Leader in Me

7 Habits in Action

How Can I Measure if I am Successful?

‘How can I measure if I am successful?’ is not limited to school children. Each of us has had similar internal queries.

The following thoughts are written for adults to help explain how students in Leadership schools learn to view themselves and others in a different way. Each parent can also see how the 7 Habits can help him or her personally. We also invite parents to consider joining their student’s experience by practicing the transforming 7 Habits within the home.

There are many exterior measures used to evaluate if someone is successful; education, position, accomplishments, wealth and many more. Most measures look backward to see what has been done and compare accomplishments with what others have done.

Without these external markers what measures can I use to see how I’m doing? Can I declare that I am successful now or do I have to wait for others to recognize and tell me that I have been successful? On the way to a destination, we choose a path, a way to go that gives us confidence that we will arrive at the desired goal eventually. We can only measure our ultimate success by our final arrival at the destination. Along the way, however, we can feel successful if we are following the chosen path, overcoming obstacles and learning from our experiences.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People could also be called 7 Habits of Highly Successful People because it is a sure path to achieving successful outcomes.

By understanding and implementing the 7 Habits a person has:

  • A path to follow
  • A formula to help navigate past obstacles
  • Skills to use experiences to develop confidence and competence.

How can the 7 Habits develop Confidence and Competence in Me?
The first 3 Habits are part of the Private Victory and Independence that is individual and internal for every person:

  • Be Proactive – the first Habit begins a path of self-control. By learning to choose a response to a stimulus a person must consider alternatives and consequences before action. By avoiding the unplanned reaction, I have an opportunity to realize the power of good decisions.
  • Begin with the End in Mind – the second Habit encourages long-term planning. By looking ahead and choosing goals a person must decide between what is important and what is not. By focusing on what I want to, I they avoid aimlessly wandering around and wasting time and energy.
  • Put First Things First – the third Habit teaches strategic and tactical thinking. By carefully considering how to achieve the goals of Habit 2 a person must consider time and resources. By forcing me to look at the steps needed I must carefully plan my time and consider what the most important elements are for me to complete and in what order.

These first 3 Habits set the path for an individual to begin to take responsibility for his or her actions. At the beginning of life’s journey, it’s important to feel the power and confidence that comes when we are acting and not being acted upon. The attitudes of being controlled by others or being a victim with no alternatives are challenged and disproven by understanding and practicing these Habits in every aspect of our lives.

The next 3 Habits are part of the Public Victory and Interdependence that is external when dealing with others.

  • Think Win-Win – the fourth Habit is an attitude and a principle of respect and honor for another person. It begins with a belief that others have good motives and will deal honestly when discussing or negotiating a desired outcome. It assumes that unless both parties agree that they are benefitted then negotiations are not complete. Win-Win or No Deal is a worthy goal, and I must develop courage and patience to realize it when working with others.
  • Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood – the fifth Habit teaches empathy and can shift paradigms. We all have opinions about circumstances and people based on our experiences and fantasies. By committing to listen carefully to another person and learning to ask a good question we learn and grow in respect and desire to help another person. I must be humble to avoid pre-judgments, but I learn how to build deep and valuable relationships with another person.
  • Synergize – the sixth Habit develops creativity and out-of-the-box skills in solving problems. The criteria for success are to agree upon solutions together that are significantly and measurably better than any individual can think of alone. The other 5 Habits must be applied properly to realize the power and satisfaction that the 6 Habit can bring. When I am part of a synergistic solution I feel confident that the plan will be successful and appreciative of the contribution of each member of the team – it’s OUR success, not MY success.

The synopsis above gives an overview of the timeless principles that are learned and practiced in the 7 Habits. By trying and often failing in little ways an individual learns and grows. As wise leaders encourage a person to try new and challenging things and then coaches them how to improve, a student (of any age) learns that they can do more than they thought they could.

These positive experiences build a quiet confidence and repeated “successes” reinforces the internal feeling of self-worth and value that each person deserves. This confidence leads to competence since the results can be duplicated by utilizing the same Habits in each new circumstance.

What are Some Observable Changes in Me from Utilizing the 7 Habits?

  • From “I Can’t” to “I Can”.
  • From Fearful to Courageous
  • From Timid to Speaking Up• From Follower to Leader
  • From Isolated to Feeling Joined
  • From Hesitant to Confident
  • From Unable to Competent
  • What would you add??