Taking initiative and being proactive are highly rated personal qualities, especially for entrepreneurs and managers. You have to take steps, beat the competition and set up new initiatives. I don’t believe this is true.
Taking Initiative And Being Proactive Is At The Core Of Our Culture
I just looked at a few websites about the 5, 6 or 11 qualities that an entrepreneur should have. Taking initiatives is on many of those lists. Why is this so important?
First of all I think that proactivity and taking initiative are core values in our (Dutch) society. The Dutch have always been an active people, exploring the seas and trading with the whole world. We have always created new ways and exploit opportunities.
Another reason why these values are important is because of the idea that we can create everything we want. Since the industrial revolution we have the idea that we can create everything we want. We have enough proof of that if we look at the wonderful technological progress that we have realised. We see the world as a machine that we can control and modify to our wishes. We use the same metaphor if we look at businesses and entrepreneurship. At the same time from a more spiritual perspective we are taught that we create our own world. Movies like “The Secret” show us that we are the creators of our lives.
This is the reason that entrepreneurs and employees are expected to take initiatives and to ‘mold’ the world to their needs. Proactivity becomes the key to a makeable and controllable world. This is a wonderful and safe idea, but is it correct?
In all the years as an employee, an entrepreneur and coach and consultant I have discovered another dimension of entrepreneurship and creating successes. This does not always depend on the degree of proactivity. Even the opposite! I think that a too strong focus on proactivity makes you do business much worse. In this blog I will give you 3 reasons why.
1. Only 9% Of The People Is Born To Initiate
In my coaching and consulting I like to use the Human Design system to get more insight in the optimal strategies for people to get more customers, take decisions and create success. The Human Design system distinguishes between four types of people: Manifestors, Generators, Projectors and Reflectors.
Only the Manifestors are the people that have the energy and power to initiate. These are the leaders that lead the troups. These are the change agents and innovators. It is good to know that only 9% of the people is Manifestor. The rest are one of the other three types. These types are very good at reacting. They should not be proactive at all. They function best if the react. Not because they are lazy or do not want to do anything, but because this is the strategy that fits their system, the way they are built (both physically and energetically).
This means that all entrepreneurial tips and trics are focused on Manifestors. It is true that this is by far the more entrepreneurial type, but it does not mean that the other types cannot create or run a business. They just have to find another way. So if you do not feel comfortable with the general ideas about getting customers, leading a business or creating new initiatives, you might be one of the other types in Human Design and might just not have been built for proactivity and taking initiatives.
2. Proactivity And Taking Initiaves Distract You From Your Intuition
By being proactive all the time, your focus is outward. You are busy creating, taking new initiatives and actions. Proactivity is an active stance. My experience is that this makes you alert, focused and in the action mode. Maybe you will say “But that is great!” because if you are doing business it is important to be focused and get things done. We like to see actions and results.
The question is if this stance will lead you to the right actions and the right results. Furthermore it is the question if you get the results in the most efficient way. I do not mean efficient as in cheap, but I mean efficient in many ways. Does it take too much energy? Do your actions have unwanted side effects? Does your focus make you miss important aspects? And does the proactivity make you lose yourself or even the values of your company?
I value the moments in which I can switch from the action to the being mode. To stand still and to be quiet. This gives room for the voice of my intuition to be heard. I can connect with what is alive inside of me, with every part of me that is involved. I connect with my intuition, my inner wisdom which is connected the the field of unlimited possibilities.
By stopping like this and sensing, you will connect with what I call the intuitive layer, the flow. By tuning in to this layer, you can decide what is your next step. Not by being proactive, but instead by reacting to what presents itself from within.
3. By Being Proactive And Focused You Miss Out On The Magic Of Life
By being proactive and taking initiatives, it seems like you have control of your business and life; like you are the driver who steers and controls. This is a remnant of the Industrial Age when we looked at everything with a machine metaphor. This has helped us a lot and has given us the prosperity and progress we enjoy everyday. At the same time it has removed the magic from our lives.
By being a little bit more reactive, opening up for the meaningful coincidences (synchronicity) and the little presents that you encounter, doing business becomes a lot more fun, easy and marbled with magical moments. If I had not opened myself, but proactively approached my international ambitions, I would have never have ended up in Bulgaria. Then I would have never have given a training in Paris, I would have never been asked for a workshop in China and would have never have been to Porto and Braga in Portugal to facilitate city constellations. Then I would have not have participated in a European Erasmus+ project to give youth workers a method to teach young people entrepreneurial skills in an intuitive way. Most of all it would not have gone so naturally and smoothly as it has gone now.
By tuning in to your dream, your wish or ambitions and then reacting to what shows up on your path, you can create success in a much easier way. Moreover you can enjoy the magical moments that (business) life has to offer.
Tune In To Your Intuition And To The Magic Of (Business) Life
In short: explore if proactivity is something that suits you. Does it give you energy? Does it make you happy? Do you create the results you like? Then keep on being proactive. If not, find out what happens if you become more reactive; what happens if you move your attention and focus inwards and if you use your intuition to connect with the vast source of information and life energy; if you focus your attention outwards with a broad view to use the synchronicities that you encounter to take the next step.
Of course you will need to take action. Of course you will have to face your fears and of course you will have to show courage and guts to move forward. The source is not being proactive and full of initiatieves, but tuning in ot your intuition and the magic of life!
I would love to hear your experiences. Please leave them in a comment below this post. Thanks.