Put First Things First

Stephen R. Covey, author of the bestselling “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” died yesterday at age 79.

If you have not read “The 7 Habits,” I encourage you to pick up a copy today. The book has sold over 25 million copies in 38 languages. Here’s a very quick summary of the Habits:

  1. Be Proactive. Take initiative and responsibility for your choices and their consequences.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind. Clarify your most important values and life goals through a personal mission statement.
  3. Put First Things First. Organize your time and activities by importance, not urgency.
  4. Think Win-Win. Seek mutually beneficial solutions in all your relationships.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood. Genuinely listen to others and seek to learn from them.
  6. Synergize. Achieve bigger goals by combining the strengths of a team.
  7. Sharpen the Saw. Renew yourself mentally, spiritually and physically on a regular basis.

I first read the book for a seminary class and was motivated to develop my own personal mission statement, which over the years has evolved into the following: “My mission is to identify, develop and encourage ministry leaders who will in turn develop other ministry leaders for God’s kingdom.” I continue to review the 7 Habits at least once a year, making adjustments as needed in my own life and leadership so that I am living in alignment with that mission.

What is your own experience with the 7 Habits?

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