“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” – George Bernhard Shaw (Mrs. Warren’s Profession 1893)

Today we will explore the Second Stone in understanding the science of Taking Initiative. In Taking Initiative Part 2, I showed you the full slides to the presentation I did that gives an overview of this Taking Initiative Series. In Taking Initiative Part 4 – Personalised Goals, we talked about the First Stepping Stone.

This 3 Stone strategy to Taking Initiative is credited to Michael Frese and Doris Fay’s work in PI (Personal Initiative) University of Giessen and University of Amsterdam.

Being proactive is not a mysterious quality that we have, or don’t have. It is a way of dealing with things, that we can develop and strengthen. — ProactiveChange.com

The Second Stepping Stone in the Science of Taking Initiative is – Being Proactive.

The definitions attached to being proactive can be vague, confusing and make little sense to an average person. Definitions like

“Don’t wait for someone to tell you to do something before you do it”

Don’t wait for someone to tell you there is a problem. Know when problems are occurring and fix them.”

“It means taking “action” when there is no guidance.”

Ok, I get it, but how do I take action, how do I know that something is going to happen in the future that requires attention now?

Experience does help at this stage. But if you don’t have experience, then you are probably stuck too.

So you’ll be happy to know that I am not giving you anymore definitions, but rather Actual Steps and Resources to make you act proactively.

The key to mastering Being Proactive is having “Intentional Long term Plans”

When you have an intentional long term plan, you are better prepared to respond, control and affect the outcome.

The windshield is bigger than the rearview mirror. — Tom Daschle

Start putting together these 4 Long Term Plans and you’ll master Being Proactive easily.

Plan 1 – Your Life Plan – If you truly know what you plan to do in 15 year’s time, you can make some incredible and sound decisions today. That is being proactive. Michael Hyatt’s free book ‘Life Plan’ is a great resource and template. Download it for free and use it.

Plan 2 – Yearly Plan – Although I put yearly, you can extend this to 5 year plans. I have been writing 5 years plans for the past 10 years of my life (every year). And it has helped me make some good decisions. For example, my decision to work for a very low pay in a government organisation when I had the choice to work for a multinational company paid off 10 months down the line. My 5 year plan helped me make the choice. In 3 year’s time, you plan to go into consultancy. One of your company’s clients is a difficult consultancy company, and they require someone from your company to be posted there. While others are contemplating and trying to make a decision, you will proactively say ‘here I am, send me’, because you had a plan. Download the 5 year template I use here.

Plan 3 – Weekly Plan – This is very applicable to your workplace and personal life. Plan your week ahead. This way you can easily anticipate issues, and mitigate them before they even occur. Download these 2 free weekly plan templates. WK Temp 1 and WK Temp 2

Plan 4 – Daily Planner – You might have heard this many times, and here it is again. Plan your day before the day fully starts. Some people do it the night before; some people do it very early on the day. If you have a mental and task list picture of tomorrow, you’ll be proactive when tomorrow comes (almost automatically). Download a free Template

When you plan ahead for long enough, you become proactive rather than reactive.

Now you have the Second Stepping Stone to mastering the Science of Taking Initiative. Did you miss the previous posts in this series? Read them here

The First Stone isPersonalised Goal

The Second Stone is – Being Proactive

The Third Stone is – …[coming soon]

Question: How have you learnt to be proactive? Leave a comment


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