Seven Habits of Highly Successful people by Steven Covey has been one of my favorite books in the personal development genre.  From learning to be organized, to prioritizing your time, listening to others, and really listening to your partner, this was an all encompassing package that provided a great base for me to clearly visualize what life would be lke for me as a leader and entrepreneur.

I first read this book when I was still teaching and not confident about being on my own in business.  So when I read this, I was thinking long and hard about the workplace dynamics between other teachers, and the “leaders” in the schools I was in.  Although many administrators in education have claimed to have read this book, few actually apply it.  One of my favorite phrases from this book was first seek to understand before being understood.  If more teachers and adminitrators applied this maxim to fellow teachers and admins, I believe the work environments at schools would be less toxic.  With that said, I was inspired to become a leader that could embody this.  In general we will not always agree with others, which is good thing.  We do not, however, want to disregard and stop listening as a result of disagreement.  If we first try to understand where people are coming from, we can try to see their thinking process and perspective.  Disagreement can be an opportunity for all of us to try and deeply understand others.  Then, the process of two people coming together with contrary positions as they seek to understand the other has the potential to lead to solutions never before seen.  No where is this concept more relevant than in the divison we see in America between Republicans and Democrats.  It is not my intention for this post, blog, or website to be political.  My point here, is that if both of these political factions stopped blaming the other, agreed to disagree, and tried to understand the other view point, I believe there would be more solutions that both parties would be ok with.

With that said, another concept Covey talks about is creating a Win-Win situation.  I personally do not believe this is a quid-pro-quo scenario.  Like I scratch your back, you scratch mine.  I personally feel how Covey mentions this conept resonates with the Go-Giver by Bob Burgh.  Put simply, if we try to understand the other person, then we can create a winning scenario that a prospective business partner or customer, friend, family member or relative would be happy with.  If we can walk into these situations by grounding ourself in a mindset of giving back to others and bring value to their life, we will get a win by helping the other person.  So when I think of creating a win-win situations with others in business and personal life, I see it as a part of the go-giver mindset.  Some people will say, regarding business, it is about making money.  I would say yes and no.  We need to give value for products and services that help and serve others with a need or problem.  So the money we receive, in this dynamic, comes from helping others.  The car helps to make transportation more convienient.  Computers help people lives in countless ways.  Cell phones give us a portable library essentially.  All great and sustainable ideas here solve a problem for people and has a big impact on their lives.  Covey frames his win-win concept in a different way.  In any case, reading his book is a great experience!

There is also a concept he talks about in regards to organization.  He uses a quardrant to diagram how people prioritize their duties.  Essentially, there is a procrastination monster inside of us that leaves things until the last minute, but when we do this, life happens.  Then, instead doing what we were putting off, the panic monster inside of us goes off has other immediate circumstances that we must deal with.  The moral of this story is to anticipate challenges to your life and time.   You cannot anticipate everytime, but taking a little bit of time every week to reflect on your goals and priorities and possible challenges or curve balls will help you to stay on track.

There is a lot more to this book.  I do not want to spoil it.  If you are not sure you could really develop an idea, go into business, get a promotion, or be more successful in your current field, then I would highly recommend you read Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Steven Covey.  You just might be surprised what inspiration comes to you.