I have mentioned Stephen R. Covey several times here on Talking Story, sharing with you what a lasting influence his teaching has had on me, my years of management practice, and my work philosophy of Managing with Aloha.
After a presentation I had done yesterday afternoon, a young woman came up to me and said, “I have been one of your silent Ho‘ohana Community on Talking Story for several months now, and I finally decided to take your advice and read Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I’m about halfway through it, and I’m seeing a lot of the connections in Managing with Aloha. I was wondering; out of his 7 Habits, which one do you think has made the greatest impression on you?”
I had my answer ready before she had barely finished phrasing the question.
Without a doubt, it has been the very first habit, Be Proactive, which Covey calls the Habit of Personal Vision.
For me, this is the one which is the catalyst for the other 6 Habits (7, now that Covey has written The 8th Habit), similar to how Aloha is the catalyst and rootstock for the other 18 values of Managing with Aloha.
One reason is that Responsibility (Kuleana) has always been such a strong driver in my own value system, and Habit 1, Be Proactive is very much about taking initiative and seizing responsibility.
The other significant reason is that Be Proactive is about our ability to choose.
As human beings, we have the incredible power of choice, and we need not be purely reactive creatures, bouncing through our lives like the balls in a pinball machine. Covey made a huge impression on me in this regard: We can choose our personal vision, and almost always, we will have choices to choose from. This is both the privilege and distinction of our belonging to the human race. Coupled with our ability to learn, it can be argued that the power of choice is the defining significance of our species.
This is also not a one-shot deal for us, in fact, we make choices daily. The question is, do we use this ability to choose, and do we exercise our right to do so, always choosing a greater good? Do we develop this ability, this privilege, and this honor into a personal habit?
One of the things we can choose, one of the most important things of all, are our values. We choose them for our lives and our families, and we choose them for our work and our businesses. We choose them by choosing where we will live, and how we will play. We choose our values by choosing our friends and our mentors, and by choosing relationships with others who potentially will play significant roles in our lives.
We choose the values we will live by, and we make either reactive or proactive choices in regard to how they are harnessed, and how they justify and amplify our thought processes.
At this time of my life, my first, and my most proactive choice is Aloha.
What is yours?
11/07/05 Update:Thank you for your comments, and if you are reading this in an RSS feed reader, I encourage you to click in to the trackback by Stacy Brice. I also offer you this related link to a recent October post which has dropped off my main page:
Choose your values, honor your sense of self.