Thursday, August 29, 2013

7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Last weekend felt like it was a reevaluation of who I am and where I’m at. This is something that I’m constantly thinking about and considering- I never want to be complacent.

Saturday, I attended a workshop at my school on “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Franklin Covey. I’ve mentioned these habits before because our school principles are founded on “The Leader In Me” program (the kid version of the 7 habits made for schools!). So, these 7 habits are something that I’m familiar with and the concepts came as no surprise.

But isn’t funny how the same thing can just rock you over and over again? God does that a lot- probably because we need more than a little bit of reminding to stay on track some times.

I’m not usually one for “self help” books and programs- a lot are based on secular ideas and God doesn’t really fit into their formulas. But the 7 habits from Covey are ones that resonate a lot with me as a Christian. Sort of as a download for myself-- I’m going to give you a little recap of how these can change your perspective & I how I think God fits into the picture. Feel free to skip around & read the ones that intrigue you the most!

1.     Be proactive.

"Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." 
[Philippians 4:13-14]


You can carry your own weather. You control your attitude and how you respond to situations. Your                                            circumstances don’t define you- it’s the unchanging God of Heaven who defines me.

For kids, maybe someone is bothering them at school. They have to power to choose how to react to the situation. When they are proactive, they quit blaming the situation that they’re in or their problems on someone else and decide that they are in charge of themselves no matter what.

2.     Begin With the End in Mind

"I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back."
[Philippians 3:12-14]

                        How do you live with purpose and vision? I am still thinking about this. The course challenged us to create a personal mission statement and I know that God wants me to have a purpose in my actions as well. I feel like I have had a few different personal mantras throughout my life, but are      they powerful enough to say that they are my “Personal Mission Statement” for my life?

                        I have followed this habit on a small scale, set little goals and raced to achieve them, but I’ve only been alive for twenty something years- how can I even begin to understand the concept of a long-term pursuit? This mission statement of mine is currently in progress. It’s not something that I can nail down in one day.

   If you had (or have) a “personal mission statement”, 
what would it be?

3.     Put First Things First

"For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
[Luke 12:34]

Where do you place your highest priorities? We are all given the same amount of time-it's just up to you on how you steward your time.

 “Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
[Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe]

                    There are 4 quadrants where we spend all of our time-  we are either pouring our time and efforts into the:
1) Urgent and important (crises, deadlines, etc)

2) Urgent but not important (interruptions, emails, meetings, phone calls, other people’s priorities)

3) Not urgent but important (planning, education, relationships, personal growth)

4) Or the not urgent and not important (aimless internet surfing, mindless TV, meaningless conversations)
How many of us spend countless hours in the not urgent and not important quadrant?

            I don’t want days filled with things that are ultimately meaningless.
            I want to spend my life on the things that matter most.     

            What are the things in your life that matter that most that need more of your time & energy?

I’ve discovered that the next four habits are achieved almost easily once we’ve mastered the first 3.
I have found that powerful people who take responsibility for themselves find a lot more success in relationships.

4.     Think Win-Win

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”
[Matthew 20:16]

                        This means being courageous and considerate at the same time. Win-win is a mindset that seeks mutual benefit. It is a simple concept that is often much easier said than done. It’s really all about redefining or refining your idea of what it means to win.

When you change your idea of a win to getting your needs met, doing something the right way, or gaining personal growth or progress, it’s a lot easier to win in every situation.


5.     Seek First to Understand, then to be Understood

"Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
[Matthew 7:7]

Gosh the Lord has been speaking this into my life for over 5 years now and I’m still not perfect! This is all about listening and discussing in order to understand, not necessarily to agree.

Let’s be real: sometimes you just aren’t going to agree. When agreement is the goal, the conversation may never end. Look for what people feel and what they need- and give that to them- whether it is encouragement, affirmation, advice, or just two open ears.

Why do we have two ears and only one mouth? Because it’s a lot harder to listen than it is to talk.

6.     Synergize

The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ...But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it." 
[1 Corinthians 12:12, 18]


We all have different strengths and weaknesses. Value those differences. How boring would it be if we were all the same? We are better when we can build on each other’s strengths and compensate for each other’s weaknesses.

7.     Sharpen the Saw

"Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies."
[1 Corinthians 6:19-20]

Take care of yourself. When we put first things first and decide to be proactive, it’s a lot harder to make excuses on taking the time to nurture your body, mind, heart, and soul.

Whew! If you actually read this whole thing, you might feel the way that I did after yesterday: provoked but a little overwhelmed. Even though I feel a little like I now have about 20 new things on my “self improvement” list, I realized that the first habit on the list is to ‘Be Proactive’. When I bring God into that picture, he is what defines me and what helps me to ‘carry my own weather’.

I can first and foremost focus on the one thing, living in his Holy Spirit, and the fruits of that will flow out. It’s a process. God is continually refining me and making me into the holy and beautiful person that I was created to be. 


  1. I really enjoyed this post! I had heard of the seven habits, but I had never really studied them before. I'm glad I read about them first with your perspective and links to scripture! How much more meaning they now take on. You've really given me a lot to think about... and work on ;)

    1. I agree with you- it's a lot to think about! I halfway did this blog post just to process it all! Thanks reading & for your comment.


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