“Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.”
If I had to pick a quote that summed up my approach to life, that would definitely be it. And coincidentally, it overlaps with my work quite nicely. The sentiment, phrased another way, is basically, “be proactive.” I’ve never been very good at being patient, and waiting for things to happen. I prefer to make them happen.
I teach this to people in my work every day, as it relates to their to-do list. It’s only when you make the time to take the actions you deem are important, that you finish your projects and achieve your goals.
But being proactive offers benefits to many other areas of your life. When you are not proactive, you are essentially passive, allowing life to “happen” to you instead of creating your own experiences. In the words of my friend Julia Cuba, Executive Director of GEN, the Girls Empowerment Network, you either approach your life with the attitude of “how am I going to impact my world today?” or thinking, “how is the world going to affect me today?” If your approach is the latter, it means that you aren’t in control. Taking control, being proactive, doesn’t guarantee you’ll always get what you want, but it greatly increases the odds. In the words of Wayne Gretsky, “you’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I’m sure you can think of a time in your life when you thought something wasn’t going to work out in your favor. But then you took some action, which tipped the scales in your direction. It doesn’t always work out, of course, but it certainly never happens when you aren’t proactive.
Be proactive with your to-do list, make the time to complete the things you want to get done in a day, rather than constantly reacting to emails, phone calls, meetings, and everything else that calls your attention during the day. But also finding other opportunities to be proactive and take control of the situations of your life, will likely have a drastic impact on your experiences. I know it has on mine.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Tony Robbins: “The difference between those who produce positive results in their lives and those who do not is the ability to take action.”
If you’re constantly reacting, to emails, Twitter, the phone, instant messages, etc, you never have time or space to be proactive, and therefore can never take action.
Thanks for reading!