Being proactive is important because people and businesses who are proactive in the right areas usually win. We can see how this plays out by looking at the differences between successful companies and struggling companies. The differences between J.C. Penney and Nordstrom are apparent — one is always reacting to trends whereas one is setting them. And Airbnb and Uber were proactive in a different way, in that they disrupted their entire markets by seeing what others couldn’t see, and then jumped on their open opportunities. But, all three of these companies offer more than services and products; they all offer great experiences.
From these examples alone, we can see just how powerful being proactive can be in the marketplace. But there are lessons found in these business examples that we can use for our own lives, too. Here are three reasons that being proactive is important, not only for companies, but for each and every one of us:
1. Being proactive means that you are planning.
Nordstrom, Airbnb, and Uber all saw their plans come to life, and the same can happen for each and everyone of us, but we must first see the benefit in being proactive. When you’re proactive, it means you are not only dreaming, but you are putting a plan in place to tackle your dreams. Sure, having ideas in your head is one thing, but putting those thoughts out on paper is what begins bringing life to your goals. Recent studies performed by Dr. Gail Matthews, a professor from Dominican University, even show that written down goals result in success much more often than goals that are not written down. This is just one thing that proactive planning can do for you.
Planning also saves you time. When you’re in the moment, and you have to make a split-decision, many times it is much more helpful if you could have planned your response to what played out. Of course, you can’t see the future, but planning can get you pretty close. Planning allows you to sit down and see all of your possibilities. No, not every plan will work out in the way that you want it to, but at the very least it will keep you moving towards your dreams.
2. Being proactive means that you are seeing a need and filling it.
Nordstrom, Airbnb, and Uber all saw needs and filled those needs to help people find things they didn’t even know they needed. In fact, being proactive is the only way to see what people need, when they need it. However, in business, you can be too early or too late to market, whereas in life, it is never too early or late to begin. There’s only the now, and that’s always the best time to begin preparing. There are so many lost opportunities due to the fact that people just aren’t aware of people’s needs — right now or possible needs in the future — but being proactive changes that. It is proactiveness that leads to creativity and innovation. This reminds me of something that John Wooden said, “When an opportunity presents itself, it’s too late to prepare.”Proactiveness leads to creativity and innovation. Click To Tweet
3. Being proactive means that you aren’t becoming complacent.
Nordstrom, Airbnb, and Uber all understand the importance of remaining active. They are well-versed on trends, and if they know they aren’t where they should be in an area, they tweak their systems and infrastructure. In other words, you will never catch great companies being complacent, because they understand how important that being proactive is. Proactiveness can lead to greatness when there is purpose placed behind one’s direction.Proactiveness can lead to greatness when there is purpose placed behind one's direction. Click To Tweet
I would even go as far as to say that there’s nothing worse than complacency. This is because when you become complacent, nothing is happening, and you allow fear to take over. Being proactive and beating fear means that you are taking action in all the right areas. Yes, proactiveness means that you have to act, because you need movement to make thinking ahead worth your time.