How to develop a proactive mindset and accomplish more in life

Proactive 1
You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. (Zig Ziglar)

‘If I do what you are asking me to do, I will get into a lot of trouble with my boss.”  I said to the caller, who had been calling almost everyday, asking to speak to the Managing Director.

At the time, I was working at a motor vehicle selling company as a receptionist, and one of my duties was to filter all incoming calls, before directing them to the concerned person—based on the nature of the call.  The caller’s name was Derrick.  He was looking for a job, and naturally, he’s enquiry belonged to the human resource office, but he kept on insisting that he wanted to speak to the managing director.

So, Derrick would call almost every day, and because of this, we developed a rapport, and each time he called, I would tell him that the managing director will not take his call—and interestingly, in exchange, he would tell me something about himself.  For instance, he once told me that his father and the managing director went to the same school, and all he wanted was to speak to him directly, because he believed that if he did so, he would be able to convince him to hire him.  On another occasion, he told me that he had asked his father to introduce him to the managing director, but he had told him that he was not fit for the job because he did not have any work experience in selling vehicles.  Still on another occasion, he told me that he had just graduated from university, and that his girlfriend who was expecting twins, had moved in with him at his parent’s house.  “I desperately need a job, my parents want me out of the house before Leah gives birth,” Derrick said, and for the first time since I started talking to him, he sounded distressed.  I felt sorry for him.

“Listen,” I said to Derrick one day, “Why don’t you come to the office, then I will introduce you to the managing director during lunch break, and if you are lucky, he will listen to you.”

The following day, Derrick arrived at the office at the agreed time.  He wasn’t dressed the part, but, two things made him standout.  Charisma and confidence.  He got the job as a sales representative.

A couple of months ago, I met Derrick at a symposium, and we got talking about how being proactive had led him to get a job of selling vehicles.  With a proactive mindset, actions determine how events will unfold in our lives, and the good news about being proactive is that, it is a skill that can be developed at any stage in life—and applied whenever someone is facing a bad situation in life.  This is how to go about it:

1) Focus on finding a solution.  Ask yourself; What will happen to me if I don’t do something about my situation?  Your response will guide you to put all your energy in making your life better.  Derrick knew that if he did not start earning an income soon, he was not going to be able to take care of himself, his girlfriend, and his two children.

2) Take action.  Ask yourself; What do I need to do right now for things to improve?   Your response will guide you to set goals, and make a list of activities that will enable you to attain them.  Then swing into full action.  Derrick knew that he urgently needed to find a job, so that he could afford to get a place of his own, and to prepare himself to take the responsibilities of a family man.

3) Separate emotions from values.  It is easy to feel like giving up in life, especially when someone or people try to crush your hopes and dreams—by making negative comments.  Should this happen, a) Stay true to your vision no matter what; b) Acknowledge the fact that your feelings have been hurt, and speak to a trusted friend or relative about how you feel.  It helps; and, c) Disentangle your emotions from your values (what is important and matters to you)—and move on to make a better life for yourself.  Derrick’s father told him that he did not have any work experience in selling vehicles, so there was no point for him to put in a good word for him to the managing director.  Yes, Derrick’s feelings were hurt, but this did not crush his determination.

A proactive mindset gives us positive energy, which then gives us continuous focus on doing things we can control, that eventually lead us to accomplish more in life.  Much love and all the best!