Are you living a reactive life? This is how most people live, doing things as a response or reaction to an outside force. They act only when it is required, merely waiting for the next call to action.
I have been in the maintenance field for 30 years and this is how my time at work has been spent. I often called maintenance people “FIREMEN” because we worked on low priority items until there was a breakdown then we rushed to repair the broken production equipment the instant it was reported. We had to be ready at a moments notice and were required to fix the problem quickly so the wheels of production kept turning. The feelings of accomplishment were great when the machines were back running but it often seemed to be a thankless job.
In order to leave the reactive life style we must become self-aware and change our attitudes. To realize that, though my responsibilities dictate an immediate response it is in my control how I react to that requirement. It is one thing to hold that position as an employee but yet another to live that life. We know how a reactive life is and no one is truly satisfied with it. We become tired and frustrated with someone or something constantly requiring our attention, jumping at their every whim or cry and always dealing with that first.
We may not be able to immediately change the physical requirements to do for others, as in the maintenance field, but being more aware of ourselves lets us change our response and attitude toward the situation. It allows us to choose the way we respond and cope, seeing things as an opportunity instead of a chore. Realizing the situation may need attention as soon as possible but that I can accomplish it with a calm and sensible attitude.
Proactively is the result of being aware you no longer wait for the “alarm” to go into action, you now act before it sounds. Your attention is not only focused on the task to be accomplished but also on the best and most efficient way to complete it. You learn and practice the techniques and are proficient in their use. You are prepared, ready and already using these skills when the need arises.