How To Be Proactive Instead Of Reactive

By Libby-Jane Charleston | Start the new year with a bang and stop being an observer.

 Tom Merton via Getty Images The magic moment comes when we realise that we hold the 'control box' to our lives.
Tom Merton via Getty Images
The magic moment comes when we realise that we hold the ‘control box’ to our lives.


For those of us who are still trying to compose our new years’ resolution list, experts agree there is a simple note that should be top of any list of goals – if you want to chase your dreams, make an effort to be proactive, not reactive.

What’s the big difference? Rowdy McLean, International keynote speaker, business and leadership consultant said being reactive is when you allow your life to unfold according to what shows up.

“Reactive is being a spectator in the game of life, reacting to whats going on from the sidelines. If you think about the four main areas of your life, Finances, career, health and relationships, are you just reacting to stuff. Bills to pay, boss is cranky, health isn’t great, your partner doesn’t care and your world unfolds according to these things,” McLean told The Huffington Post Australia.

But being proactive is when you focus on the areas that need the most attention and choosing to be an active participant.

“Let’s say, you hate your job. Rather than show up and complain about it, ask yourself, how can you, make it better? How can you have more fun, be more interesting and more interested? If you want to change jobs, what skills will you need and start working on getting them?” Mclean said.

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“What needs to change so that you are the ideal employee in the job you want to work in? Now, learn to be that person, show up in that way, so that when the opportunity arrives you give it your absolute best shot.”

Nikki Fogden-Moore, founder of the Vitality Road Map, told HuffPost Australia the biggest asset anyone can have in leadership is an open mind to keep learning, applying and looking ahead.

“Great leaders are agile, they are able to be healthy, avoid making stress induced decisions,think of the commercial potential and use their experience as wisdom on a weekly and daily basis. Most of all, they have an idea and clear goals on where they are going for both commercial and personal success. If you do not design the life you want you will get the one you’re given,” Fogden-Moore said.

“Life has no remote; you must get up and change it yourself. Kicking off the new year with a thoughtful and well orchestrated game plan is essential for clarity and conviction as well as getting others to buy into what needs to be done as well.”

“My core tip to anyone is make sure you know your ‘why’ and set goals that tick all three of these boxes: is this goal relevant? Is this realistic? Is this goal real-time?”


To be the ultimate leader in business and in life we need to be the navigator, not the passenger.

Success coach Muffy Churches said it’s not easy when each day melts into the next and we do our best to keep our head above water.

“There can be a sensation that, ‘This life as we know it is the hand we’ve been dealt and we just need to buck-up and get on with it.’ Each day then becomes a reaction to the external world, to the people and events in it, and in this scenario we play a helpless victim. Our mood, our energy and our creativity goes south over time and we become ‘unhappily stagnant.’ Churches said.

“The magic moment arrives though, when we realise that in fact we hold the control box to our life and have all the freedom in the world to choose our next move, our mood, our well-being and/or our career path. Getting clear about what we ‘want’ instead of what we’ve got, is the starting point.”

Muffy Churches Tips

  • Identify: Get clarity around what isn’t working and needs to change (at work or at home)
  • Envision: Create a clear vision for what you want instead
  • Shift: Mindfully transform any unproductive emotions or thought patterns that are holding you ransom (Keeping you from acting on what you want)
  • Plan: Build a strategy for getting what you want
  • Act: Do something each day to move closer to making your vision a reality.

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3 Responses to How To Be Proactive Instead Of Reactive

  1. kathryn February 8, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    The more you live the more you learn. Life is all about change, when you know what you want, you will know the steps to take in achieving it.

  2. Jewel February 8, 2017 at 3:47 pm

    One has to position herself strategically in order to balance areas that needs attention.

  3. Franca February 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    A proactive person is one who knows what to do and when to do things that will yield positive result.


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