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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a model developed by Stephen Covey to help us become the best version of ourselves. Covey believes that we see the world entirely based on our own perceptions. His book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, explains that in order to change a situation, we have to change ourselves, and we can only do this by changing our perceptions.
This article is a summary of each of the Seven Habits, to give you an insight into what actions are needed to get started.
The first 3 Habits are how we move away from dependence on others – Covey describes this as ‘Private Victory’
- Be Proactive: glass half full. Focus and work on the things that are within your control. Act and think above the line rather than blaming others. Take responsibility for your actions and decisions in life. Do not be reactive, creating a narrative of victimhood and focusing on things that are outside of your control. (we cover the Circle of Influence and Concern in our ‘Dealing with Uncertainty’ article which you can read here)
- Begin with the End in Mind: imagine you are at your own funeral – how do you want others to describe you? Help us to focus on the habits we need to be that person today. Focus on the attributes that make us as a person, on the achievements we made and the difference we made in their lives. Work day-to-day on the things that will help you achieve your goals and purpose in life. In business this would also involves identifying the values that we want to uphold.
- Put First Things First: what is important? Make sure we focus on making time for the important things (family, friends, working on the business) and don’t waste energy on the less important things. Learn to say ‘no’ the non-essentials. Prioritise the important ones over the less important ones. (you can look at our Achiever Matrix blog to help you with this habit)
Habits 1-3 help us achieve dependence. Habits 4-6 help us to develop inter-dependent relationships
Next – how we can lead others – ‘Public Victory’
- Think Win-Win: what’s in it for me, the customer etc. Rather than taking work away from competitors, how we can work together. Seek mutual benefit in all situations. This habit encourages us to foster an abundance mentality, helping us be more open-minded, flexible and creative.
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: ask better questions. Drill down. Why are they behaving in that way? Empathy. Acknowledge their feelings before expressing your own. This builds on Habit 4, because seeking to understand requires being open-minded and non-judgemental and avoid imposing our biases and opinions on others, This encourages more effective communication, deeper relationships and closer bonds.
- Synergize: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Working together achieves more than individually. Work collaboratively. This means we must value our differences to others, and identify and work with everyone’s strengths to achieve success. We must obtain feedback to reflect and improve and understand other opinions.
Once these are achieved, we have public acceptance, and we move onto the final stage – Renewal.
- Sharpen the Saw: take time to improve yourself physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually for continued success. This must be done continually, tweaking and honing as we go. We should find things that renew and recharge our energy, to help us stick to the previous 6 habits. The key to this habit however, is to prioritise self-care. If we aren’t happy and healthy, we are unable to help others, achieve success or reach our goals.