Getting proactive in slow seasons allows for success in hectic stretches

Blog-Byline-RobertWhen it comes to taking action and tending to responsibilities, we typically find ourselves acting in one of two manners. We’re either reactive or we’re proactive.

When operating on reaction, we often find ourselves as victims of circumstance. As we succumb to the tyranny of the urgent, other responsibilities, and in many cases pastimes, are pushed to the back burner. Some people excel in scenarios where they fly by the seat of their pants, but you can’t thrive long-term flying by the seat of your pants. It takes its toll on one’s productivity and health. And your pants.

Some situations can’t be prepared for, so you are forced to react. President George W. Bush stuck to a daily schedule while in the White House that kept him consistently moving forward. However, no amount of preparation could prepare the administration for what happened on September 11, 2001. In the wake of 9/11, the President and his administration were forced to abandon their schedule and operate on an hour-by-hour basis. Because of their discipline, they were able to return to a normal schedule after about three weeks.

The Bush Administration was proactive and set up a system in which they could thrive. They took action well before they had to so that they were ready for the storm. When striving to be proactive, we are able to get out in front of the unexpected. It frees us up for refinement and innovation. There is little room for refinement and innovation when shooting from the hip, simply reacting.

This reactive/proactive tension is constantly present for the National Staff. We are typically at the mercy of deadlines and the happenings within the chapter. There is always something to be done and any number problems lurking around the corner that we don’t yet know about.

When I served as a national advisor, tending to nine chapters at a time, I would set goals for what I hoped to accomplish for the week knowing that I needed to have a loose grip on those plans. Some weeks, I would plan to get ahead on a given project only to have some sort of situation come up in my chapters that required a substantial amount of time and energy that I hadn’t accounted for. I never knew what the week would hold. I couldn’t prepare for some of the situations I had to walk through.

The job required me to live reactive until summer rolled around. When summer comes, the students go, resulting in a work schedule that is far easier to plan. We look forward to summer knowing that we would have the chance to recharge the batteries to a certain degree.

We leverage the proactive season to prepare for the reactive stretches to come. We have the freedom to push forward with ideas and projects that we simply had no time for during the semester.

DSC_4734We developed the plan for the inaugural COR Leadership Retreat during the summer, over a year before the event was held. Before school starts, the staff will have November’s National Officer Training planned in great detail. There is about 12 square feet of dry erase board in the office devoted to summer to-do lists.

Summer is an important time to recover, but the hiatus is not to be abused. It’s still important to redeem your summer. One of the best ways to redeem your summer is to turn your attention to tasks, projects and goals that you don’t have time for during the school year.

There is clearly much to be accomplished for the officers over the summer, evidenced by an eight-page document given to the presidents that provides reflection questions and outlines tasks that should be accomplished before school starts up again.

Not everyone is an officer or a member of the National Staff. However, there are plenty of ways our men will proactively fill their time this summer. A number of brothers will empty themselves through camp ministries. Other will take on jobs and internships that prepare them for the future.

Many will have additional free time to be redeemed. Read a good book. Start a work out. Invest in your friendships. Just do something. You won’t make the most of your summer by living in some online video game fantasy land or having Netflix ask you on a daily basis if you’re still watching. Make the most of this season by being proactive.

Summer is an important time to recover, but the hiatus is not to be abused. It’s still important to redeem your summer. One of the best ways to redeem your summer is to turn your attention to tasks, projects and goals that you don’t have time for during the school year.

There is clearly much to be accomplished for the officers over the summer, evidenced by an eight-page document given to the presidents that provides reflection questions and outlines tasks that should be accomplished before school starts up again.

Not everyone is an officer or a member of the National Staff. However, there are plenty of ways our men will proactively fill their time this summer. A number of brothers will empty themselves through camp ministries. Other will take on jobs and internships that prepare them for the future.

Many will have additional free time to be redeemed. Read a good book. Start a work out. Invest in your friendships. Just do something. You won’t make the most of your summer by living in some online video game fantasy land or having Netflix ask you on a daily basis if you’re still watching. Make the most of this season by being proactive.

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