This episode is a continuation of the second habit of seven laid out in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. This habit has been a touchstone in my life for about 25 years, and when I apply the principles in this book, my life has gone better. I have found that this book is one of the most reliably realistic books about how life actually works.
At the Centre [Principle-based centre]
4 life support” Factors
“Represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem, your basic personal strength or lack of it.” What gives you your feeling of security is going to drive everything about your life. You have to be very thoughtful in designing your life.
“means your source of direction in life…your internal frame of reference…”
“ is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other.” This comes partly from experience, and partly from the decision to learn from experience, which certainly applies to entrepreneurship. It is good to make a conscious decision to reflect on your experiences.
“ is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions.”
Alternative centres [co-dependency]
[some common alternatives for Amazon sellers!]
Spouse [Business partner]
Family [Employees & Engaged people]
Possessions [cars, houses…random Amazon products…]
Pleasure [profit, revenue, bragging rights]
Enemy [competition/customers! – 1* reviews etc.]
Self [own business]
Identifying your Centre
You really should become very self aware about these things. The best thing is to observe reality and the motivation behind your decisions.
A Principle Centre
“By centering our lives on correct principles, we create a solid foundation for development of the four life-support factors. Our security comes from knowing that, unlike other centers [sic] based on people or things which are subject to frequent and immediate change, correct principles do not change. We can depend on them.” For example, if you base your life around service, you may think about where you can be of the greatest service.
[The paradigm shift to being centred on principles]
“By centering our lives on timeless, unchanging principles, we create a fundamental paradigm [pattern] of effective living.” Remember that your paradigm is the source from which your attitudes and behaviors [sic] flow. A paradigm is like a pair of glasses; it affects the way you see everything in your life. If you look at things through the paradigm of correct principles, what you see in life is dramatically different from what you see through any other centered paradigm.” For example: Having to work late on your business when you were supposed to go a concert with your spouse/partner. As a principle-centered person, you try to stand apart from the emotion of the situation and from other factors that would act on you, and evaluate the options. Looking at the balanced whole.
[how to be creative in our vision setting]
“…the two endowments that enable us to practice Habit 2—imagination and conscience—are primarily functions of the right side of the brain. Understanding how to tap into that right brain capacity greatly increases our first creation ability… Essentially, the left hemisphere is the more logical/verbal one and the right hemisphere the more intuitive, creative one…people tend to stay in the “comfort zone” of their dominant hemisphere and process every situation according to either a right or left brain preference. In the words of Abraham Maslow, ‘He that is good with a hammer tends to think everything is a nail.’” If you have a very money and goal-centric way of thinking, you will need to integrate that more with your imagination and emotional intelligence.
“Sometimes we are knocked out of our left brain environment and thought patterns and into the right brain by an unplanned experience… The death of a loved one, a severe illness, a financial setback, or extreme adversity can cause us to…look at our lives, and ask ourselves some hard questions: “What’s really important? Why am I doing what I’m doing? …But if you’re proactive, you don’t have to wait for circumstances or other people to create [these]. You can consciously create your own.” When experiences happen in life and you reflect on them, that is when wisdom happens. You can also try and be proactive about this reflection instead of waiting for life to happen.
…you can visualize your own funeral, as we did at the beginning of this chapter. Write your own eulogy. Actually write it out.
You can visualize your retirement from your present occupation [Amazon business]. What contributions, what achievements will you want to have made in your field? What plans will you have after retirement? Will you enter a second career?
“‘Assume you only have this one semester to live,’ I tell my students, ‘and that during this semester you are to stay in school as a good student. Visualize how you would spend your semester.’” This can be translated to business when you visualize that you only have one year to life, and during this year you are to stay in your business as a good entrepreneur.
“Things are suddenly placed in a different perspective. Values quickly surface that before weren’t even recognized. I have also asked students to live with that expanded perspective for a week and keep a diary of their experiences.” Keeping a diary of your experiences would give you a clue of how you want to live your life.
Example: “supposing you love creativity and independence. You identify that as one of your fundamental values. But suppose on a daily basis I don’t follow that out of fear… I can use my right brain power of visualization to write an “affirmation” that will help me become more congruent with my deeper values in my daily life.” In other words, I can write an affirmation to keep moving myself in the way of courageous action and getting independence that I crave in the face of my fear.
“A good affirmation has five basic ingredients: it’s personal, it’s positive, it’s present tense, it’s visual, and it’s emotional.”
So I might write something like this:
“It is deeply satisfying (emotional) that I (personal) respond (present tense) with [courage and wisdom] (positive) when [faced with a business problem].”
“Then I can visualize it. I can spend a few minutes each day and totally relax my mind and body. I can think about situations in which my [my business might push me into fear]. I can visualize them in rich detail.”
“Then I can [imagine something] very specific which normally makes my heart pound…”
“But instead of seeing my normal response, I can see myself handle the situation with all the courage & confidence I have captured in my affirmation.”
“I can… write the script… in harmony with my values. And if I do this, day after day my behavior [sic] will change.”
For example, I’m not a very calm person and I get wound up on the phone with Amazon sellers. This was simply not doing me any good. It was a massive waste of energy. So I rewrote the script by sending written messages and no longer calling them. It’s easier to be clear in writing. Plus, it helps me keep a calmer and clearer head.
“Of course, the logical/verbal left brain becomes important also as you attempt to capture your right brain images, feelings, and pictures in the words of a written mission statement… Writing distills, crystallizes, and clarifies thought and helps break the whole into parts.” Sometimes writing a mission statement may not change your entire life. I’ve done things like that in the past. It may not have an impact, but the act of writing it will help you crystallize your thoughts which can be very helpful.
Example of executive mission statement…
“My mission is to live with integrity and to make a difference in the lives of others.
To fulfil this mission:
These roles take priority in achieving my mission:
This person wants to have a life in integrity and to make a difference with his actions. To fulfill that he does certain practical things.
Organizational mission statements
“To be effective, that statement has to come from within the bowels of the organization. Everyone should participate in a meaningful way—not just the top strategy planners, but everyone. Once again, the involvement process is as important as the written product and is the key to its use.” For an entrepreneur, at the very least, the people involved in the equation if you are doing private labelling is you, the supplier, Amazon, and your customers. Amazon probably doesn’t care your mission statement. However, when your are working with your supplier, when you communicate your mission statement, if gives a meaning to your business. You have to stand for something.
Without involvement, there is no commitment. Mark it down, asterisk it, circle it, underline it. No involvement, no commitment.
Application Suggestions [excercise]
Covey, Stephen R.. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.
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