Being Proactive – Hit the Winning Ball Now

Go For It

“Go for it.” “Dig!” This was my high school volleyball coach yelling at us in practice. She always reminded us to Be Proactive. We shouldn’t wait for the ball to get to us before we move. We were to anticipate where it was going and move towards that area. She encouraged us to get in the right position in order to get to the ball first. Our volleyball team was not the best in the area. Frankly, we were dead last! But her lesson stuck with me over these years.

A few years later, I encountered this concept of “Be Proactive” again when I was introduced to Stephen’ Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. With this principle Covey encourages us to Be Proactive about the scripts that we use for our lives and take responsibility for them. He also encourages us to engage with others in a positive manner in order to broaden our circles of influence. This will often put you in the right position to succeed, to get to the ball first.

Being proactive serves me well. When I worked in the corporate world, if  I knew of a position that was available in an area that would help me to grow in my career; I would learn what were the qualifications for the position in order to assess how my credentials stacked up against the requirements. I was setting myself up to get to the ball first.

If there were any gaps, I worked to gain the knowledge and the experience to fill those gaps. I also spoke with the people doing the job to learn the pros and the cons of the position. This helped me to make an informed decision of whether it was a right fit for me or not. This also allow others to know that I was serious about my interest in the position. Being proactive also boosted my confidence level. More often than not, I would get the position…hitting the ball right over the net.

The times that I wasn’t proactive about taking action were generally times when I didn’t achieve what I wanted. They were times when I fell short of the goal. Being reactive puts me at a disadvantage more than not…in other words losing. Do you find this to be true also for you?

Stephen Covey advises that we can be proactive by using self-awareness to select the right scripts for our lives. We must also take responsibility for these scripts, because we are the ones who chose them.

In his podcast #131: How To Make Politics Work in Your Favor, keynote speaker and author Dre Baldwin uses the word Politics in an unorthodox way to demonstrate how not Being Proactive can hurt you. He states that if you lose a job position that you wanted to someone else, it is your own fault. You didn’t develop your “Politicking” skills to be proactive about getting the position.

Mr. Baldwin also shares recommendations for Being Proactive through better “politicking” techniques. The first thing he recommends is to improve your people’s skills. Sounds familiar…this is part of Covey’s recommendation not necessary stated in the same way. Being proactive about learning how to work best with others is a strong part of being successful. There are other steps that Mr. Baldwin shares to help you can develop your “Politicking” skills to gain more success. Listen to the podcast here #131: How to Make Politics Work in Your Favor.

Being Proactive in life has it’s advantages. Here are some of the benefits of practicing Being Proactive:

  1. Save you Time and Money
  2. Make you more prepared to handle most situations
  3. Gets you the guy or girl (had to throw that in there)
  4. Recognize earlier on when to make a change
  5. Develops Self-confidence
  6. Expend less energy
  7. Brings peace of mind

Looking back I can definitely say that Being Proactive feels a lot better that being reactive. What are some methods you use to Be Proactive? Let me know. I’d like to hear from you.

For those of you that are in reactive mode, what are you waiting for? “Go after it!” “Dig!” Put yourself in the right position to hit the winning ball now!


Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page to allow me to share more Purposeful thoughts, ideas and experiences with you. Feel free to leave a comment or share the article with others.


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently member of the Public Relations Team. She provides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Small Biz Evolution, LLC. She is a Speaker, an Author and a Business Manger/Agent for Professional Speakers.

5 Tips for Falling In Love With Sales

I Love Sales smaller

No business can survive without sales. If revenue is not coming in, your company will be out of business. Small business owners are more vulnerable to closing up shop due to lack of sales.

Of course, there are myriad of reasons why a business fails, but lack of sales is one of the more prevalent ones. The underling reason maybe bad marketing, wrong product, or poor customer service. Yet, when I meet with some of my clients that want to start their own business, fear of sales or lack of sales experience pop up often.

They will tell me: “I don’t like selling.” “I don’t have sales experience.” “I never sold anything before.” Jokingly, I would tell them: “Yes. You have sold before. From the time you were born, you were selling your mom and dad that you are so cute that they have to feed, bathe and clothe you.”

My view on sales is “sales is about forming relationships.” I also have to believe that through my products or services I can serve others. If a business owner does not believe that his or her products and services are not valuable or does not benefit his/her clients; then, they should close up shop right away. Why delay the inevitable.

There is no magical potion to sales. Sales is a game of numbers. The more qualified prospects you put in your sales funnel, the more likelihood you will close deals. But learning how to form relationships with your clients, delivering solutions to solve their problems and being present can result in magical moments in your sales results.

Here are some approaches I used when selling solutions to my clients:

1) Start with the Low Hanging Fruit: There are days when I don’t feel up to making the calls or going out prospecting for new clients. To get myself mentality prepared , I think of folks that are in my inner circle that could use my products and services. I focus on the ones that are pleasant to speak with, or it’s fun to be in their presence.

I don’t go with a hidden agenda. When I contact them, I ask how things are going and inquire if there is anything they are struggling with that I may be of assistance to them. If there is, they let me know. Then I offer to meet with them to see where there is a fit.

By starting with the folks that I have a great relationship builds my confidence to call on the ones that are newer to me. It makes me not fear getting a “no.” By the way, getting “no” isn’t such a bad thing. It gets you closer to a “yes.”

Having a hard time starting your sales day? Start with your low hanging fruit. Reach out to people that you know, people that you have sold to in the past, people that like and trust you.

2) Sell Only What You Believe In: When I worked in the corporate world, I had to believe in the products the companies were offering in order for me to go out and represent them. Being connected in that way made me passionate about selling those products or services.

The result of this passion was that I had more sales. There were times when a client wasn’t sure about the product, but due to my knowledge of the product and the passion I had about it, they bought from me. This is the same now that I am a business owner.

If you don’t believe in what you are selling, you will not come across as being authentic to your prospects. If you don’t believe it, why should they.

3) Sell Only What Your Clients Need: The consulting process I utilize, helps me to learn what issues my clients are experiencing in their businesses. By asking key questions, they open up to me; allowing me to learn where my products and services may be solve their business needs.

There are times when my products and service aren’t a good match for what problems they are facing. At this point of the consulting process, I let them know that it’s not a fit. I would rather lose the sale than deliver something I know will not work for them.

If you are out selling to your clients, don’t sell them an orange when they need an apple. It will make you feel better. Your honesty will pay off in the long run. Walk away from the sale. Before you do, ask them for a referral. Those that appreciate your honesty will be more than willing to open their list of contacts to you.

4) Be Present: As I mentioned previously, sales is a numbers game. If you are not on the phone making calls, networking through social media, attending networking events or visiting existing clients; you are missing out on opportunities to sell.

When I was writing my book, it took me out of the loop for a while. It was amazing how low my opportunity funnel declined. Once I kicked myself in the butt and pushed myself to Be Present online through my blogs; go to events and making the phone calls; my funnel increased, tremendously.

“I’ve found that luck is quite predictable. If you want more luck, take more chances, be more active, show up more often.” ~ Brian Tracy

If you are struggling with connecting with others due to an out-of-balance schedule, doing something small can still keep your sales funnel healthy. Make two are three calls a day to existing clients or new prospects may be all you need. Going to one event every other week might also prove to be of value.

5) Make It Fun: Life is too short to work from a place of fear, boredom, or misery. When I feel a spell of doubt about selling, I implement a reward system. I set a goal for how many calls I would make for the day. Or I may set a goal of how many qualified contacts I will make at an event. Then I would reward myself with something. It maybe as simple as treating myself to an ice cream cone or watching a playful movie.

Selling to me, is the “wine and dine” period in the sales cycle. If I’m wooing a client, I have to present the best me. This means I have to walk into any meeting on get on a call with a positive, upbeat attitude. This attitude is often infectious to the client, also.

No one wants to work with a dud. Find a way to make selling fun. Take the fear out of it. As a business owner, you have got to love selling or else find someone who does. If you don’t, your business will not be around for long.

Whether you follow these tips or not, remember that no business that rely on revenue can exist without sales. Find a way to fall in love with the sales process and take your business to newer heights.


Thank you for reading my post. Please hit the “follow” button at the top of the page to allow me to share more Purposeful thoughts, ideas and experiences with you. Feel free to leave a comment or share the article with others.


Marlene M. Bryan is a Distinguished Toastmaster, DTM. She is a certified speaker and leader by Toastmasters International. She is currently the District 47 Public Relations Officer, and leader of the Public Relations Team. Sheprovides her services to over 3800 members throughout the district. Marlene is the owner of Marlene M. Bryan, Corp. She is a speaker, an author, and a coach. Pick up the latest copy of her book Live a Diamond Life, A Life of Purpose: Diamond Cutters at

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