Recently I took a training course through work on how to become a more effective person. I can’t complain about two days out of the office though it wasn’t close to vacation or a true day off. This particular course required some honest self-reflection, difficult conversations, and letting your guard down in front of numerous employees that I didn’t know. It’s hard to be so honest in front of people you just met.
This course was all about habits. Bad ones you need to break and good ones you should make. What I liked the most about this course was that the examples and application wasn’t focused solely on my professional effectiveness but on all facets of me. My roles, my goals, and what’s important to me outside of the workplace. It was thought provoking, emotional, and eye opening.
First, we discussed three habits that apply to our personal development.
- Be proactive.
- Begin with the end in mind.
- Put first things first.
It’s all about planning, setting goals and creating actionable plans to achieve them, and focusing on what’s most important. What stood out to me was becoming aware of how much time I wasted on activities that were either distractions or not helping me achieve my goals. At that point, I knew it was time to stop wasting time. A week later I signed up to take the GMAT and applied for an MBA program. No more wasting time not accomplishing the things I want to.
The next three habits were centered around how to be more effective dealing with people.
- Think Win-Win
- Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Too often in the corporate world, we are always thinking solely of the bottom line and beating the competition. It’s important, but why does it always have to be “if they win, we lose”? We need to work towards mutually beneficial business practices and providing consumers with the best product offering and service. In that same way, we rarely try to understand other points of view. We must not be afraid to think of new ways to do things, understand others, and value differences.
The final habit deals with refueling.
- Sharpen the saw.
Refueling our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies. It takes energy to incorporate all of these habits into our daily lives and taking care of ourselves first is the key to success. How can you expect to be a good employee, a good friend, spouse, parent, etc without first taking care of yourself and refueling your body.
As I mentioned, it requires a lot of energy and discipline to creating a life based on these habits. But the thing about changing your life is that it requires commitment, motivation, and trust in yourself to follow through.
It’s been 5 weeks since the course and as I mentioned, I’ve committed myself to going back to school and not wasting time on distractions. I’ve got a ways to go to truly becoming an effective person, but the foundation is there and my goals are set.
Will you join me on the pursuit of better habits, a better life, and a better self?
Course cred: Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People