If you’ve read any of our blogs here at VoiceNation, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’re all about people. We have a hand in the care and development of people from all around the world through Voice4Nations, as well as right here in our own community through our non profit branch (Georgia Calls) and many volunteer opportunities. But even more so than our worldwide efforts, we place tremendous value and importance on the development of our own team. From our PIE meetings to 1 on 1 mentoring, we want to do everything we can to encourage growth and development in our team members, both in the workplace and outside the walls of an office. One of our favorite ways of doing this is in our biweekly staff development meetings.
In these meetings, our team of managers help us dive into some incredible books that focus on tips to increase development and growth. Over the next few months, we are studying The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. What an incredible book! By focusing on creating habits, Covey discusses how to properly balance personal and professional effectiveness in order to achieve success. These habits are not based on trends and pop psychology, but instead focuses on proven principles. This week, Eric (our director of operations) walked us through the first three habits- be proactive, begin with the end in mind, and put first things first. It was a lot of incredible info to squeeze into one session.
1) Be Proactive
Being proactive means that our behavior is a function of our decisions rather than our environment. Often times it is easy to blame our circumstances for an unpleasant outcome rather than our own lack of adaptability. There are things in life that we simply cannot control, and if we dwell on those factors alone, we have no room to work within what we CAN change. So instead of simply reacting to our environment, we should instead be proactive about the things we have power to change!
Here are some examples of reactive language vs proactive language that we can try to incorporate into our every day situations:
2) Begin with the end in mind
How do you want to be remembered when your days come to an end? Would you like to be known for your work ethic? Or maybe your compassion? If we choose each day to live centered on the achievements by which we want to be remembered, we are able to walk through our daily paths with purpose. In this section of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Covey suggest writing your own personal mission statement based on where you want to center your life in order to live your life accordingly. We are all in fact centered on something, whether we know it or not.
So what is your center? Are you Spouse centered? Money centered? Maybe even popularity centered? All of these centers can seem true and right in different seasons of life, yet when your center is based on outside influences and circumstances, it can easily be shaken by the areas of life that we cannot change. Instead, we must center ourselves on principles that don’t sway in the wind- principles such as integrity, loyalty, and honesty. If you are power centered, you will always be reaching for goals that can never be attained. If you are centered in kindness, it opens up doors daily to walk each day according to your mission statement, working step by step towards how you truly want to be remembered.
3) Put First Things First
We have all heard seminars and read blogs about how to become an expert at time management, but often times in doing so, we neglect self management. Effective leaders must learn to manage themselves in order to organize and execute around priorities and Covey created a system to help with just that.
Quadrant II tends to be the most important yet neglected quadrant of all. These are the tasks that we need to do, but often overlook due to lack of urgency. This is the heart of personal management. When we are able to focus on those tasks that have the greatest value, other priorities fall into place.
“Things which matter most should never be at the mercy of the things which matter least.” – Goethe
With these three habits, we can begin to balance our perspectives and priorities in order to continue to be the most effective that we can be within our circle of influence. These habits do not simply happen at the drop of a hat, but as we learned with lesson one, we can choose to be proactive in changing our attitude and outlook so that these habits become reality! Here at VoiceNation, we’re excited to start putting these habits into practice!