I look around the internet and see a whole host of people writing on how The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People changed their way of thinking. Stephen Covey unfortunately passed away not knowing that he had impacted my life. How does someone you have never met manage to impact your life in a big way? That’s the power of the written word. Let me tell you about Stephen Covey 7 Habits and me.
Stephen Covey 7 Habits and Me
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People came to me (oh yes, I do believe that books are ‘sent’) at a very crucial stage in my life. It helped me to make a life-changing decision concerning my career. The book set me on the way to doing what I am today – writing.
I was fortunate enough to be part of a group study of this book. We studied one habit at a time, then went back and put it in to practice for a month. We came back together to study another. The study included a lot of exercises, some created for us, and some that we created – a lot of processing took place. It was a time of learning, fun and good fellowship that I will never forget.
Later I read Stephen Covey’s Principle-Centered Leadership and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families but they made no impact on me and I was a little disappointed that he had turned the success of one book in to an industry.
However, that can not take away from the impact Stephen Covey created with the relevance and truth of his words. The principles he spoke of were not new, but what was new was his way of writing about them and the examples he chose to illustrate them.
Today I would like to share what each of The 7 Habits means to me:
Be Proactive – I learnt a new word for a start. Then I learnt something much more lasting – that I have the freedom to choose the way my life will go, I am ‘response-able’. The fact that I took years to learn this lesson is something else. Stephen Covey planted the seed.
Begin With The End In Mind – The powerful truth that everything is created twice: once in our imagination and the second time in reality, made me realize that I could create my own future. I wrote a mission statement of what I wanted to be, do and have in my life. One of the things I wrote is that I wanted to be an author. I can see a lot of what I wrote being created in my life.
Put First Things First – This was a new way of looking at time management. It was not just about doing, but choosing what things were important in your life and giving more time to them. This is a learning that I’m still undergoing, but I know that I’ll get there.
Think Win/Win – I learnt the concept of seeking win/win solutions to issues. Again, this is a lesson that has to be constantly re-learnt and Covey pointed me in the right direction.
Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood – A habit that has to be constantly renewed but it made me realize the importance of listening with compassion to others.
Synergise – This according to Covey is “opening your mind and heart to new possibilities, new alternatives, new options.” It helped me and my colleagues immensely as we worked on making things happen in our organisation. I know this learning has stayed with me and helps me to be good at community building.
Sharpen The Saw – This habit is something that I am much better at now then I was earlier – making time for myself and taking time to learn and improve myself in order to be a more effective person.
RIP Stephen and know that you impacted many lives – thank you.
Has your life been similarly impacted by a book or an author? Do share.