This is a word scramble that makes all the difference. In speaking with a client the other day, I had asked him to recap and CLAIM the shifts he had experienced in the recent month of coaching. His response was brilliant.
“I’ve gone from living in a reactive place to living in a creative place.”
Of course I immediately wrote this on a post-it note to remember to write this article:
“REACTIVE v. CREATIVE”
And I noticed, how interesting that just moving one letter (the “C”) creates a world of difference! Let’s explore.
Reactive = concerned with or responsive to stimulus; precipitated by an external cause.
When we are reactive, our external circumstances are in charge of our lives. It’s not intentional, but we are consistently responding to our subconscious programming – the “hot buttons” we have developed over time that help us to: 1) Stay Safe, 2) Be Right, 3) Avoid Responsibility. We are reacting to the way we learned to interpret life and survive.
You will know if you are in reactive mode if you have that sense that you are stuck – that you are repeating the same behaviors, yet don’t know how to do it differently. We become reactive when we are stuck in, what I call, the “hallways,” having a hidden commitment to disempowering behaviors motivated by pleasing, fixing, controlling, blaming, etc. (If you missed my Power in the Hallways program, and want it, send an email inquiry!) We carry out these behaviors without being conscious of how we’re being in life, as we learned them as survival tactics early in life.
Creative = resulting from originality of thought or expression; originative, productive
In order to be creative in our life, or be the creator of our own life, by definition we must release the old reactive mechanisms. Creative actions and decisions come from within. We are making conscious choices about what we want. We are choosing the thoughts we think, and attracting the results we desire based on what we think about. We become the master of our destiny.
Reactive: I am between jobs, and a friend offers me work. The work is not at all interesting to me, but because I have beliefs that “I should take what I can get” and “It’s important to make other people happy,” I say yes to my friend without even bringing conscious thought to the decision. I then feel stuck in the job, and I missed the chance to create what I want next.
Creative: When offered the position, I would run the thought through my conscious mind and ask, “If I were creating my life, would I create it in this way?” If no, I’d have a straightforward conversation with my friend about what I am REALLY wanting next. Who knows? The friend may be able to help me create that. Sharing what I want will help the creative process.
This same thinking could be applied to any business decision. There is a reactive path, based on automatic thinking, and a creative path, based on conscious thought processes. We will always be happier and more fulfilled when we are creating.