Our Habits Are Who We Are in Life

Our Habits Are Who We Are in Life July 18, 2012

With Steven Covey’s passing this week, I’m reminded of his outstanding work, particularly the 7 Habits book which had global impact on the thinking and actions of so many. Which is your favorite of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People? Perhaps a quick reminder might be useful. The following comes from Wikipedia.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life’s principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind

Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life. Create a mission statement.

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Prioritize, plan, and execute your week’s tasks based on importance rather than urgency. Evaluate whether your efforts exemplify your desired character values, propel you toward goals, and enrich the roles and relationships that were elaborated in Habit 2.

Habit 4: Think Win-Win

Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his or her way.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood

Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, respect, and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize

Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone. Get the best performance out of a group of people through encouraging meaningful contribution, and modeling inspirational and supportive leadership.

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Balance and renew your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes on exercise for physical renewal, prayer (mediation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to the society for spiritual renewal.

All of the “habits” are important reminders of what makes us effective and fulfilled. They work in unison to build vision, character, collaboration and results. “Think Win-Win” is particularly needed in our world of polarized thinking and competition gone wild. The arguments over healthcare, the economy, taxes and the political gridlock we are experiencing regarding core decisions in general serve as evidence of our inability to look for common ground. Within companies, win-win gets a lot of lip service too, but often goes awry when money or power is involved.

Practicing win-win thinking in our relationships with others takes time and compromise. However, finding common ground can bring a new level of thought and innovation to the table. Here are some useful questions to ask yourself when your view is different or at odds with someone else’s:

1. What is my real view as it relates to this issue? Am I being honest with myself? Why is this so important to me?
2. Have I really listened to the view/s of others on this subject or have I been just waiting for my turn to speak? What are they really saying?
3. Am I judging the validity of others’ views instead of looking for opportunities to find common ground? What are some of the options available to us if we want to go forward?

If you want to develop your team’s or organization’s mission as per Covey’s Habit #2, click here.