Covey’s Habit 1: Be Proactive

Definition: Oxford English Dictionary
1930; pro-, prefix, denotes earlier occurrence.
Person, Policy, or Action creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.

A preemptive step or method of thinking about situations becomes Covey’s first habit of highly effective people.

Being proactive is associated with responsibility, or as Covey states “response-ability”.

It is an individual’s decision to take control of their own life and move it in the direction of their choosing.

As a result, they make the life they want and they influence their immediate surroundings in the way they communicate.

Positive communication has a much greater influence than negative and expands that person’s Circle of Influence.

“One of the most important things you choose is what you say. Your language is a good indicator of how you see yourself.” Covey’s Habit 1

This circle is where a proactive person chooses to focus their energy without blame or justification.

I communicate in a positive manner about situations and consistently act on my Circle of Influence by:

  • Pursuing the role of a continuous learner
  • Guiding family response to situations and assuming control of their lives
  • Working with students to recognize this kind of control over their response, eliminate their negative reactions to situations, take response-ability for their lives and dictate their own trajectories
  • Providing colleagues support by listening to their particular challenges, sharing unfiltered information I glean from my continuous learning but do not lay blame if they misuse or ignore the information presented
  • Focusing energies on the learning process and share it without condition and minimal filters

This is how I strive to be proactive.

I believe that stakeholders in the education process should be open about communicating needs and taking responsibility for results.

If the workforce is lacking particular skills, then industry is not communicating clearly enough about current and future needs.

The education pipeline is now 15 years long (K-14).  An extended process by any industry definition.

By statute, the state dictates that participants can change direction every five years, subjecting participants to wholesale change in direction and scrapping current practice for the “new thing”.

Stakeholders should be less concerned about laying blame about where failings have occurred and take responsibility for communicating their needs and supporting improvements to the process.

They should acknowledge that they have “skin in the game”.

This would be proactive.


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