Be Proactive! Lessons from a SuperBowl Champion

Upon entering the workforce thirty years ago it became apparent that learning the rules of the new-jungle was critical if my plan to survive and thrive were to pan out.

In the early days a good friend (who had been working a real job for a few years) contacted me and suggested I look into a time management program. Reluctantly I forked over the $200 and dutifully attended classes and learned a new skill. After all, having been a competitive athlete for seventeen years taught me that seeking and attaining any advantage was important. Once the skill had been mastered and put to use the results were remarkable. Productivity soared, things got done and life after football took on a different bent. My proactive behavior paid dividends. Frankly acting proactively was a new concept all together.

Fresh off this experience my appetite for business knowledge was insatiable. This hunger led me to the teachings of Stephen Covey. It was easy to see how his approach to life in general and the application of his concepts worked well on both a personal and professional level. The first taste was the “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. WOW! Like so many people before me his concepts were life changing.

Throughout my business career I’ve met hundreds of people who embrace Covey’s concepts and others who work in jobs where his teachings are essential to being a strong performer.

We have seen it in so many places where his first habit is applied and the consequences are significant. Yet, so many people who claim to be Covey apostles can’t apply the first habit. Forget about the other six.

Be proactive!

In business today there is so much noise around being innovative, creative, disruptive and so on. I say it is all consultants speak. It sounds good but people are so entrenched in the status quo any semblance of change sends them looking for cover. After all being proactive suggests that someone needs to take on some degree of risk to forge positive change.

Nearly 50% of the US workforce is under the age of 40. This age group has made it clear. They want to learn on their terms. They want video, when they want it, where they want it and on their devices.

So, all you smart people who know the importance of being proactive yet embrace change like you are hugging a cactus, deal with the consequences. You will be left behind.

To those who are proactive, who are willing to take a risk however small or large, you will always be ahead of the pack.

Pete Cronan is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins and the Seattle Seahawks. He played college football at Boston College. He has been the color commentator on the Boston College radio broadcasts since 1988 and is currently the VP of Business Development for Videonitch.

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