Yesterday, as I was on my way to pick up my kids from school, it occurred to me that I was feeling exhausted—I mean really tired. As I made a mental scan of my day, I realized that I had been in a “reactive” mode most of the day rather than a “proactive” mode. We do need to react to situations that occur in our lives as best we can at that moment, however, Smart Women know that living a “proactive” life where you plan, prepare, and practice conscious living is clearly more rewarding.
Living a “reactive” life can be exhausting and frustrating. There are a lot of quick stops and fast starts–most of them unplanned. The best way for me to describe my day was it felt like I was in a ship without a rudder. No direction, just floating out in a big sea of confusion. No real direction, just reacting to each wave. There was no planned course or clear navigation. I was just trying to keep this rudderless boat afloat and get back to shore.
In contrast, when you are living a “proactive” life, your days are on course with clear navigation, doing things that will lead you to your Big Ideas, Dreams, and Goals. Being “proactive” about your life is being conscious and thoughtful about how you spend your days. You are queen of your ship, with a well thought out map on where you’re going, what you’re going to do, and with whom you will do it.
As I reflected on yesterday, I felt a calling to share it with you. Many women are living a “reactive” life day after day, without a clear plan of action to take them where they want to go. Most of my days are quite “proactive”, with a plan in place to keep moving me toward my goals. As I reflect on my day yesterday, if I was living in this “reactive” mode most of the time, I would be a very unhappy, restless, tired and exhausted woman! How can you get more “proactive” and get out of “reactive” mode? Here are a few tips and solutions:
1. Change “Yes” to “No” – Women are nurturers by nature. We like to be helpful and supportive. It’s a challenge for us to say “No.” The next time someone asks you to do something, I invite you to pause for a moment and ask yourself if this request is one that calls you to action. If someone’s in a real bind, that’s one thing. But if it’s to take on a role that really doesn’t serve you or there may be someone else better suited for the role, maybe you should consider a “No” response. In my Women’s Success Circles, I share with women that there are actually four answers to a Yes or No question!
2. Plan for Downtime – When you see that you have a busy day, plan for some breaks in-between meetings or events. Even 10 minutes can recharge your battery before moving on to the next big task. Make sure you take time to eat lunch in the middle of the day, take a few moments to breathe, get re-focused, and refreshed for the afternoon.
3. Get some support – Find ways to automate, delegate, or delete more of the “to do” items on your list. This is essential for women who are committed to living a life that is passionate and on-purpose with meaning. You can do it all, but you can’t do it all by yourself. It was a tough lesson for me to learn but one that I clearly embrace in my life today. I just brought another person onto my team, as there is no way that I could achieve my “Proactive” life without more help from others.
What I just shared with you is what I left out of my life yesterday. Making too many commitments to others, not giving myself enough downtime in between appointments, and not taking full advantage of the support I have in my life. The above solutions are simple to put into place and they will help you to navigate a clear, well thought out plan for your day and your life. Will there be unavoidable storms on the horizon? You bet. But as I share with the women in my Success Circles; if you can navigate a “proactive” life 85% of the time, you will be sailing into the high seas with plenty of blue sky filled with energy, passion, purpose, and meaning.
“How we spend our days, is of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard
Anything is possible. Everything is waiting for you.
Copyright 2009 Joy Chudacoff
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