Are you Active or Reactive?

I work in a transaction based business. My former boss always liked to say that in the world of commercial real estate everyone likes to think they take an active approach to the market, meaning they are strategic in their decisions and that they are prepared for any fluctuations.

But the reality is that most brokers and developers are reactive. They have best intentions, but their attention is quickly diverted by the latest and greatest deal that comes across their desk because it sounds more exciting than the tried and true.

Most of us function the same way in our personal lives. We want to be active and get out ahead of changes in the tide.

We want to be fiscally responsible and plan for big changes, like purchasing a house or kids’ college tuition or retirement.

We want to maintain our car with regular oil changes or tire rotations and check-ups. And we want our health to be good and stable by regularly exercising and eating a balanced diet.

If you are active, things are constant. You have a routine. You make consistent choices. You are like steady waters:

The truth though is most of us are reactive. Disaster happens – the refrigerator breaks and we have to scramble to figure out how to pay for it; the doctor tells us we are overweight and now we have to change our diet and find a gym; or we lose our job and now we are trying to figure out whose in our network and what happened to that old copy of our resume.

The tidal wave appears and now we are swimming for dear life to get to safety.

I bring this all up because it is really hard to be active. I’m finding this to really be the case for myself in 2021.

I tend to be an extremely organized person and I always have a plan in mind. Yet this year my plan keeps changing.

It’s easy to come up with a plan but difficult to execute and stick to it. Saving away money or making sure we go to the gym three times per week.

Regularly going for checkups with our doctors or committing to story time with the kids before bed each night. It takes discipline and it sometimes feels restrictive.

Yet the benefits are clear. Getting out ahead of the tidal wave helps us avoid the impending dangers in life.

Our daily decisions don’t guarantee safety, but they will help us be prepared.

The stress caused by this new position I took on at work over the last six months has the potential to overwhelm.

I already seeing it here and there leading to bad habits – skipping the gym because I feel like I need to just veg out or grabbing that pastry on the way into my office because I think its going to be comforting.

In my own life, being active means:

  • Scheduling my workouts each week on my calendar so that they are a priority and not decided on a whim.
  • Bringing a healthy lunch to work so that I don’t default to the quick and easy sandwich, chips and cookie at the nearby deli.
  • Going to bed at a consistent hour each night so that I am well rested and more mentally sound.
  • Organizing my to-do list for work using calendar reminders and other tools so that I can better manage my workflow.
  • Making sure I go in for a bi-annual physical check-up so that I can better monitor my personal health and detect unhealthy trends before they become risk factors.

To overdo it on the metaphor, I don’t want the waves to come crashing down on me and find out that I don’t have a life vest or even some floaties.

Life is unpredictable and that’s okay because it would be boring otherwise. But when it brings surprises that are not welcome, like stress and sickness, our strongest defense will be an active life.

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