7 Habits That Can Change Your Life
Live - Love - Laugh
I was fortunate to have been in corporate America during the 1990’s because of one concept: paradigm shift. This became a huge corporate buzz word and brought me to a company training event that had a dramatic impact on my personal and professional life: Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Whenever I feel I am getting off course, I return to these teachings to get regrounded.
Habit 1: Be ProActive
Take responsibility for your life. I love the word responsible. Break it down to two words: Response Able. You have the ability to choose your response. Take action. Control your life and destiny. Be proactive!
Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind
Think about where you want to be, and then work backyards to create the path from where you are today. One of the most powerful exercises I ever participated in was also one of the most difficult. I had to write my own eulogy five years in the future. What kind of legacy would I leave? Was I on the right path to get there? Create goals. Create focus. Begin with the end in mind.
Habit 3: Put First Things First
What are the most important items in your life, and are they getting the attention they deserve? For me it’s about living, loving and laughing. If you are ever a guest in my home, you’ll notice two wall plaques in the entry. Plaque one states “ Welcome. May you find laughter, love and peace here.” Plaque two states “Live well – Laugh often – Love much.” Throughout my home you’ll find objects that bring me great joy – framed art work by my son, family photos, etc. My family and friends are what bring me greatest joy, so they are my priority in life. My big rocks. First things first.
Habit 4: Think Win-Win
This can be a tough concept in a world where we’ve been taught that the nice guy finishes last. Believe that there is an alternative to that old adage, and seek to find solutions to opportunities where all can benefit. I work and invest in real estate and work with other investors. At the beginning of dealings many new investors can’t believe that my offer to help them is sincere. My reply is there is enough business out there for us all to play nice together. Maybe you have a buyer for a property I’m selling. Maybe I have the buyer for your home. Think win-win.
Habit 5: Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood
This is the area I tend to have the most difficulty with. You’ve heard the saying, you have one mouth and two ears, so do twice as much listening. OK, not a natural skill for me, to be sure. It is a habit I am committed to working on every day. Turn off the filters, the evaluating, the probing, the advising and the interpreting. Shut up and listen. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.
Habit 6: Synergize
Creative cooperation. What a great opportunity to practice Habit 4: Think Win-Win. We are greater whole than the sum of our parts. I have multiple mentors, master minds and team members in my life that I turn to for advice, guidance and to bounce ideas off of. One of us may have a good idea, the group can make it a great idea. Synergize.
Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw
Never stop learning. I love opportunities to expand my learning. You are the saw. Think of it in terms of physical, social/emotional, mental and spiritual. This goes very well with Habit 3: Put First Things First. If you are not taking care of your physical, social, mental and spiritual needs, what good are you going to be to those around you? Create a mantra for yourself. I great each day with “What a glorious day, filled with love, opportunity and promise!” Now go out and find it! Each day is a brand new opportunity that we are given. Sharpen the saw.
I am a proponent of check lists. I know there are many who do not believe in them. For me, they serve one purpose: keeping the "big rocks" in front of me. I have one for personal and one for business. Take the personal one for example. Yes, I need to remind myself to eat properly. The bed and laundry stuff is for marital harmony. I know that working my daily checklists will keep me moving forward, and that's a good thing!
I hope you will also find these habits useful. Use them, make them your own. Live, love and laugh!