Monday, December 14, 2015
Growth Reminders From The 7 Habits
A friend sent me an email just the other day, wondering if I was alright since I had not posted a blog since mid-November. The ongoing saga of trying to complete my PhD Comps Exam has continued to wear me out but I am not down and out yet. A timely help of mental refreshment came in the form of a training workshop for my work as an adjunct professor for the Alamo Colleges in San Antonio. I had the privilege for the past two Saturdays to do all day training on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People based on the philosophy of Stephen R. Covey.
The two trainers from the Alamo Colleges made the trainings an enjoyable time due to their passion for the 7 Habits and their passion for instruction. It is always uplifting to see people doing what they love.
The 7 habits of highly effective people are as follows:
1 - Be Proactive
2 - Begin with the End in Mind
3 - Put First Things First
4 - Think Win-Win
5 - Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
6 – Synergize
7 - Sharpen the Saw
As I reflect on the training time, my favorites of the habits are 1 and 7. Of course to be the best you can in habit 7 you need to be establishing habits 1-6 in your life. There are principles behind each habit that help us in living the best life possible and being the best we can be. Covey’s writings were one inspiration behind my book, Living More Than OK, as in that book my desire is for people to live the best life possible of abundant living.
In this blogpost I will share some of the reasons I find inspiration from my favorites of the habits; starting off with the habit 1 theme of “be proactive” which is the habit of choice. The principle behind this theme is, “I am free to choose and am responsible for my choices.” (Stephen Covey). We have unlimited opportunities when we understand that we are not victims but have the ability to make choices for the good in our lives. Too many people have bought into the myth that we are mere animals that respond to the stimuli around us and we can’t help the negativity that comes into our lives. We are victims the lies tell us. The first habit principle awakens us to the reality that within each stimulus that touches our lives we have the freedom to choose how to respond.
For example within this principle there is the concept “carry your own weather”. On cloudy days or rainy days it is easy to fall into the stimulus- response trap of being down and sad. But when you carry your own weather you can choose to live like a sunny day on a cloudy day. Choose to carry a smile and cheerful attitude on a cloudy day and see how your response to the day changes. There is power in the freedom to choose to move up from living ok, to Living More Than OK.
Looking at habit 7 the theme is “Sharpen the Saw” the habit of renewal. This habit reminded me of a time I tried to cut tree limbs with an old dull saw. Not very effective. Our lives are not effective either when we do not sharpen the saw. What is the saw in our life? It is -- our life—our inner being. The principle behind this habit is, “To maintain and increase effectiveness, we must renew ourselves in body, heart, mind and soul.” This habit speaks to the important need of lifelong learning and taking care of ourselves in all spheres of our lives: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. To be effective and live an abundant life there is a need to be balanced in each of these spheres of living.
I try to drive home to my college students and in my blog writings here, the importance of our personal choices. Our choices either move us in positive directions or negative ways so we need to choose with wisdom. Then we need to remember to never stop growing so as to stay sharp in responding to all the possibilities and opportunities that come across our life journey.
Reflection: How can you make wise choices in your life? Write down a few ways you can grow in the mental, physical, social/emotional and spiritual spheres of your life.