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The other bucket list

There are only three buckets in the professional and organizational worlds, and you are in one of them. 

The proactive bucket

The first and most beneficial and productive bucket of people is the proactive bucket. This bucket is filled with people who have something to prove. These “buckateers” have a bias for action. They are risk takers and never run from a fight. These are the 20 percent who get 80-90 percent of the meaningful work done in their professional endeavors and their societal contributions. Without this bucket, not much that can be labeled as productive gets done. These are the leaders, leading themselves and now — or in the future — leading others, either by appointment or assumption. This bucket is filled with learners.

The reactive bucket

This bucket is filled with people who are always in a tizzy. Nothing productive happens because of their actions, stuff happens because of a lack of their actions. They are always in a hurry and cannot tell anyone, with any clarity, where they are headed, or when they might arrive. Stuff is forever getting in the way of real progress and they truly cannot see the forest because there are too many trees. The “why-me” refrain is common and protects them from a deep self-evaluation. After all, in their minds, the events leading to this state of chaos is not a result of anything they did. It is what it is. This group has no time for learning.

The inactive bucket

People in this bucket are more often than not occupying bucket space because life is unfair. They sit around and wonder what happened and rarely ask why. They say things like; “I am doing the best I can,” “I did my part and others did not do theirs,” “I did not put myself in this place, the unfair and unreasonable business world did,” and on and on. Clearly, life is far too clear to them, too easy to blame others. And this life, the life of the inactive, is not a life of choice, but a life of chance. Of course, they will not accept that if they were willing to take a chance or take multiple chances they would either not be in this bucket, or be climbing out. This group will not let go long enough to learn. 

You are in one of these buckets. Which one?

Dennis Wade is the president and publisher of The Lawton Constitution. He can be reached at

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