Being Proactive

Summer is here. In our industry the next few months are the most demanding. It’s a time when we learn if we’ve done enough work in preparation to minimize the complications today. The question really is “Have we been proactive?”

Being proactive is something we talk about quite often here at The Master’s. In fact, it’s one of the core values that we touch on with the team on a regular basis and is printed out on a large banner in our shop. But what does being proactive really mean when it comes to our personal lives?

For me, proactive planning in my life has evolved over the years. It started out with tried and true checklist for the day. What didn't get done got moved to the next to-do list. I was being proactive with my day, but it didn’t go much further than there. I soon discovered how much more effective it was for me to plan my days with my web calendar.

This was certainly a step in the right direction, I was now looking more at my week as a whole, rather than just the immediate tasks of the day. This method served me well for many years and is still a big part of my daily life! But to be completely honest, this serves me most at work, and there are many areas of my life where I want to be proactive, not just at work.

One of the most proactive steps we can take is to do a weekly planning session where you consider the key roles in your life and what your goals in those areas are. This is something Stephen Covey calls “Weekly planning by Roles” and for me, it’s become part of my routine every Sunday before church.

For example, I have several different roles I fulfill. I'm a husband, father, family member, business leader, church youth leader, etc. We all have many roles unique to our own lives. Every Sunday before the week begins, I go through each role one-by-one and ask, "What actions would make me better in this role this week?" and repeat the process with all of the key roles in my life.

In my role as a husband, it may be as big as planning a surprise weekend away or as small as planning to cook a nice dinner to give my wife a break one evening.
In my role as a father, it may be taking Griffin for a ride in my truck after work or taking him to the playground.

In my role as a family member, it may be making that phone call to mom or that visit to my brother I am always too busy to make.

In my role as a business leader, it may be having a positive conversation with a team member who is exceeding expectations or scheduling a drop-in visit with a client to check on how we are doing as a team.

The key is to think outside of the box a little and to make progress in areas that can easily slip by without focus. Proactively planning and looking at your life from the vantage point of separate (and sometimes competing) roles allows clarity like nothing else.

So many of us can get so easily pulled in different directions and never set our own compass of what we want to achieve in the week. This is one way to take back the reins and make sure your time is working for you. I challenge you to give it a try this week!