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Reflecting on Covey’s Seven Habits (Part I)

  • May 4, 2021
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey has been on my bookshelf since it was first published in 1989. Although over 30 years old, this classic Covey book still holds some valuable lessons for us all.

Over the years, I have read and reread the book and often leaf through it for nuggets of wisdom. It is one of those books that contains so much to reflect upon and incorporate into both our personal and professional lives.

Covey’s 7 habits are 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; and 7. Sharpen the Saw. Each of the habits alone, and in conjunction with each other, provide concepts that promote personal growth and change.

In this article, I would like to explore the first three habits as they relate to what Covey calls the “private victory” where someone moves from dependence to independence.

  1. Be Proactive. This essentially means we need to take the initiative when faced with any sort of stimuli. As humans, we have the freedom to choose our response and for every stimuli we have multiple choices. The key is to be self-aware and mindful and avoid reacting without first thinking about your response. Ask yourself, what can I do to be more proactive in my life?
  2. Begin with the End in Mind. Often, in our professional and personal lives, we create an idea about what we would like to see in the future. These can be individual goals, those for our family, or those for our organization. Identifying and envisioning what things will look like in the future is the first step to creating that future. The second is to put your vision down on paper and outline the steps you will take to reach your ultimate goal. What are your important goals? Is there one in particular on which you want to focus?
  3. Put First Things First. This third part of the “private victory” is based on the Time Management Matrix in which we find 4 quadrants—Urgent/Important; Not Urgent Important; Urgent/Not Important; and Not Urgent/Not Important. In all aspects of our life, be they personal or professional, we really need to focus on the first two quadrants that outline what is important. Working with intent, you need to ask the following question: What is the most important thing I should be doing?

When you incorporate the three habits outlined above, you will find yourselves working more effectively and feel that you have accomplished something worthwhile.

In next month’s newsletter, I will focus on the remaining four goals.

Paul Abra, Motivated Coaching

More in this category: « Developing a Growth Mindset?

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