LIVING THE LAB LIFE
A BLOG FOR ASCLS REGION V
Leadership Lessons Learned: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change" by Stephen R. Covey
Originally published in 1989, this book has long been hailed as an essential and unequivocal text on personal and interpersonal development. The author advocates for increased success, or "effectiveness," in all of life's endeavors not through quick-fix personality changes, but through deep character changes. The seven habits are as follows:
1: Be Proactive: Proactive people respond to life's challenges based on their values. Reactive people respond on the basis of their feelings, environment, or circumstances.
2: Begin with the End in Mind: Shape your actions around how you want to remembered at the end (whatever end that may be).
3: Put First Things First: Prioritize the essential over the inessential, no matter how urgent the inessential may seem.
4: Think Win/ Win: Approach each conflict with the desire to achieve victory for not just your side but the other side as well.
5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood: Use empathetic communication to understand those around you, to see from their perspective.
6: Synergize: We are more than the sum of our parts. We are strongest when we remember that.
7: Sharpen the Saw: The journey of personal development never ends. So long as we live and continue to have goals in life, we will forever need to assess and reassess our path and performance.
This book has something to teach all of us. It teaches us how to learn about ourselves, how to learn about those around us. This is particularly valuable to those of us in healthcare, since it is our role in society to care for and understand all those in need. Additionally, by taking time for introspection on our values and strengths, we can enhance our confidence in ourselves and our mission and stave off the burnout that so plagues our profession.
The primary shortcoming I found in this text had nothing to do with the lessons being taught, but rather had to do with some of the potential applications. The author at one points states that by rewriting our "programming" as advised by Habit 1: Be Proactive, we can solve all types of mental disorder, including anxiety and depression. Given what I have witnessed in my personal and professional life, I find this assertion dangerous; however, given this text in near thirty years old, this error could simply be attributed to the ignorance of the time.
Would I Recommend the Book?
It is not perfect, but if self-improvement is your goal, this would be an excellent place to start. Take your time with reading it. You will only get out as much as you put in.