a) Head for the fridge, grab a large glass of vodka and a super sized box of sugary snacks?
b) Complain endlessly to anyone who will listen?
c) Use the time to dabble with a new creative endeavor?
d) Spruce up your website and network like crazy?
If you answered ‘a’, I hope your creative juices flow better with alcohol! ‘b’, I hope you’ve got understanding mates. A blossoming creative, of course, would be doing ‘c’ and ‘d’ in a proactive mission for creative world domination. Let’s be honest though – unless you were born with Mary Poppin’s optimism, when life goes belly up – it’s hard to be positive or proactive. So that’s why I wrote this post – to give you some simple tips to flex the proactivity muscle. The more you use it, the easier it becomes.
This situation happened to me a year ago. I had plenty of freelance training work and a great income, but overnight, my main supplier went under and I was faced with a huge dip in income. I panicked initially and attempted to consume my body weight in chocolate, but after a sugar high and a few sniffles, I began to see the opportunity. I realised that although I had been financially comfortable, I was creatively stifled. Now I could take a leap of faith and set up my own coaching company. A scary thought – but being a proactive ninja became a way of life.
So – getting the dictionary out for a minute – what is being proactive all about?
It’s about anticipating and taking charge of situations and it means taking responsibility for your life and the way you think and behave.
Consider this – your thinking and behaviour leads to the results you get.
Or another way of looking at it:
If you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.
So, habitually procrastinate, or become defeated when you aren’t getting work, you’re results will be more of the same.
Ouch – hurts doesn’t it?
The great news is that being proactive is a mindset. It’s something we can all learn to do. It’s simply a habit, a way of thinking and behaving. It can also be a life changing way to shift you out of feeling overwhelmed to being in control. Useful? Here’s how:
The 5 Habits of Highly Proactive People
When disaster strikes – think – “How can I improve this?”
Dwelling on problems is useless. Instead, keep your attention focused on the things that you can control and you’ll shift your mindset from worry to possibility. Once you change gear, you’ll be surprised how your creativity increases.
Ask yourself ‘What do I really want?’
Proactive thinking is focusing on positive outcomes. When life throws in a curve ball, by focusing on what’s wrong, we feel defeated and frustrated. By focusing on what we want, optimism returns. Enjoy the opportunity to dream, visualise and imagine exciting or desirable goals.
Act on ideas straight away.
Dreaming is good, but over thinking is just that – thinking. If you take action immediately, even if it’s just a phone call, writing a plan or sending an email, then you’ve made a start. It’s little steps that lead to big results.
Write down short and long-term goals and put them on a weekly and daily planner.
To avoid allowing your mind to drift back into worry, learn to discipline yourself to write a goal and a route for what you want to achieve. Immediate action creates energy and planning plus discipline continue the momentum.
Set yourself three important tasks to do each day and complete them.
Creative people tend to be good at coming up with great ideas, but can become overwhelmed with too many options. Having a dozen unfinished projects is frustrating and unfulfilling. Develop a habit of spending time on the things that will make the biggest difference to your goals each day. Do one task at a time and complete it. Once you master this, you will begin to see the results of small, incremental achievements.
If you need a bit more inspiration, then here are some examples of how some of my clients became proactive and the results they got:
Client 1’s problem – A writing/actor client was losing her creative juices and wasn’t feeling inspired.
Solution – She decided to join a comedy class to ignite her passion
Result: Not only did she have fun and met new people, she also found inspiration and a new way of coming up with material. The unexpected result was that she became more fascinated with a day job she was doing and it gave her more material to write. Her positivity also led to a job in radio as a presenter.
Client 2’s problem – They weren’t selling any artwork and it was impossible to get an exhibition.
Solution – They decide to set up their own gallery to show their work
Result: Event has been organised and there has been an increase in the amount of publicity on the artist. Client has confidence boosted, lots of PR and more work sold.
So, whether these examples fit with your world or not, the point is, by doing something, we tend to feel more confident and in control of our destiny. The little steps we take can lead to increased motivation and eventually, big results.
So – what can you do today to change your destiny?