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EIGHT HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE



What is it that most people want in life? I think the answer is to be happy with added success. However how many people chase the outward success of homes, cars, holidays, things rather than mastering one’s self? Have you thought about it? Is that you? I believe it is only by mastering ourselves that we can truly find the happiness and success combined.

If for example we look at one of the great books from the 80’s – Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ we are reminded of seven key principles that will help you transform your life. This book which has sold over 25 million copies and maybe almost 30 years old is still a great game changer in helping you shift your life and business.

Here is a brief written summary as a reminder of the powerful tools and as you will see I have added an eighth habit which I believe which will support you even further.

 

HABIT ONE – BE PROACTIVE

So, what does it mean to be proactive? The answer I believe here is to recognise your responsibility in all aspects of life. Allowing yourself to see that you can be less reactive, more emotionally aware and intelligent and choosing consciously how you respond in every situation.

“Emotional intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests it is responsible for as much as 80 percent of the “success” in our lives.” ~ J. Freedman

By being more emotional aware you will see how you can be more proactive and be more responsible no matter what challenges life throws at us.

 

HABIT TWO – BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

By recognising that everything starts with a thought and utilising our imagination before it is created it is imperative to be crystal clear about what we want before we create it as our reality.

Consider it to be akin to the building blocks for any project whether it is a business plan, a home, a car, a new product. First you must start with the basics, the blueprints, the ideas and believe me planning your life is no different.

It is key to be clear on the end goals and to take the daily steps to move in that direction to achieve your ideals.

“What one thing could you do in your personal and professional life that, if you did on a regular basis, would make a tremendous positive difference in your life. Our effectiveness takes quantum leaps when we do them.” ~ Stephen R. Covey

 

HABIT THREE – PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST

How do you normally spend your day? Do you spend time and energy doing stuff that really isn’t that important?  Covey refers to putting ‘first things first’ and I would say do your ‘MIT’s’ (most important tasks) first.

By focusing on what is truly deemed important as opposed to the perception of what is urgent you will move into more productivity rather than being stuck in crisis mode which typically over time will lead to stress, burnout and feeling out of control.

By spending quality time on your MIT’s you will be more focused on planning, setting up systems, strategies and goal setting. In turn this will lead to a better long-term perspective, few crises, control and better growth.

Make sure you don’t allow distraction to take over and/or interruption by others. Stay focused on the tasks at hand.

Consider over the next 24 hours or week to assess where you spend the most of your time, you might surprise yourself. Up-level your focus and see the amazing results. Learn to say no.

“A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Plant your crystal-clear priorities firmly in your mind and heart and the how will always appear.

 

HABIT FOUR – THINK WIN/WIN

The idea of win/win is a simple one. However, do you approach every relationship business or personal in this manner? Or are you someone who is always focused on the winning?

I encourage you to start thinking about how we can truly create a win/win energy in our lives daily.

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” ~ Helen Keller

What relationship can you focus on today, right here and now, to improve and make it a win/win for your both? Helping others and having no apparent motive is a powerful way to consider collaboration.

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” ~George Eliot

 

HABIT FIVE – SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND

As Covey said –

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

How often do you rush in on a situation or a scenario, have your opinion, find the solution when you haven’t even listened to the other person’s perspective?

First listen, second listen, third listen – once you have all the facts, information and allow yourself to see the other person’s opinion.

“You never truly know someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes.” ~ Unknown

If you can develop the ability to really see through another person’s eyes, you’ll be tapping into an incredibly powerful tool for managing your life. And it’s a great skill you can cultivate—just like flipping a pancake. Remember a pancake always has two sides. 

 

HABIT SIX – SYNERGY

How can you bring more synergy into your life today?

Working together is not just a beautiful concept but a powerful one. Creating synergy within your business might be as simple as getting everybody together twice a week.

I recall my first role in private equity as a team we always had lunch together, it helped build a bond and long lasting relationships. I truly believe in positive synergy, and that with a strong, open and positive mindset knowing that ‘we’ can always do more than ‘I’ and that something always has the possibility of something great.

“Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s our way.” ~ Stephen Covey 

 

HABIT SEVEN – SHARPEN THE SAW

Sharpen, sharpen, sharpen!

Covey tells a brilliant story of a man in the forest sawing down a tree with a blunt saw. He saws and saws (and saws and saws). Working feverishly but not getting far. A passerby suggests he take a break and sharpen his saw and gets the reply, “But I don’t have time for that.” 🙂

Hmmmmm… Does that sound like you? Definitely sounds like me on occasion!

“Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” ~ John Lennon

Covey’s 7th Habit is very straightforward: Take the time to renew. Sharpen your saw.

How I hear you ask? There are many ways – exercise, meditate, journal, spend time with loved ones, go on vacation, play, dance, enjoy your hobbies. Life is to be fully experienced in all aspects therefore it is important not to live within the constraints of what you perceive is your job, family and holiday but the wider aspect of life every single day. Let yourself explore what that might mean for you.

 

HABIT EIGHT – GRATITUDE

Gratitude is so underrated and most definitely should be considered as part of habits one to seven. I see gratitude as the new attitude to have in everyday life. By simply acknowledging all the things we are grateful for, we become more aware of the gifts we have received, which brings even more gifts to us, which in turn brings more thankfulness into our lives. Gratitude creates a virtual cycle of ever-expanding benefits.

It’s important to see gratitude not only for the positives but the negatives too, the opportunities to learn from our mistakes, failed relationships, business deals and so on.

So many people take good health, a job, a home, good friends, and family for granted, and they appear to be on a continual search for something else. Imagine how you would feel if everyone and everything you had were suddenly taken away from you. Think about how much you would give to have it all back and how thankful you would feel if it were returned to you. Give thanks every day with that kind of intensity.

Recent scientific and psychological studies about happiness universally confirm that people who are thankful are happier, healthier, less depressed, and less stressed than others. They also have better relationships and make greater progress toward achieving their personal goals.

“Develop an attitude of gratitude, and give thanks for everything that happens to you, knowing that every step forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than your current situation.” ~ Brian Tracy

Consider how you might use these eight habits as a regular practice to support you on your journey of life, through relationships, health, business and helping you find a more joyful and successful experience.