“I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by conscious endeavor. ” – Henry David Thoreau
In memory of Dr. Stephen Covey and all that he did to help millions of people live their best life, I wanted to share the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and a quote on each concept. It’s also essential to understand how he defines a habit (which I call a ritual): “the intersection of knowledge, skill, and desire. Knowledge is the theoretical paradigm, the what to do and the why. Skill is the how to do. And desire is the motivation, the want to do. In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.” He was recognized as one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential Americans.
Dr. Covey’s ideas are just as powerful today as when he shared them in his book. Great ideas always stand the test of time. Here are his seven habits:
1. Be Proactive (Principles of Personal Vision)
“Proactive people focus their efforts in the Circle of Influence. They work on the things they can do something about. The nature of their energy is positive, enlarging and magnifying, causing their Circle of Influence to increase.”
2. Begin with the End in Mind (Principles of Personal Leadership)
“Begin with the end in mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation to all things.”
3. Put First Things First (Principles of Personal Management)
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
4. Think Win/Win (Principles of Interpersonal Leadership)
“Win/Win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win/Win means that agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial, mutually satisfying. With a Win/Win solution, all parties feel good about the decision and feel committed to the action plan…Win/Win is based on the paradigm that there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the expense or exclusion of the success of others.”
5. Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Principles of Empathic Communication)
“Seeking to understand requires consideration; seeking to be understood takes courage. Win/Win requires a high degree of both.”
6. Synergize (Principles of Creative Cooperation)
“When you communicate synergistically, you are simply opening your mind and heart and expressions to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options…You begin with the belief that parties involved will gain more insight, and that the excitement of that mutual learning and insight will create a momentum toward more and more insights, learnings, and growth.”
7. Sharpen the Saw (Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal)
“It’s preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have — you…The self-renewal process must include balanced renewal in all four dimensions of our nature: the physical, the spiritual, the mental, and the social/emotional.”
Top 1% Bottom Line: It’s not what we know but rather what we practice that makes a difference. Practicing even one of these principles will positively impact your life.
Which habit has had the greatest impact on your life?
Alissa Finerman is an Executive Coach and Gallup Certified Strengths Coach, speaker and author of Living in YOUR Top 1%. She works with managers, C-suite executives and teams to leverage strengths, shift beliefs and achieve meaningful goals. Alissa has an MBA from the Wharton School and a BA from the University of California, Berkeley. She has worked with Ross Stores, Petco, BNP Paribas, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, Brookfield Property Partners, Neutrogena, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Dress for Success. To learn more about coaching with Alissa, please visit her website and follow her on Facebook