Proactivity; Take Control Now

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December 30, 2014 by Rick B

Over the holiday weekend I had the good fortune of visiting with friends and family. During one of these visits I ran into an old friend, Bob, I hadn’t seen in years. He confided in me and another friend that he had recently suffered a heart attack and his doctor told him—after his bypass surgery—that he needed to make radical lifestyle changes if he didn’t want to suffer another heart attack.

Unfortunately, he wasn’t having a lot of success changing his routine. Christmas, he told us, with all of its trappings, prohibited him from cutting back on his drinking and eating healthier, and the cold dark days left him too listless to exercise.

Understandably, this friend was depressed and scared. That’s when our mutual friend quoted Ralph Waldo Emerson with this simple piece of advice. “Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.” He then asked Bob if there was anything he wished he could do. Without hesitation Bob told us about how his son and grandson shared a love of bike riding and how they used to ask Bob to join them on their biking adventures, but had quit inviting him about a year ago. Bob believed they had given up on him and his ability to join them which added to his depression.

“Be led by that dream!” Our friend told him. It was inspirational to see the spark return to our sad friend’s eyes as the three of us talked strategy, figuring out what it would take to get Bob in shape in time for him to join his son and grandson on a trip they had planned for June.

Anyone that knows me knows I am a big supporter of the plan your work, then work your plan philosophy. I believe in being proactive rather than reactive. For me, it’s a lot less stressful. I would rather anticipate trouble and make changes accordingly than be surprised by a problem that suddenly comes up.

The best way to be proactive is to develop foresight. I am an information junky. As anyone I work with can tell you, I love my reports and glean the information they provide daily. You need to look for patterns that help you understand how things work, that way you can make educated predictions about your business. When you are reactive you let events set your course. Proactivity allows you to look ahead and change your course before events takes place. You know what they say about an ounce of prevention, don’t you?

You also need to be able to look at the big picture. It’s like playing chess, you need to understand the long-term consequences of your actions. Most decisions don’t stand alone, they are linked and can cause of chain of events—some good, some bad.

According to the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, proactivity is also about taking control of how you view your circumstances and understanding the need to take full responsibility for your life.

I love that Ralph Waldo Emerson quote. When you are led by your dreams, you are driven to be proactive by positive thoughts rather than reacting to a negative or fearful problem.

I hope your dreams for 2015 lead you in wonderful directions.

Rick Brammer is president and co-owner or United Credit Service, Inc.

Founded in 1950, United Credit Service, Inc. is a full service, licensed revenue cycle management and debt collection agency in Wisconsin providing highly effective, customized one on one management and recovery solutions for our business partners. We offer pre-service collection solutions as well as traditional back-end collections. Visit our website at or call 877-723-2902


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