Ifirst heard of and learnt about proactivity during an entrepreneurship program I attended in 2016. It was then that I realized that my father had been teaching me about proactivity all my life, he just used another word; Initiative.
Being proactive for an entrepreneur is very important for achieving maximum production. Proactivity simply means not being reactive, choosing a well thought out response to situations and choosing to find solutions rather than move with the wind.
For every entrepreneur, especially fashion designers, there is a need to be proactive in order to get work done in the best quality and also meet deadlines. There are always fake emergencies that clamor and fight for our attention at work, and so we pick what is urgent over what is important and then we end up rushing the important ones when it is close to deadline. As a result, we do not do an excellent job and often, we miss the deadline.
This can be overcome, however, which is why we need to understand better what proactivity means and how it can help us make deadlines, create great work and be more productive.
Why should you be proactive?
As entrepreneurs it is important to stay ahead of competition while using your time wisely and making progress as a brand. As human beings, the power to choose is one of our best advantages, but we sometimes do not know how to leverage it and end up making choices that are not the best.
It is very easy to choose what you think you have to do immediately and overlook what you must get done, this is why Stephen Covey says that Proactivity is an essential skill to have for maximum effectiveness and productivity.
Proactivity happens when we take responsibility for things within our circle of control and take the initiative to act on them. It is very easy to blame circumstances, other people and things in our environment, but ultimately we are responsible for our own growth.
Recognising what you have control over, and that you can choose what is important despite the happenings and life’s tantrum is the very beginning of more productivity for your brand.
How to be proactive
- Do not react
Proactivity is the exact opposite of being reactive. Being reactive means allowing circumstances, people and environment to dictate your actions. A very good example is when a customer you have gone through ‘hell’ for refuses to recognize your efforts and goes as far as being disrespectful. The natural thing to want to do is to put the customer “in his/her place” or let the situation ruin your mood and decide not to work throughout the day.
These reactions may seem justifiable because you were hurt as a designer, but they are not. Reacting that way to a customer might cost you a few more customers, and not working the whole day might just have you miss a deadline that might have gotten you more jobs.
Proactivity is when you think about these things and choose to do what is important (work) and allow the customer walk away with your relationship intact.
- Set goals and work towards them
It is easy to wait for things to happen, of course, while working hard. However, things do not get done by themselves unless you make them happen, deliberately. Proactive people set smart goals, break them into smaller goals and start working on it one bit at a time. This way things get done and in good time too. To set goals, you can make use of goal setting apps to make it easier.
- Be Disciplined
This is as simple as it sounds but quite a difficult habit to master. You need to get things done when it should be done. This affords you time to anticipate challenges and get them sorted or make alternative arrangements easily.
- Recognize your mistakes
We are human and therefore are bound to make mistakes, but it doesn’t end there. Correct your mistakes, learn from them and work with what you have learnt. There is no need to be defensive or downcast, it will only slow down progress and reduce productivity.
- Know what you can or cannot do
Beyond doing what you need to do, being proactive is also about knowing and accepting the things that are outside your circle of control and learning to work around them using what is within your circle of control. See how Desewa Endroit fixed her bridal work by being proactive.
What else can you do?
Looking around you and finding problems that need solutions around you is a way to be proactive. Solving challenges faced by your business or other businesses, customers, or your environment can be a very rewarding way to be proactive.
It could be a side project, or a part of your business, either way, you are solving a problem and learning to use your creativity and Imagination. Proactivity is a habit that takes time to build, but once mastered can help you achieve your set goals and eventually build a successful and more productive brand.