What will guide us best in 2021 and beyond?
In life we need to be effective. What are best practices in 2021? Doing the same thing over and over and not getting the results we want is certainly not effective, is it? Why do we do it then? Changing our habits is the solution. Change is a scary word to most people, yet look what we’ve been through in the last year and we’re still here, right? When we eventually unmask and reveal our true identity, how will you show up? Will you be trapped in the problems or freed in the future solutions?
One of our greatest and most successful guides in the last century is probably Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Of course we don’t need to have the desire to a highly successful person, just one that can negotiate the path we’re on well and build on it for a successful future, right? What do we need to know and how can we practice that knowledge so that it benefits our lives?
Steven Covey’s 7 Habits – Best Practices in 2021
Let’s begin with taking a look at those 7 Habits and just ponder them as you go down the list. No doubt you’ll have an inner essay going on, comparing and contrasting your current habits with those that are offered. I’d highly recommend getting the audio book if you don’t have it, and if you do have it, revisit it often. The seven habits are as follows:
- Be proactive
- Begin with the end in mind
- Put first things first
- Think win/win
- Seek to understand first, before making yourself understood
- Learn to synergize
- Sharpen the saw
Being proactive means you want to take action toward upcoming events in your life, whether it is simply creating a mental map or actually doing something doesn’t matter. It’s making the step toward anticipation and away from anxiety. Having an insatiable curiosity and asking the right questions lead to greater results than just meeting things as they come, which is what most of us do. We’re reactionary instead of proactive.
Beginning with the end in mind gives us a mental picture of where we desire to be or to achieve. I think it was Napoleon Hill who brought the statement, ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ Knowing where you want to be allows the questions of how to get there to emerge; the more we put our attention on the goal, and keep it there, the more easily the steps emerge.
Putting first things first is about priorities. Most of us have priorities that don’t match our vision when it comes to serving the mission of our life. What do feel is most important? Is it really? What else might be more important? How are you structuring those priorities with your daily activity? Do they match? Where do you need to adjust?
Thinking win/win means there is mutual gain in any transaction. Every interaction you have with another is a transaction in communication, at least. There is a mutual understanding of each other, hopefully. In approaching the activity of building resources, both human and material, how can you offer something in return or even make a random act of kindness toward another in your supply chain?
Seeking to understand first and then be understood is probably one of the greatest challenges we’ll have. Why? Because it involves communication; effective communication. If you ask any leader of a company or organization what their greatest challenge is, 9 our of 10 will probably say – communication. Conflicts and misunderstandings come from not understanding the dictionary each speaks from, the trigger words inherent in it as well as the words that create safe space and understanding. One of the best means of effective communication is using active listening.
I’ve pulled some basics from VeryWellMind to use here:
Features of Active Listening – Best Practice of 2021
Active listening involves more than just hearing someone speak. When you practice active listening, you are fully concentrating on what is being said. You listen with all of your senses and give your full attention to the person speaking.
Below are some features of active listening:
- Neutral and nonjudgmental
- Patient (periods of silence are not “filled”)
- Verbal and nonverbal feedback to show signs of listening (e.g., smiling, eye contact, leaning in, mirroring)
- Asking questions
- Reflecting back what is said
- Asking for clarification
In this way, active listening is the opposite of passive hearing. It’s truly a best practice for 2021 to establish the best communication.
Active listening serves the purpose of earning the trust of others and helping you to understand their situations. Active listening comprises both a desire to comprehend as well as to offer support and empathy to the speaker.
It differs from critical listening, in that you are not evaluating the message of the other person with the goal of offering your own opinion. Rather, the goal is simply for the other person to be heard, and perhaps to solve their own problems.
Active listening means not engaging in unhelpful listening habits such as the following:
- Being stuck in your own head
- Not showing respect for the speaker
- Only hearing superficial meaning (not hearing underlying meaning)
- Not making eye contact
- Rushing the speaker
- Becoming distracted
- “Topping” the story (saying “that reminds me of the time…”)
- Forgetting what was said in the past
- Asking about unimportant details
- Focusing too much on details and missing the big picture
- Ignoring what you don’t understand
- Only pretending to pay attention
If you can practice better communication, your life will change dramatically for the better. Don’t try to be perfect, just be better with each attempt. It’s a practice, just like any discipline. The more you practice, the better you get. Your life may depend on it someday.
Learning to synergize is a challenge for most of us. We have so many deadlines and details, as well as commitments, floating around in our heads it’s a wonder we get anything done sometimes. It isn’t that difficult to learn how to synergize. Step back and take a look at everything on your plate, all of it. See the big picture, begin with the end in mind, and look for the natural patterns of how things fit together. There is a natural order that makes the best use of your energy and time, like a time management expert.
Sharpening the saw means making you the best you you can be – YOU are the ONE. It’s not selfish or self-centered, it’s honoring your BEing. It entails having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Applying yourself in each area enhances them all synergistically.
Another option as a best practice in 2021… Back at the beginning of the sideways movement of society in 2020, it occurred to me that perhaps a reflection on how to look around fearlessly and engage a better attitude toward each other might actually help us all. It’s a short video that you may find some value in as well. If you’d like to schedule a call to see how I can serve you, click here.