For quite a while now we have been hearing the word "proactive" being thrown around:
"You've got to be proactive."
"Our company is proactive."
"We expect our employees to have a proactive attitude."
The word has been used so often that I believe that its true meaning has been lost.
To most people now, it simply means that when they see a problem developing, they should try to get ahead of it and stop it in its tracks. That is a good attitude and practice to have in any facet of your life; however, that is not being proactive.
So, what is a truly proactive attitude?
Have you ever heard of the "5P Principal"? It goes, Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Proper planning isn't just figuring out what needs to happen when and what you will need to make it all turn out as it should. Proper planning involves what the military would call War Gaming.
It is looking at all the little things that could go wrong and how to prevent or compensate for them. It is seeing the problems before they have a chance to develop and preventing them. That is what being proactive is really all about. Not just reacting to a problem quickly, but foreseeing it and preventing it from developing in the first place. It is taking your worst nightmare scenarios and working backwards.
If you're having a dinner party, what do you do if there is a power failure, your stove won't work and all your meat spoils and your vegetables wilt? If you're working a business deal and lose your financing? Or your main supplier of a critical part fails to deliver and there is union strike all at once? Don't laugh! These are all things that could possibly happen, and sometimes all at once.
The point is, if you have considered the worst possible combination of events that could occur, you will be prepared to handle any of them by themselves. It is more than just making contingency plans, it is having a backup to your backup and having a fallback position from there.
Have you ever noticed the most successful people, the Bill Gates' and Richard Branson's of the world always seem relaxed despite how complicated their businesses have become? It is because they know that no matter what calamity might come, there is a plan in place to deal with it.
They have applied the "5P Principle" and stayed proactive their entire careers. That is part of their success and it should be part of yours.
My challenge for you this week:
Apply the 5P Principle in your life.
Write down the next big goal you plan to pursue and achieve!
Isolate yourself from everyone and visualize yourself moving toward the goal and having achieved the goal.
Take your vision and create a detailed vision board of the journey it will take to reach your goal
Be as specific as possible regarding the opportunities and challenges anticipated on the journey.
Write down possible options you have for the steps you can take in each challenge scenario.
Your engagement in the 5P Principle Process will save yourself a lot of emotional ups and downs along your journey to success!