The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is an audio series by Stephen Covey I first heard when I was 24—some 20 (eh-hum) years ago. I bought it (literally, spending $70 on the cassette-tape series)—hook, line, and sinker!
I had a quick refresher course this week as I visited my girlfriends from National Seminars, Lisa Ann Landry and Jan Harrison, as they entertained and educated 50-some participants at a Leadership Conference in Denver.
It was early in the morning session when Lisa Ann brought up The Seven Habits and I had a blinding flash of the obvious. I had been duped! It explained SO much.
I can still recite my favorite Habits:
Habit #7 Sharpen the Saw
It makes sense it’s the last habit. True to Covey’s prediction, I’ve found people who continue learning—sharpening the saw—are the ones that are better adjusted and better able to cope with change. I know it’s how I cope with change. When what I know to be true is not working, I’ll turn to any source, any person, any perspective that helps me define, clarify, and control my thoughts.
Habit #1 Be Proactive
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.” “You go, Girl.” And my personal favorite from my Tennessee friend, Rob, “Go get yourself some.” In short, you have to get off your tush and push. Real go-getters make something happen, they manipulate, and connive, and force life to bend to their definition of success.
And the Habit that brainwashed me into thinking that I needed to know “the end” before I could even get started?
Habit #2 Begin with the End in Mind
As I posted in my last blog, No End in Sight, I have no idea what “endings” are in store for me now. I’m dealing with all new beginnings—new work direction, new home, new relationship parameters. There’s been emotional anguish in those transitions—partly because Stephen Covey taught me to Begin with the End in Mind. Thinking back, I wonder how many times I put off starting a project, a story, a sentence because I had no idea how it was going to end? How many times did I fail to begin because I didn’t know where I’d end up?
Stephen Covey clarifies his second habit by suggesting each of us develop a Personal Mission Statement that focuses on what we want to be and do. It’s a success plan that reaffirms who you are and your ability to lead and create your own life and destiny. But what happens when you don’t know what you want?
My only mission right now is to: relax, breath, and consider. Today I’m adding: enjoy, believe, and create, but I have no idea what I’m creating. For now, just knowing I don’t have to begin with the end in mind, that I can begin in the middle, that I can write nothing but beginnings is liberating and inspiring.
My revised version of Covey’s #2 Habit?