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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Covey’

Choosing Not to be Angry

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

I was teaching the 7 Habits at a professional gathering last week when I experienced something remarkable. While I spoke about Habit 1, Be Proactive, and some of the principles for being responsible for your own life or carrying your own weather and choosing your own response, a gentleman from the audience stood up. Right before this big audience, this man stood up on his chair and essentially said the following (I’m paraphrasing):

“Last week my wife left me. It was totally unexpected. I have felt a mixture of feelings from being hurt, feeling anger, betrayal and embarrassment. But listening to this today I have decided to not be angry anymore. I am going to choose to be happy and not be hurt or embarrassed any longer.”

I was so taken by this man’s sense of humility and courage, and his desire to be the creative force of his life rather than being victim to his circumstances or his relationship with his wife. I’m sure he was in a lot of turmoil and feeling like the world had crashed down on him. But he gained the self-awareness that he could still choose his response to his devastating personal challenges. He saw that he could act and not feel acted upon.

I commended him for his decision and affirmed that he can choose to let the anger go, to forgive and create his life. This is often a hard thing to do especially in painful situations like his.  The audience applauded him. I applauded him. I had never seen anything like it.

When I think of this man, I don’t know what will happen to him and his wife. But I do know that if he will grasp onto the principle of being proactive and seeing himself as the creative force of his own life with the choices he makes, he will find meaning and fulfillment in his life—he will eventually find peace of conscience.

Can you think of a situation or relationship in your life where you can choose a better, more effective response? Choose it now!

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Launched My Blog on Huffington Post—“Our Children and the Crisis in Education”

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

I am pleased to announce that I am now a contributor to the Huffington Post. My first blog appeared on Wednesday, April 21. I chose the topic of education in the U.S. and the opportunities we have to really make a big, positive impact in the way we educate our children.

For far too long, we’ve neglected educating our children to become people who can think for themselves, take responsibility, be tolerant and respectful, and work with others in creative ways. Character development is central to the education process but has been lacking for some time. To fill that need, we need stronger partnerships between schools and parents to unleash the potential of every child—to learn, grow and become leaders of their lives. 

One successful program called The Leader in Me Process has been applied at A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, North Carolina. At its core is teaching children, starting at kindergarten, habits of leadership. They are learning how to be accountable, treat others with respect, solve problems creatively, listen to understand and be trustworthy. Academic scores have dramatically improved and behavior problems have significantly dropped. The whole school is involved with this process and parents are thrilled to partner with their school to promote leadership principles with their children at school and at home.  

This Leader in Me Process is being applied in over 200 schools worldwide with remarkable, measurable success. To learn more, please see my blog: “Our Children and the Crisis in Education.” 

You may also be interested in reading my book, The Leader in Me—How Schools and Parents Around the World are Inspiring Greatness, One Child at a Time. 

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A New Tool to Help You Create a Great Career

Friday, April 9th, 2010

When you are looking for work or trying to advance your career, you need all the help you can get. You will find many answers in my book, Great Work, Great Career, co-authored with Jennifer Colosimo. For example, how can you become indispensable at work or how can you stand out from the hundreds of job applicants? What unique contribution can you make based on your talents, experiences and skills? What is an effective resume? Knowing how to create the right opportunities is key to creating a great career and finding lasting success. 

On April 13, FranklinCovey is offering you our Great Career iPhone app for only $2.99. This is a great tool for taking charge of your career. You might want to check it out to see if it’s right for you. Go to: http://bit.ly/aLlL7f

 I hope you will find yourself in a job you love, where you can make a difference and find meaningful purpose.  

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25 Years of Dot-Com. What Do You Predict for the Future?

Thursday, March 18th, 2010

March 15, 2010 marked the 25th anniversary of the first “dot-com” registration on the Internet.  With over 100 million domain registrations and counting, we’ve witnessed an explosion of communication, commerce, idea-sharing, and human connectivity unlike anything else in human history. This truly marks a revolutionary and transformational shift in the way we live, gather information, do commerce, and connect with each other. No domain is unaffected. From societies, governments, communities, businesses to individuals and families, we have all been profoundly impacted by the massive migration to the Internet. 

The impact on societies across the globe cannot be understated as the Internet has provided a democratization tool for people to access information in real time across all boundaries. Still, there are some countries battling the policy of free access to the Internet as evidenced recently by China’s confrontation with Google. However, people find a way to get what they thirst for and eventually get around firewalls in ingenious ways.  

Who can forget the Twitter-revolution in Iran last year as thousands and thousands of Iranians took to the streets to give voice to their aspirations for legitimacy in their election outcomes? The human voice is deep and relentless. It cannot be suppressed. Our new Internet technology literally gives voice to countless people of all ages, ethnicities, race, gender, religions, political persuasions, rich or poor.  People who were previously disenfranchised are now empowered and equipped to express their voice! 

Recently, with the cataclysmic disaster in Haiti, donations poured instantly as people used their social networks and texting to pour their generous funds to the people of Haiti. It’s never been easier to click your way to making an instant impact in the lives of people in one’s own neighborhood or to far away neighbors across the globe.  

What Do You Predict for the Future of the Internet?

At the 25th Anniversay of .Com Policy Impact Forum in Washington DC on March 16, many prominent leaders from different fields discussed the impact of the dot-com sensation. These leaders shared their excitement along with their concerns for a free-wielding Internet/ technology. They looked through their “crystal ball” to predict what the future would hold with this powerful but challenging medium.  

So what are your thoughts? What do you predict is the future of the Internet? Are you better off today being connected 24/7? Are you feeling overwhelmed or do you feel more in charge of your life? Has your productivity increased or decreased? How do you discern the credibility or truth behind all the countless messages, ideas or agendas online? How are you using the Internet to find solutions to your pressing problems? How has the Internet brought you new opportunities or brought you closer to your family, friends, or loved ones? 

I encourage you to ask yourself: Where do I need to connect more? Where do I need to simply disconnect to gain better balance and control in my life? I know my grandchildren are already natives to the Internet. I am not. They face many great opportunities if they choose to anchor themselves on guiding principles that will help them determine what is good and what is not, and what is simply distracting or negative on the Internet. Without that anchor they are at risk of being enslaved by forces that will pull them in conflicting directions, leaving them without a principle-centered compass to help them take charge of their own lives.  

This is an exciting time with great opportunities for good. I look forward to the future and the promise of people all around the world and their desire for greatness. The Internet can be a powerful tool to fulfill that greatness!

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How to Land a New Job in a Tough Economy

Monday, March 9th, 2009

If you or someone you know is looking for a job, I would like to share a couple thoughts to help you find new work. One of the things I often tell people is that you can’t do a job-search the way you used to. Most people rely on a job application form and a resume. That doesn’t work anymore, although, those are useful things. In today’s world you have to adopt a new mindset for finding and securing a job—and not just a job but work that you would find meaningful.

The new mindset is: be a solution, not a problem to a prospective employer. When you call or submit your resume, it likely goes into a pile with perhaps hundreds of other resumes or applications. This is a problem for the employer; you are one more person they have to deal with.

However, what if you took the time to really research the company you want to work? Read up about what’s going right now in the company. Find someone you might know to talk to about what they’re dealing with and what they’re trying to accomplish. If you don’t know someone, make a call to find someone willing to spend a few minutes with you. Network with their suppliers or one of their clients to get a better understanding of the company, department or person you want to work for. Between the Internet and networking, you can piece together a picture of what would be of specific value to them. From there you can see if your experience, talent, skills, and passion match up to what they need. Now you can creatively position yourself as a solution and differentiate yourself. Get a conversation started in the company by presenting yourself as a solution to their problems not as a person looking for a job.

The tougher things get the more creative and solution-oriented you have to become. Be a solution, not a problem—and you’ll significantly increase your ability to land a new job.

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Most Important Habit?

Friday, December 5th, 2008

I am often asked if there is one habit out of the 7 Habits that is more important than the others. Of course, all the habits are important and they form an inter-connected whole or a continuum. For maximum effectiveness, you have to build from one to the other and apply them consistently. From that perspective, Habit 1: Be Proactive provides the foundation for all the other habits. Habit 1 is, undoubtedly, the foundation for leadership at home or at work because it begins with the mindset “I am responsible for me, and I can choose.”All the other habits are dependent upon being proactive and choosing to master and practicing principle-centered living.

The key to being proactive is remembering that between stimulus and response there is a space. That space represents our choice— how we will choose to respond to any given situation, person, thought or event. Imagine a pause button between stimulus and response—a button you can engage to pause and think about what is the principle-based response to your given situation. Listen to what your conscience tells you. Listen for what is wise and the principle-based thing to do, and then act.

Being proactive (Habit 1) becomes much more powerful when connected and related to the other habits. The key to the habits is the power of their combined synergy and meaningful purpose. Leaving one habit out is like having a four-legged chair—when you remove one leg the chair is out of balance.

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Thanksgiving–A Willingness to Serve

Friday, November 21st, 2008

I just completed a speaking tour in Brazil, where I met and talked with many amazing, gracious people, who are profoundly committed to principle-centered living and service. One couple traveled over 15 hours with their baby to hear me speak. When they got there they were told that no babies were allowed in the hall. Not wanting to disappoint them, the organizers of the event offered to babysit their baby so they could attend the program. What a magnificent gesture and display of compassion and willingness to serve!

Another encounter also moved me and humbled me. I had the privilige of meeting with Dr. Ricardo Guimaraes who made great efforts to travel for the event. He is an eye doctor who years ago was in a bad airplane accident, where he risked his own life by pulling out passengers of the plane. As a result, Dr. Guimaraes suffered severe burns on his body with scars on many parts of his body that are still visible today. This experience caused him to have a total life change and he made the decision to be more service-oriented. He is now working with our FranklinCovey office in Brazil helping to develop The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens program to help the youth in Brazil. As I sat with Dr. Guimaraes, talking over lunch, I was so moved by his humility, courage, and willingness to serve.

When we are willing to serve others, we find our voice and our greatest selves. I encourage each of you to find your voice, especially during this holiday season of Thanksgiving in the U.S.. It is is in giving that we receive life’s greatest blessings. Thank you for all that you do in your families, workplaces, and community!

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Restoring Trust Can be an Enormously Positive Adventure

Friday, October 31st, 2008

When examining the great losses we’re seeing in the global financial crisis, one thing is very clear: one of the greatest losses we feel is broken trust. But all is not lost. It is a challenging path and a time consuming one, but trust can be re-built and restored.

In any given situation, both personal and in professional life, I think that the process of restoring trust can be an enormously positive adventure because you can redeem yourself and create newness. For example, when you have a broken relationship with someone, you have to learn to acknowledge your role in it, apologize, and  have humility. Then you need to find a way to involve the person in a process of coming up with a new relationship.

I sometimes use the metaphor of an Emotional Bank Account. Like a financial bank account, you can make deposits and take withdrawals from the account. When you make consistent deposits, out of your integrity and out of your empathy—that means your understanding of what deposits and withdrawals are to other people—those two things—empathy and integrity—that little by little you can restore trust.

Think of your own crisis you may dealing with—perhaps a broken trust at work or at home or with a friend—and think of how you can restore trust in the relationship. Examine your Emotional Bank Account with this person; it’s most likely strained because of withdrawals. Make a commitment to start making deposits that matter most to that person, and do it. Little by little, even with small deposits, you will find that the account will grow. It may take time. But over time you will find the cumulative effect of the deposits. Slowly, depending on the severity of the broken trust, you can find trust being re-built and restored, and new relationship will be born. Of course, this also depends on the other person, but you can choose to do your part regardless of the other person—to focus on your circle of influence. And you will find some peace, knowing that you’ve done your part.

Reach out to someone today with whom you have a strained relationship or someone whose relationship needs strengthening. Make a deposit in their Emotional Bank Account…and commit to continuing the deposits. And don’t forget making deposits in your strong, high-trust relationships—it’s what keeps them strong! Enjoy the adventure!

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