It has long been one of my very favourite books, and seeing this white board video of Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People on my LinkedIn page brightened up a rather dull week!
Habit Number 1 – Be Proactive
Reactive people always focus on the things they can’t control, it takes the least amount of effort. Proactive people (of which I hope I am one 🙂 ) realise that even if their complaining is relevant and on point it still does absolutely nothing to help the situation. A proactive person concentrates their energy on what they CAN control – anticipatory, change-oriented, and self-initiated behaviour.
Go out and build the well before you are thirsty, amend our treatment of the planet before humanity destroys itself, organise your accounts throughout the year rather than waiting for taxman submission day, be flexible in the face of the inevitably unexpected …
Habit Number 2 – Begin With The End In Mind
Are you doing the things today that you want to be remembered for? Are you afraid of failure and therefore comfortable with safe yet ultimately unsatisfying mediocrity?
Life is a bit like chess, journey planning and project management … if you are starting with a clear idea of where you are going the journey will be easier, quicker and diversions dealt with much more effectively.
Decide what it is that you want, plan your route, apply rule one for bumps/ diversions in the road and pursue your end goal relentlessly.
Habit Number 3 – Put First Things First
There is often a disconnect between what we say matters to us most and what we actually spend our time doing.
Everybody has tasks s/he does not like. Recognizing when these tasks are so important they have become ‘the first thing’ and doing them first is what disciplined people do. But being disciplined is also about not doing tasks when they do not have priority.
Only with a clear direction in mind (Rule Number 2) will we find the strength to do the things we do not like and create time for those things we actually want to do.
Habit Number 4 – Think Win-Win
Most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing–that is, if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Life becomes a zero-sum game.
Win-win recognises that life should be a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind that constantly seeks to find mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good!
Don’t be a Lobster, by pulling each other down to get ahead none of us find freedom
Habit Number 5 – Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Think about how you offer value to someone else. This is something you can apply to every aspect of your life – someone is being grumpy with you at work, a client says you are too expensive, someone trolls your blog or twitter. Everyone has their own troubles, preoccupations and biases … you make more headway when you first really listen and understand why they are thinking/ saying what they are.
Habit Number 6 – Synergize
The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To put it simply, synergy means “two heads are better than one.” Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation. It is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems.
But it doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s a process, and through that process, people bring all their personal experience and expertise to the table. Together, they can produce far better results that they could individually. Developing a fabulous working relationship with everyone is unrealistic but it is worth trying to achieve this in as many parts of your life as possible.
Valuing differences is what really drives synergy. Do you truly value the mental, emotional, and psychological differences among people?You can’t be good at everything, find people who excel in your weak areas.
Habit Number 7 – Sharpen The Saw
Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
As you renew yourself in each of the four areas, you create growth and change in your life. Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you.
Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish. Not a pretty picture, is it?