Here it comes!!!…..click, click, click….the roller coaster is slowly rising up the steep embankment….you can feel your heart racing….the climb feels painfully slow as you anticipate what is yet to come. As you are periodically jerked forward your breathing quickens. You realize that you are trapped into a tight vehicle that will be soon be going faster than your eyes, breath, and stomach can keep up. Click, click, click, you’re at the top…hold on!!!
So let me stop that coaster and ask….are you filled with excitement and anticipation for the speed and loss of gravity that is about to come or are you feeling anxious or fearful? Like the amusement park’s roller coaster, life’s roller coaster can be rickety and bouncy, moves too fast (and at times too slow), it can spin you in all different directions, it rushes you around curves and puts you into a free fall. Although we cannot prepare for all of the toppsy turvey bumps and turns of life’s roller coaster ride, we can be “response-able” for the experience.
Being response-able is taking proactive responsibility for our lives. We create our own responses and reactions to the roller coaster’s movement both consciously and unconsciously. When we are response-able, we choose our responses to situations rather than letting situations overwhelm us. It is our choices that determine our happiness or sadness, our fear or courage, our successes or failures. If we are unhappy, fearful, or are focused only on failures, we are not thinking and reacting proactively.
The difference between an individual who is proactive or reactive is their responses when the roller coaster is not moving the way they wanted; one individual lives within the circle of influence, the other within the circle of concern. (I’m a big Dr. Stephen Covey fan, these thoughts are right from Habit 1.) A reactive person is bound within the circle of concern and finds soleus in blaming others for their circumstances; their negative actions and their behaviors are a result of living within the circle of concern.
A proactive person lives within the circle of influence. They understand there are many things while riding the roller coaster they have no control over so instead they focus their time and energy on the things they can control. Proactive individuals are constantly preparing for the future, know how to stay present in the moment, and are ever moving forward to make their life happier and more fulfilled. They understand it’s about letting go and enjoying the ride rather than white knuckling it full of worry and stress.
“I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it’s proactive and there is positive intent behind it.” Michael J. Fox
Being proactive is a way of thinking and acting. It includes foresight and anticipation of “what if scenarios.” Proactivity uses the lessons of the past to identify the obstacles of the future. When challenges appear, proactive individuals take the bull by the horns and put a plan of action together so the challenge doesn’t become a roadblock.
“Real freedom is creative, proactive, and will take me into new territories. I am not free if my freedom is predicated on reacting to my past.” – Kenny Loggins
We all have the choice to be proactive. We can choose our attitude and our responses to the unexpected bumps and twists that catch us off guard. I choose to be prepared, have a road map, contingency plans, and know that there are many things in life that I cannot control. Come and join me in making the choice to enjoy the ups and downs of the proactive roller coaster ride with me.