One of the best qualities I have realized I possess is my proactive nature. This go-getter spirit has led to countless connections and opportunities, all because I put myself out there and went for something.
Most of the time, this “something” was not concretely pre-defined, but always a potential. How can I get involved with this project/web site/organization? Is your company hiring in the near future? How can we team up? While many of my attempts to be proactive did not lead anywhere, many others did. In fact, I’m writing this column thanks to my proactive nature. And what’s more, as I am currently seeking full-time employment since graduating from college, I am realizing quickly that I need to be proactive in order to stand out among a pool of applicants. Being proactive is about making leaps forward, taking risks and aiming to gain new opportunities.
Being proactive seems to be a quality inherent in the Like a Boss community—take a look around. In a recent article, we met engineers Bettina Chen and Alice Brooks, who saw a need for girls to become more hands-on with during playtime and thus created Roominate, a build-your-own dollhouse product. And then there’s Abigail Harrison, who is not only dreaming about being the first astronaut on Mars by 2030, but trying to do something about it by campaigning for her launch into space. To me, proactivity is at the “heart” of Like a Boss. We are all go-getters in some way or another.
Being proactive can help you to land a summer job, activate a campaign or even write a column for a website you admire. Here are some helpful tips that I have stuck to when letting my proactive nature shine through:
Don’t be afraid to send a cold e-mail. This has nothing to do with temperature but instead means emailing someone with whom you would like to connect and with whom you have never been in contact before. Be kind, polite and sincere. Tell the recipient something you admire about their company, blog or organization and why you want to connect in the first place. Make your proposal and tell them how much you look forward to hearing and learning from them in the future.
Be patient. Often, the people we look up to are also the busiest! I have heard back from people anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Many times, I never even heard back, for whatever reason, but those who did take the time to write back have become meaningful mentors, teammates, employers and so forth. And it was all because of a few leaps of faith.
Go for it. As Founder and CEO of Amazon.com Jeff Bezos said in a 2010 commencement speech at Princeton University, “In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.”
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