Proactivity: concept, angles and implications #IPS2016

The International Proaktivity Summit 2016 kicked off on Thursday 29th of September with an introductory lecture of Mr. Daniel Wisniewski, President of YouthProAktiv.

The lecture focused on the concept of proactivity, both with examples from Mr. Wisniewski’s personal experience and following the definition and characterization of proactivity by Steven Covey, author of the book “Seven habits of highly effective people”, considered as the manifesto of proactivity.

The definition of proactivity by Covey is “the realization that you, and only you, are in charge of your life”; clearly the environment and setting you are from have influence, but ultimately you are always in charge. This concept was applied by Mr. Wisniewski in his personal life, coming from a small village in Poland to becoming President of YouthProAktiv after a successful career in EU public affairs.

Especially from the vision of YouthProAktiv stems the idea of becoming proactive in everyday’s life. Mr. Wisniewski recalled that, as YouthProAktiv’s strategy aims to lobby for implementing professional skills into education programs, the underlying issue was that many young people feel lost after university, with no idea on their skills and strengths; proactivity as a concept provides a direction to reach more self-awareness and, therefore, more satisfaction and realization.

The following point touched by Mr. Wisniewski during his speech was related to how can one take charge of his/her own life. The answer lies in scaling the circle of influence. Everyone has different social roles in his life, as student, father, mother, husband, friend etc. The first step to implement proactivity in one’s life is to recognize and act on his circle of influence, by investing energy in the things that need to change to obtain a better situation and performing better our social role. In this sense, the term responsibility is essential. As the sum of the concepts response+ability, taking responsibility to be proactive and work on your circle of influence is the response to a specific situation, no matter how difficult or harsh this may be.

In order to set the right tone about proactivity, which is of course one’s strictly personal feature, it is vital that a set of values is determined and recognized within oneself. Which are my own values? What are the steps I need to take in order to be a better person, following my values? Taking these steps is what proactivity is all about.

Another important concept of proactivity is how to plan and start planning. The answer lies in “beginning from the end”. One has to visualize a picture of the end and see what he/she wants to achieve, to then start taking steps in that direction. If the current situation is not of one’s likes, turning tables and thinking outside the box are fundamental steps to take: it will not, of course, always be possible to look for the perfect solution, but it is important to work towards that direction. One has to work to find win-win solutions, not mere compromises.

The last point of the lecture dealt with the importance of learning and communicating effectively. Listen to people around you, have a clear communication with them and yourself are the first steps towards knowledge and enrichment of your persona. This will translate into synergies and cooperation amongst similar-minded people, with the ultimate goal to create a shared vision to be transformed into a life or business project.

In conclusion, the importance of self-renewal was stressed. Once one has discovered his/her values, goals and principles, it is important that he/she keeps on renewing his persona by considering the multidimensional nature of his own. Balance and openness are the key factors that allow proactivity to continue and guide an individual in the path of authenticity and success.