Sunday, January 5, 2014

Career & Life 2.0: 7-Habits to kick-off ’14 on a surge …

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage—pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically, to say “no” to other things. And the way you do that is by having a bigger “yes” burning inside. The enemy of the “best” is often the “good.” - Stephen Covey, Author, 7-Habits of Highly Successful People

It is a new year full of promise and opportunity. Perhaps a year of change for you or someone close to you, or the time when you make that real breakthrough in your life or career.

Knowing where to start your path to growth is often difficult, so I thought I would bring the thoughts of Dr. Stephen Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Effective People to mind. This is the 25th anniversary of the publication of the book and over 25 million copies in 40 languages have been put into practice. In fact, you are invited to attend a special program by Franklin-Covey’s Cris Lang on February 12th at the Century House in Latham presented by the Rensselaer County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Capital Region Living. (See registration details below.)

I caught up with Cris to talk about how one can apply the 7-Habits on their quest to be happier, healthier and wiser beginning in 2014.

As we enter a new year, how would you recommend that one apply 7-Habits to achieve their 2014 goals?

I recommend that they read and re-read the book. Study the 7-Habits and discuss with others.  As one learns, they internalize their learning and act upon it. Start slow and understand that this is not a quick-fix, rather a lifelong practice. Also, just focus on one habit at a time; don’t try to do all right away. Determine what is the one thing you can change to be more effective and choose the habit that will allow you to achieve it.  

Is there one habit that you feel is the breakthrough for someone who is determined and focused to grow and succeed?

All the habits are extremely important. In my mind, Habit #1: Be Proactive, is critical and a great place to start. When one is proactive, they take responsibility for their self, their needs, feelings and actions. Proactive people are more resourceful, accountable and they do not blame others. They focus only on what they can control.

Peter Drucker once stated, “If you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.”  How would you recommend one measure their short and long-term progress?

Simply, they need to have goals that are measurable. Without goals you cannot measure progress. Write your goals down and keep in view.  Be very specific with dates to achieve. Establish priorities aligned to goals in a weekly task list and check them off when done. Review progress on a weekly basis and remember, consistently is critical. Three key tips:  1. Do 20 minutes of weekly planning focused on goals at home and work.  2. Do daily planning – 10 minutes in morning – have a meeting with yourself and identify the 3-4 most important goals 3. Get someone at work and one at home to be accountable to.

How can one who is stuck find a way to move forward?

Focus on Habit #2: Begin with the end in mind. Have a laser-focused vision of where you are going.  Focus on this and your mind will be less stuck in the old you. 
Last words of wisdom?

 Sure – attend the overview on February 12! Really, take dedicated time to define what you want 2014 to be. Try this: Define the amazing contribution you want to make in 2014 as a mother, father, friend, boss, worker, coach – and write it down – now. Make it clear and exciting. Then commit to one activity – yes, just one – that you will make each week to make your vision a reality.  Always break your goals into bite-sized pieces and always continue moving forward. Keep it simple and savor the breakthroughs.  

A quick review of the 7-Habits:
Habit 1: Be proactive
Take initiative in life by realizing that your decisions (and how they align with life's principles) are the primary determining factor for effectiveness in your life. Take responsibility for your choices and the consequences that follow.

Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind
Self-discover and clarify your deeply important character values and life goals. Envision the ideal characteristics for each of your various roles and relationships in life.

Habit 3: Put first things first
A manager must manage his own person. Personally. And managers should implement activities that aim to reach the second habit. Covey says that rule two is the mental creation; rule three is the physical creation.

Habit 4: Think win-win
Genuinely strive for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a "win" for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten his way.

Habit 5: Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Use empathic listening to be genuinely influenced by a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring and positive problem solving.

Habit 6: Synergize
Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals no one person could have done alone.

Habit 7: Sharpen the saw
Balance and renew your resources, energy and health to create a sustainable, long-term, effective lifestyle. It primarily emphasizes exercise for physical renewal, prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. It also mentions service to society for spiritual renewal.

2014 can be your year to achieve and grow. Start Now! 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Signature Program, Wednesday February 12. 7:30am – 11am. The Century House, Latham. $75 Members; $95 Future Members & Walk-ins Online Registration: or 274.7020. 
See you there!

Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie.  You can reach him at 641.8968 or">
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Dan Moran
President & Founder

Next-Act, Division of DVG, Inc.
Career Management & Transition Specialists
Corporate Management Services

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