Thursday, 18 June 2015
Being Proactive Does Not Mean Having A Positive Opinion About The Concept Of Being Active
If there’s one piece of advice you can get in your career that will never be inaccurate, never be out of date, never cease to be useful, it’s this:
Be more proactive.
There is no real point of proactivity where you can’t keep pushing the boundaries.
It’s why whenever you have a performance review, even if you’ve done a near flawless job in the previous few months, you’ll almost always be told to work on being more proactive.
It’s an annoying answer because you’ll never stop hearing it.
It’s also a useful answer because it has the virtue of always being true.
The point to all this is not to feel bad about not constantly being proactive and inspired. And it’s not to feel bad about the ideas that other people think of that you don’t.
It’s to feel excited because you live in a world packed with innovation and potential – a world you get to be part of.
Feeling good, feeling energised about what you’re doing – that’s the first step to being more proactive.
Here’s one small story from my end. I always want to be more knowledgeable about the work my agency does, and what’s going on in the industries we work for. So I made a point of looking out for news articles on relevant topics, every day.
And, because I like writing, I started sending on news articles I thought were useful or relevant – and most importantly, that interested me – to the team of an account that I wasn’t working on. It wasn’t in my remit, but I enjoyed the experience of finding those stories and sending them over with a quick summary and a line or two of analysis. Soon some of these write-ups were going over to the client themselves.
And before long it was something I was known in the office for doing, and that I was to some degree relied on to do, because while I certainly wasn’t breaking any ground in finding these news stories, it was nonetheless filling gaps in our research coverage and in the all-important area of “showing the client that we know our shit, yo.”
That’s not an example to show how smart I am. It’s actually a very easy task. The challenge isn’t really in the task itself – it’s in finding these chances to learn in the first place.
There are a million ways to be more proactive – it’s an infinity of possibilities.
It’s just all about harnessing your passions and your skills. And then turning that energy into something that has value to other people.