stephencoveyThis week, Stephen Covey passed away after complications from a biking accident.  Mr. Covey was a pioneer in the realm of workplace productivity and life management.  Many of the processes and tools I use with clients, as well as in my own work and life, are better because of his wisdom and training.  Many of you probably know Stephen Covey from his popular book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. As a tribute to Mr. Covey, I am sharing these habits in this month's blog.

If you have read the book, it will be a good reminder for working effectively and living your best life.  I challenge you to reread it with different eyes -- open to finding areas for enlightenment and improvement.  Really work on each habit, perhaps focusing on one per month.  For those that have not yet read this powerful and timeless book, I highly recommend doing so.

The entire premise of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that most people deal with the problems in their life in a random way, leading to disillusionment and disorder. Covey’s believes that to be a truly effective person, you need to learn to solve personal and professional problems with an integrated and principle-centered approach. The decisions you make both personally and professionally should come from the same core set of values and ideas.

The habits:

  1. Be Proactive - Don't spend your time focusing on events that you can't control; instead, focus on what you can control.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind - This chapter starts out literally at the end: Imagine your funeral - Who is there and what are they saying about you? The things that you want them to say are the real core values that you care about the most, and therefore should be the ones that you focus your life’s work on, both personally and professionally.
  3. Put First Things First - An effective person spends his time on those things that are important but not urgent.  Urgency causes stress and your goal should be to alleviate this stress with proper planning and control.
  4. Think Win-Win - How can you make the situations in life end for the good for all involved?
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood - Listen, listen, listen....and stive to really understand.
  6. Synergize - Find the good in everyone, and build off of each others strengths.  What can you learn from those traits that are less than ideal?
  7. Sharpen the Saw - Be sure to spend time in all of the important areas of life (physical, spiritual, social/emotional and mental.)  Schedule time for those important, but non-urgent things.

For an interesting read on how the "7 Habits" can apply to human endowments and capabilities, visit this article that Covey wrote for Franklin Covey®.

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