The late Dr. Stephen Covey synthesized the common patterns in the leaders he studied and worked with in his 1989 best-seller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
At the core of his message is the belief that the way we see the world is entirely based on our own perceptions. In order to change any given situation, we must change ourselves. And, in order to change ourselves, we must be able to change our perceptions.
Put simply, in the context of this crisis:
In order to change/improve the state of things during this crisis, we must change/improve ourselves first.
In order to change/improve ourselves, we must change/improve our perceptions.
“The way we see the problem is the problem.”
To undergo a paradigm shift and upgrade ourselves fundamentally, we must go beyond the surface level and alter our behavior for the long-term.
This is where the habits (7) come in:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
- Sharpen the Saw
To be effective at hitting our sales and revenue targets, we must devote time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. Continual renewal allows us to synergistically increase our ability to practice each habit.
Sharpening the saw, taking time for renewal, surrounds all the other habits and makes each one possible by preserving and enhancing your greatest asset – yourself.
To Covey, there are four dimensions of our nature, and each one must be exercised regularly in balanced ways.
Physical Dimension: The goal of continuous physical improvement is to exercise our body in a way that will enhance our capacity to work, adapt, and enjoy.
To renew ourselves physically, we must:
- Eat well
- Get sufficient rest and relaxation
- Exercise on a regular basis to build endurance, flexibility, and strength
Focusing on the physical dimension helps us develop the Habit 1 muscles of proactivity.
Spiritual Dimension: The goal of renewing our spiritual self is to provide leadership to our life and reinforce our commitment to our value system.
To renew yourself spiritually, you can:
- Practice daily meditation
- Engage in daily faith/prayer
- Immerse yourself in great music
A focus on our spiritual dimension helps us practice Habit 2, as we continuously revise and commit ourselves to our values, so we can begin with the end in mind.
Mental Dimension: The goal of renewing our mental health is to continue expanding our mind.
To renew yourself mentally, you can:
- Journal on thoughts, goals, experiences and insights
- Watch and listen to program that empower your life and mind
Focusing on our mental dimension helps us practice Habit 3 by managing ourselves effectively to maximize the use of our time and resources.
Social/Emotional Dimension: The goal of renewing ourselves socially is to develop meaningful relationships.
To renew yourself emotionally, you can:
- Seek to deeply understand people, especially through conversation
- Make contributions to meaningful projects that improve the lives of others
- With an Abundance Mentality, seek to help others around you succeed at their goals
Renewing our social and emotional dimension helps us practice Habits 4, 5, and 6 by recognizing Win-Win solutions, seeking to understand others effectively, and finding mutually beneficial third alternatives through synergy.
“Not a day goes by that we can’t at least serve one other human being.”
Renewal is the process that empowers us to move along an upward spiral of growth, change, and continuous improvement and helps us lead others to do the same.
This makes us more effective communicators, influencers, Leaders.
Make a list of activities for each of the four dimensions that would help you renew yourself.
Commit to scheduling at least one of these activities for each of the four dimensions every week.
Sharpen that saw!