Proactive or assertive?

Which do you think is more important when it comes to getting the job done? Being proactive or being assertive?

The answer? It’s both.

OK, let’s back up for a moment. First, we’ll start by defining each term. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

Proactive – acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes

Assertive – confident in behavior or style

While both of these words seem similar, I’m going to further explain how these words are different and why you need both of these in your professional life to get better results.

Backstory.
Recently, I organized an event with a lot of tight restrictions and a short deadline. Planning and maintaining a checklist were the only ways to make this event possible. I was responsible for securing a party space, ordering the food, finding proper centerpieces and handling multiple contracts. To say I was stressed would be an understatement. However, I didn’t let that stop me. I kept a thorough list of everything that needed to get done before the day of the event. And I remained proactive. However, I came to learn that being proactive was not enough.

Even though I anticipated future problems, I lacked the confidence and eagerness I needed to get everything done as quick as possible. Because of that, I forgot to pay for the food and fell short when it came to setting up the decorations. After accepting the stupid mistakes I made, I realized that a check mark on your checklist doesn’t mean that your job is done. You have to continue to follow up and check behind those who have a part in getting your job done. In my case, I discovered that being proactive can only bring you so far. It is up to you to be assertive and finish your duties.

For example, if someone owed you money and agreed to deposit the money in your bank account, would you mark your job as done and just wait for that person to get around to it? Or would you check behind that person to see if your money is in there?

In other words, it’s important to have a balance between the two. Being both proactive and assertive will almost always give you the best results. And neither has more weight than the other. They’re both equal; one is not better or worse than the other.

Give yourself time to practice being proactive and assertive. These characteristics look different on everyone. Find what works best for you, and most importantly, remember that YOU are responsible for yourself, and YOU are the only one in charge of your actions.

Anything else to add? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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