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Responsive Proactivity: Doing What Matters Now

Have you ever felt in limbo, where you've had to endure an uncertain period of indecision, or whilst waiting for some kind of resolution? Yep, me too.

Brought up hearing "God helps those who help themselves", it was often difficult for me to sit back and give things a chance to unfold on their own. Then I would further compound my anxiety by worrying if I had just forced a set of square circumstances into a round hole; all in the name of doing something rather than nothing. In those days, in my mind, doing nothing was not an option because I had to help myself. This surely equals action, right? Hmm, no, not always.

Thankfully I grew up, lived a lot of life, learnt many lessons and continue to read an irregular pile of books. So the answers I have learnt for myself may be of interest to you now, especially if you feel stuck or thwarted; not knowing what to do for the best. It's really very simple, here's a real life example:


Larry relocated here to grow his business. He rented a house, but after a couple of years, the letting agent advised him the landlord wanted to sell the property, so he'd have to move out. Within minutes of reading the letter, Larry was on the phone to the agent expressing his interest in purchasing the property. Long story short, the house was eventually sold to another buyer, whilst Larry made alternative arrangements - but do you see what he did there?

Prior to the letting agent's letter, Larry wasn't looking to move house, he was passive on the issue. Following the agent's notification however, Larry swooped into responsive proactivity, immediately finding solutions for his housing problem. He remained proactively responsive until a new home was secured. Larry was passive on the issue right up until he needed to be proactive, and then he was proactive. Not everyone does this. Many people people shrink with fear, or get lost in analysis paralysis; like a rabbit stuck in headlights. Their sense of overwhelm glues them in place and they can often end up doing nothing. This can often make matters worse.

So how can you apply Responsive Proactivity to your situation?

If you're feeling in limbo, not quite sure if you should hunt down your goals or solution, or lay in wait to ambush them as they pass by, try a little of both. This is the method I have adopted and it works well. Put simply, if I know what I'm doing and have a clearly defined goal or solution, then I hunt it down until it comes to fruition. I am proactive all the way to the end.

If however, I experience a state of limbo - an uncertain period of indecision (as most of us do from time to time) - then I give myself permission to wait, to mindfully pause and not panic; or worry about the 'dead air' time. I give myself breathing space to allow events to unfold as they should, knowing full well that when the time comes for me to do my part, I am perfectly equipped to leap into responsive proactivity. Based on my past performance, I now trust that I have what it takes to do what it takes, through to completion. What does your past performance say about you?


And why do I allow the pause? Well, in the first instance we all need to habitually rest and recover, otherwise we turn into burnout zombies. In the second instance, when we practise the pause, we create space between our thoughts and frenetic activity, which then allows ideas, inspiration and invention to shoehorn themselves into our consciousness.

Take a second to think about your phone battery. If your battery was at 0%, would you expect your phone to work? Of course you wouldn't, because you understand the importance of recharging. Furthermore, aren't our phones generally programmed to update overnight, whilst recharging, connected to WiFi, but otherwise not in use? Well, the same can be said for you too. When you find yourself in limbo - enduring an uncertain period of indecision, or waiting for some kind of resolution - practise the pause and allow for updates to be downloaded. Allow ideas, inspiration and invention to enter through your thought and activity gaps. Once you're updated and sufficiently struck by inspiration, you can then deploy responsive proactivity to implement those ideas. It's simple when you know how.

None of us should try and rush what needs time to grow though. This is why we can find ourselves feeling frustrated in the first place. We impatiently wait for things to shake out in perfect time, but it's never fast enough, is it - or is that just me? This remains one of my ongoing life lessons to master, but if I remember to acknowledge this life fact, whilst practising the pause, before then deploying responsive proactivity, I can significantly reduce the potential for anxiety. So why don't you give it a try?


Go about your life and achieving your goals. When you hit a frustrating period of limbo and uncertainty, practise the pause. Mindfully slow down your brainwaves via rest, decompression and meditation etc. This allows ideas, inspiration and invention to enter into your now quietened mind. Once you have your idea or solution, leap into responsive proactivity and make it happen.

Don't ever just stop dead during periods of limbo and uncertainty, as this could exacerbate your frustration. Always be doing something positive and valuable. Always be moving forward somehow until the pause feeds you with new information and inspiration, and then get to work with responsive proactivity.

Hope it helps, be great!

Karan x


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