7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Habit Two

By Awah | Leadership | 10 Apr 2020

7 Habits Overview

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a book written by Steven Covey that I have introduced in two previous posts. Reading the first two posts will help gain a better understanding of some of the terms used here.

Habit 1 helped start our journey, moving from being dependent to independent. Habit 1 is what Covey calls a private victory. That is, if we implement Habit 1 it is an inward-looking change. Habit 2 is a natural follow-on from Habit 1 and is also another private victory.

Prelude to Habit 2

Before we get into Habit 2, I want to do a small exercise with you. Make sure you are somewhere where you can let your imagination work uninterrupted for best results.

Imagine you are at your funeral. Ok, I know it is a bit morbid but stay with me. Look around and see your friends, family and loved ones attending to pay their respects. Someone you know is going to stand up and talk about your life - your eulogy.

What would you want them to say? What would you like them to say about what you did in life? What would you like them to say about what you were like in life? About your character?

Habit 2 - Begin With the End in Mind

To be effective, we need to know where we want to go because effectiveness has to be linked to moving in the right direction. If we are moving in the wrong direction - we are not effective. Sometimes we celebrate victories in our life that are not really aligned with where we want to get to.

When you imagined your funeral in the exercise above, what did you want to hear about yourself? People don't say that they wanted to hear, that they were the top of their maths class. Or very hard working in the office. We mainly want to hear deep principled character traits. She was honest, generous, inspiring. He loved his family and friends and selflessly looked after them. She devoted her life to helping others.

Covey talks about effective people being principle centred, as they use these principled character traits as the goalposts for their journey through life.


Inspire with a Vision

On August 28th, 1963. In front of a quarter of a million people in Washington. Martin Luther King gave his famous "I have a dream" speech.


King didn't say, "I have a 10 point plan." The inspiration that changed the US Civil rights movement forever, started from a vision. Others might have had a plan later - but that wouldn't have been inspiring. A vision inspires others and it inspires ourselves.

High performing athletes, also use this technique by visualising themselves run the race and seeing themselves winning. They are fully focused on the end result.

Don't just live day to day without knowing where you are going. For yourself, for your business, for your relationship with your spouse or partner - have a vision of where you are trying to be.

People are working harder than ever, but because they lack clarity and vision, they aren't getting very far. They, in essence, are pushing a rope with all of their might.

Dr. Stephen R. Covey

Covey says that everything is created twice. We first create something mentally by imagining what it will be like. We then create it physically by working towards our vision.

Imagine a young person doing school exams. Why are they doing it? It is not just because they want a good mark - that in itself doesn't matter. It is not inspirational and will not deliver effectiveness.

To be effective, Begin with the End in Mind. They want to have a better future where they can afford a certain lifestyle, have a particular occupation or support their loved ones. By concentrating on the end vision we become inspired and focused on where we are trying to go. The things we do have meaning when we know why we are doing them. We become independent and we become more effective.

Personal Mission Statement

One of the best ways of incorporating Habit 2 into our lives is to develop a Personal Mission Statement. Going back to the exercise at the beginning of this article - what type of person do you really want to be? The person that was spoken about in the eulogy. Set that as a goal so that you are focused. You are now leading your own life as you have a meaningful and true direction.

An effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than activity.

  • It identifies where you want to be
  • Helps you determine where you are
  • It gives you important information on how to get there
  • It tells you when you have arrived.

Next Post

We will look at Habit 3. Please comment below as to what you think about Habit 2.


Note: This post was originally posted by me on Hive.

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