I’ve noticed the theme of proactive versus reactive popping up in my life regularly. I mentioned it a couple posts back in passing. And since I keep noticing it, it’s time to take a harder look at what this means.

Every action that’s taken is proactive or reactive. Let me show you what reactive looks like. In finances, you can just pay the minimum balances, wait until you’re threatened with legal action, and checks are bouncing before you take care of your financial obligations. This causes a lot of stress and I’ve been there. It’s no fun crying in the bank. Reactive financial management isn’t a good thing and tends to make one feel bad.

carnations and mums from proactive vs reactive on shalavee-staging-1.local

You can wait until your family looks at you with hungry eyes to start thinking about dinner. Or until you are wearing your last pair of clean underwear before you do the laundry. Or wait for the call from the neighborhood association to ask you to move your dead bus from the place it has sat in front of your house festering in the sun for over 10 years.

When I haven’t acknowledged my power in my life then I’ve spent a lot of time waiting for others to make decisions for me. And probably resenting them for it. Sometimes letting it happen to us is passive aggressive and sometimes it’s just the lack of true understanding that we have the power to choose.

carnations and mums from proactive vs reactive on shalavee-staging-1.local

I love to quote Rush, a band from the 90’s. “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice”. We are never truly victims to the world when we have so many many choices and options at our disposal in our modern, and my North American, society. What works and feels better for me is to start being conscious of being proactive.

Proactive involves a little extra effort and always pays off with less stress, provided you want less stress. It feels like winning a scratch off lottery ticket to be happier, more productive, and a better mother. All good. Esteem boosting is just a to-do list and pro-action away.

carnations and mums from proactive vs reactive on shalavee-staging-1.local

I do understand that sometimes the way you always have done things is hard to change. Resistance comes from inside and outside. My low self-esteem had me a victim of a lot of people, places, and things people. When I recognized my ability to make a choice, I flipped a switch. And another. And another. And another.

Then, as I’m perusing my email this afternoon, I read this gem from a creative website I receive emails from and I immediately knew I needed to write something. ”Essentially, reading emails first thing in the morning triggers your reactive self. Instead, we need to get that proactive side of you turned on more often to see great things happen in your business.”

carnations and mums from proactive vs reactive on shalavee-staging-1.local

Before this year, I never wrote out life or career goals. Because I guess I always figured life was something that just happened to me. I do write budgets sometimes but since the baby’s arrival, I’ve had a harder time keeping up with bills and certainly not ahead of them. That’s about to change. Because every day is another chance to start over, that’s why.

Pro-activity starts with wanting something better. And I’m finally allowed to have that.

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    1. Linda, These words are like lemonade on a hot summer’s day. Makes me feel happy and worthy and refreshed to be doing what I do.

  1. I adore this post and the way it spells it all out. Proactive DOES feel so very much better, doesn’t it?! And yet, so very hard to do at times. I am also trying to be a bit more Proactive in my days. It seems so easy to think about being proactive for my kids – packing snacks, setting out clothes, etc. and yet I fail to do those things for myself even though I need them as much, if not more, than they do. I need the figurative clothes set out, the ducks in a row, to feel good and come at the day with the life and gusto that I want!

    1. Danielle,
      Funny the way we’d do for those we love and neglect ourselves. Yet, in order to be a less stressed Mommy, it surly would help if we had anything planned. And it doesn’t have to be perfect, sometimes it just needs to be something. Like writing. Just need to fill the page to begin. I hope you know I so appreciate your comment!

  2. Hey Shalagh,

    What a deep and insightful post on reactive vs proactive. You really painted an accurate picture of how living reactively feels like. All that stress, sadness and chaos.

    I’ve found it takes time to channel proactive behavior. Some days I still have to put out fires but it has really helped to have the extra hands in the business (I have a small team) that share in the responsibilities.

    “Pro-activity starts with wanting something better.” I love that you said that. You deserve better things and to always feel the way you want to!

    1. You Dear Mei are a lovely person for coming here to say nice things to me. And for that, I am immensely grateful. Thank you. And my gut knows the right way to go, it’s my head that’s cloudy and stubborn sometimes.

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