reasons" why some of us choose to be proactive and some of us choose to be reactive. Why do we make these choices?

There are many studies around this and Stephen Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” (has sold more than 25 million copies since it was first published in 1989) writes about the first habit, ‘Be Proactive’ and how that is very much the root of any legend’s success. It is a habit that psychologist Viktor Frankl found out during his time held captive in the Nazi concentration camps. Frankl was a Jew living in Austria during WW2 and Frankland his family was put into concentration camps where they were subjected to systemized, soul-crushing cruelty. Only his sister and he survived. In these horrific circumstances, Frankl had a life-changing disclosure. Even though he lost all his basic freedoms, there was one freedom the guards could never take away from him and that was how he would respond to his circumstances.


Stimuli are what happens to you daily, what others do and say to you. The stimuli Frankl encountered daily were death, deprivation, cruelty. The response to such stimuli would be to give up and lose hope. Frankl didn´t, he realized that stimulus and response weren’t welded together. There was a gap. There was a choice.


Frankl consequently chose a different response than the default. He chose hope. He chose to help the other prisoners. He chose not to hate his captors and he chose to find meaning in his suffering. Covey shares how Viktor Frankl exercised responsibility, the ability to choose his response, in the most desperate and challenging of circumstances. Being truly proactive meant Frankl was freer than his Nazi captors!

Now, you may think that this is a very extreme situation that thankfully the majority of us will never experience. I agree, and as Stephen Covey writes, we don't need to experience the extreme suffering that Viktor Frankl went through to be proactive.


The ability to choose our response to anything that happens to us is like a muscle that can be developed in our day-to-day lives; whether it is through a challenge at home or at work.

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. Reactive people think that stimulus and response are in direct connection. They don’t see the gap between the two and believe that one determines the other. Reactive people experience stimulus and response as “welded” together.

"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's way." - Viktor E. Frankl

With this said, let's see in what category you recognize yourself best and also the people you surround yourself with.


If you recognize yourself as being more reactive than proactive and you want to change this and start thinking and acting more proactive, how do you start?

A mental model described by Stephen Covey, that has helped me a LOT(ta) is the Circles of Concern and Influence. Imagine, or even better, draw a circle on paper. This is your circle of concern. Then you write another smaller circle inside the first one. This circle is your circle of influence. This model helps You to see which circle You spend the most time, attention, and energy in.

Reactive people pay more attention to the items that are just in their Circle of Concern — the stuff that we have little or no control over and the results will bring us in a negative mood and our focus results in blaming and accusing attitudes, reactive language, and increased feelings of victimization. Proactive people pay more attention in the circle of Influence. These can be things we have little or complete influence on. There are some things we can´t move like the influence of weather and people´s decisions.

What you focus on grows - where is your focus?


When you focus on your Circle of Concern, your Circle of Influence shrinks, and you

lose energy on things you can´t control in any way. And not only does focusing solely on your circle of concern make you feel like a loser, but the resulting sense of helplessness also actually makes your circle of influence shrink. Focusing on things that you don’t have any control over, will stress you out. Little stress prepares your mind and body for performance. But if you’re stressed out about uncertainty all the time, then not-so-good changes start to happen in your brain that create a vicious cycle of reactive anxiety. And if that was not enough, chronic stress drops dopamine production, which our brains need to stay motivated and to take action. Another result of stress that comes from spending your energy and attention on your circle of concern primes your brain to see more problems than solutions and reduces your ability to see what is and isn’t in your control and drops your motivation to take action on the things You do have influence over. It’s a vicious cycle.

When you on the other hand focus on your Circle of Influence, this circle expands, and it leads You to take action which gives you a positive feeling that leads to empowerment and more influence from your side. The result will be a positive change. Focusing on your circle of influence creates a virtuous cycle of action that not only leads to positive change on the items originally in that circle, but you also grow it! Things that were formerly just in your circle of concern will now be added to your circle of influence. How cool is that? Focusing on your circle of influence increases your circle of influence.

Some tips how you can become more Proactive

  • Take ACTION! (No matter how small). This will be the most powerful way. You’ll begin to show yourself that you can have an influence, which will kickstart a virtuous cycle of proactivity.

  • Change your mindset and language.

  • Look at your Circle of Influence. (See point 1 below) Remember, Your actions don’t have to be big.

  • Whenever you face a challenge, break it down into the smallest parts possible and tackle each part one by one. It makes the problem less scary and more concrete.

1. Figure out what’s in your Circles of Concern and Influence and increase this circle


Take 10 minutes and make a list of all the things that you worry about, for example, mentally purge and all your anxiety. Write them down on paper. This list represents your Circle of Concern. Take a 10-minute break and come back to your list. Then ask yourself point by point, “Do I have some influence over it?” Remember that the influence can be small! It canbe “send an email requesting advice about x concern.” Maybe You don´t get a response, but itis an action You can take to influence the outcome. If You can influence the outcome of something (even in a small way), You put it on your circle of influence list. If you havetrouble putting items on this list, take help from a friend for their input. It can be helpful to have someone with a more proactive mind on life if You easy focus on the negative. This will show you how you do have control over things in your circle of concern and You will find out that You have more influence than You think…

2. Watch your language


How you speak (to yourself and others) guides how you see the world. To take a more proactive and less reactive posture towards life, watch your language for reactive or proactive phrases. If most of your language is reactive, you’re likely going to be more reactive. If it isproactive, you will be more proactive. It takes some work but changing your way of speaking will help to change your mindset. Here are some reactive phrases to eliminate from your language and replace it with a proactive one:

I´ll try…​ I´ll do it (or I don´t do it). Trying is not an option and not an action.

There’s nothing I can do…​​​ I choose to…

That’s just the way I am…​I have the power to change my behavior…

He/she makes me so mad…​​I control how I respond to it…

I have to… ​​​​I prefer to…

I can’t…​​​​ I can do my best…

I must…​​​​ I will…

You CAN take charge of Your life and boost Yourself by telling Yourself this daily:

  • I am the force.

  • I am the captain of my life.

  • I can choose my attitude.

  • I am responsible for my happiness and unhappiness.

  • I am in the driver´s seat of my destiny, not only the passenger.

  • I take initiative to make things happen.

  • I think about solutions and options.

I hope this article can help You to

  • Be proactive with your study

  • Be proactive with physical health

  • Be proactive with mental health

  • Be proactive with your time

  • Be proactive with your work

  • Be proactive with your words

  • Be proactive with your friends

  • Be always ready with everything you do!

Remember that the first step to becoming PROACTIVE is that You chose to be active.

You will only stay REACTIVE if You chose to be passive.

PROACTIVE - DOING

REACTIVE - BEING DONE TO

Don´t wait for the opportunity to come Your way,

Go out and grab it before it passes You by.

Don´t be the person who REACTING when things happen to You,

be the PREPARED one and think ahead, looking at possibilities & opportunities BEFORE they arrive rather than when it has reached You

Being PROACTIVE is like surfing the wave of charge

Being REACTIVE is waiting for the waves to break you!

Chose to become a surfer and start surfing Your waves.


To learn more from Lotta, you can visit her website and connect with her social media accounts; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.

 

Lotta Spjut, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Lotta Spjut has a passion and drive to inspire and empower people around the Globe and to use the skills they have, learn new skills, grow themself and become successful entrepreneurs.


She has made hundreds and hundreds of lectures, private and public trainings, always built on empiric knowledge. Only sharing what she has experienced herself and that inspire many people to also do the same. Not to compare with her or anyone else but to get inspired and understand that if she can, they can. Lotta has done it for one person, smaller groups, bigger groups and she has done it for millions of people online. The amount is not the important for her, it is what each person get out from it.


Lotta is a TEDx speaker and she was nominated to one of 20 Global Women Leaders to Look up to 2021 by Passion Vista & Unified Brainz. She has today hundreds of thousands of people all over the world that she mentor and train in leadership, personal development and entrepreneurship.


Her background is as an Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working with leadership. She has a Master Degree in Didactic and Bachelor of Education and many years experience as a teacher in elementary school and at University. ICF Pro Executive Coach, coaching CEO´s in different businesses. Bachelor degree as a health and nutrition developer. Worked and educated people in health, nutrition and fitness industry. Lottas main business over the last decades, has been as a full time Professional Networker & Business Coach and Global speaker.


Lotta is skilled in Leadership, Coaching, Entrepreneurship, Team Building and Management. Strong business development and from 2015 she has also developed good knowledge in the area of cryptocurrency.


Her favorite quote is from Arthur Ashe: Start where You are, use what You have and Do what You can!


You don´t need to be great to start but You need to Start to be great and Lotta´s mission is to help as many people as possible to convert their dreams and goals in to action and to be the captain of their lives.

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