This post is the 3rd in a series of posts where I've been studying the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey from a Christian entrepreneur’s perspective, and I'm summarizing and Biblically backing up each of the seven habits. Scroll to the end of this article for links to the entire series.
In his classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, writer and businessman Stephen Covey laid out seven habits he believed led to a flourishing life. I’ve been re-reading the book as a Christian entrepreneur and it inspires me. All of the principles can be found in the Bible!
I’ve been studying the book from a Christian entrepreneur’s perspective, so I’ve decided to do a series (see entire series here), summarizing and Biblically backing up each of the seven habits.
We start today with the first habit Covey delves into in the book, which lays the foundation for all the others: Be Proactive.
Proactive vs. Reactive Entrepreneurs
“Being proactive” is the first habit of the best-seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.
So what does the Bible have to say about being proactive, and how does this apply to our journey as Christian entrepreneurs?
I once had a business partner "borrow" $150,000 from our shared company bank account. The only problem was that he wasn't able to repay me. Instead, he went on a shopping spree to buy luxury items and investments.
It was incredibly irresponsible of him. I was left with $150,000 in credit card debt. It ruined my credit. The worst part is that he refused to take ownership of his mismanagement. I felt betrayed, alone, and overwhelmed with shame.
As a Christian business owner, how was I supposed to react to this situation I was in? I had written blogs and created devotionals on how to forgive bad business partners, and now I found myself faced with the ultimate business betrayal. Was I going to react the way the world would, or was I going to respond the way Jesus would?
Approximately 2 years after the incident, I received a call from my former business partner profusely apologizing. He said "Alex, the way you were able to stomach that debt and still continue to love me through it has inspired me and I will never forget it. I'm going to start repaying you $5,000 per month until the debt is paid off."
This has been my greatest business testimonial since becoming a God-first business owner in 2008. No single event on my Godpreneurial journey has shown more evidence of my growth as a Christ-centered leader than this one.
Instead of reacting to the atrocities that I had experienced by this terrible business partner, I chose to be proactive and LOVE him through it all. I kept on consulting him on his next business ventures. I kept on believing in him. I kept helping him try to launch a new business (on his own, of course). Eventually, he had success with another business venture and was able to start repaying me.
As Christian entrepreneurs, what should distinguish us from worldly business owners is one crucial difference - non-spiritual entrepreneurs are slaves to external stimuli, and can only react to these stimuli in the preprogrammed way that is in their nature.
We Godpreneurs, in contrast, are called to reflect on a stimulus before responding to it, and we are commanded to reprogram ourselves to respond in a specific, desirable way…God's way…the way Jesus would.
Steven Covey, The author of the best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, identifies "being proactive" as the FIRST of the seven habits. Although all seven habits are important, it's no surprise that this one has to be addressed first. It's almost as if every living moment is affected by our heart's ability to either react to a situation or proactively respond.
The author explains that a proactive person acts in advance to deal with an expected difficulty. A proactive choice is based on values and principles. But a reactive person makes choices primarily based upon desires, feelings, circumstances, conditions, and their environment.
As Christian entrepreneurs, God wants is to make proactive choices according to our feelings as long as the choice is compatible with Biblical values; but when we reactively make decisions on our own, based only on feelings, we often sacrifice our Christian values because of our feelings.
So what does the Bible say about Mr. Covey's first habit of proactivity?
GODPRENEURS MUST PREPARE - BE PROACTIVE
Although the word proactive doesn't appear in the Bible, Kingdom business owners are commanded to be prepared, which requires proactive behavior.
Peter says, "prepare your minds for action. . . ." (1 Peter 1:13).
As a leader in the marketplace, you must prepare your mind to act the way God commands in a given situation. Therefore, you must be proactive - you must act in advance, to deal with whatever situation we find ourselves in.
GODPRENEURS MUST BE READY - BE PROACTIVE
Prepared Kingdom-driven leaders are ready to act. Therefore, they are proactive.
Jesus tells us we must be ready for His return. He says, "You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect" (Luke 13:40).
Paul tells us to be ready for every good deed. He says, "Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed" (Titus 3:1).
And Peter tells us to be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks about our hope. He says, "but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you. . . ." (1 Peter 3:15).
Christian entrepreneurs must be proactive to be prepared, and be ready for all things that come our way in business.
HOW DO YOU NEED TO PROACTIVELY CHANGE?
When my business partner left me with $150,000 of debt, I decided to do the right thing, even if it cost me my pride and ego.
Maybe you were wronged in some way by a client or employee? Your attitude is to do the right thing, even if it costs you a lot of money.
As marketplace ministers, must set aside our sinful affections to follow Jesus. We must bear our cross, never allowing ourselves to react with sinful passions and emotion towards clients, employees, partners, and even our competition. We must make proactive decisions to do the right thing, and be ready to face whatever comes our way.
THE CHOICE IS YOURS
You always have a choice regarding sin along your entrepreneurial journey.
Paul says, "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Since you always have a choice whether to sin or obey God in business, you must proactively obey God rather than reactively give into temptation.
GODPRENEURS REFLECT RATHER THAN REACT
Imagine a world where all of us God-first business owners, when tempted, we allow the Holy Spirit to engage our minds and proactively reflect through the temptation, so we see the way of escape and obey God.
Imagine if we all sought the things above, setting our minds on the things above, considering the members of our earthly body as dead (Colossians 3:1-5).
Godpreneur Rule: Godpreneurs proactively obey God based on His word, and never react to situations in our business based on feelings alone.
Read the Whole Series: A Christian Entrepreneur's Perspective on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I pray you enjoy the series as much as I enjoyed creating it!