I was given an assignment for work to read a chapter from the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and reflect on my chosen chapter via writing a blog. I chose habit 1, Be Proactive. So, here I am writing this blog the day before it’s due. How is that for being proactive? With that said, being proactive has never been a strong asset for me. I have typically been reactive. I adapt to what life throws at me and am pretty good at just letting life happen. Reading this chapter has been eye opening as to how I look and deal with everyday things in life.

By being a reactive thinker, you allow yourself to be affected by your physical environment. If your co-worker is having a bad day, then you allow their bad mood to affect your day as well. If it’s a rainy day, you choose to be gray and dreary as well, versus finding your own “sunshine” and making the best of the day anyway. As the chapter stated, “Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment…” I think this is true in many ways, especially in a work environment. It is easy to let a customer’s bad day or attitude rub off on you and ruin your day. I am quick to let that irate person make me feel inferior and inadequate.

I work for a small insurance agency in North Carolina. The habit of Be Proactive had me thinking of how I respond to others, to my environments and how I can be proactive instead of reactive as an agent. If I don’t allow a negative remark from a customer to ruin my day, then I hold the power of the situation. If I remain positive and proactive in responses, then I can remain in control. For example, if an insured is upset over a rate increase, instead of just saying “sorry, nothing I can do about that”, I can be proactive and still apologize for the rate increase but offer to re-quote his policy with other companies to try and find them the best rate possible.

Taking the initiative, being responsible and going the extra mile for the customer is what being proactive means to me. It is being prepared in advance and taking control of a task or goal. In the insurance world that can mean doing more than what the customer expects. Re-shopping policies before the renewal date, or quoting policies with multiple companies is a great way to be proactive. Taking the extra step will build rapport with your customers as well. Don’t settle for being a standard insurance agent, be willing to be proactive and show them why you are the best agency. This is what I plan to do. I plan to be proactive.

Jill Hasty is an agent with Carolina Insurance in Forest City, North Carolina.  If you would like to contact Jill, you may email her at Jill@CarolinaInsurance.com.