There is a book that has been on my bookshelf for years. It gets pulled out numerous times every year and is as relevant and timely as it was when it was first published in 1989. That book is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.
This was one of the first real ‘coaching’ books I read and it contains so many great lessons that I have taken with me over the years. It is unfortunate that this book seems to have gotten lost a bit of late, but it still remains a staple for me.
While each of the 7 Habits are critical there are two that jump out each time I wrap up a workshop or a coaching session. The first is Sharpen the Saw. In Mr. Covey’s words “it surrounds the other habits of the Seven Habits paradigm because it is the habit that makes all the others possible.”
How do we stay sharp, how do we build upon the things we learn every day, how do we stick to what we know is the right path or, again to quote the author “how do we stay on an upward spiral”?
It seems these days that we are inundated with tools to have the potential to hone our edges – conferences, books, videos, LinkedIn feeds and posts… and my favorite these day are podcasts. It is both easy and difficult to separate the good from the bad.
But even more important than finding the right content or medium is to understand Habit Three. And that is to understand the dimensions of Urgency and Importance. To have a longer-term vision and to becomes prevention minded we need to remember that continually developing ourselves, our skills and our abilities, while not urgent is critically important and ensures that our “effectiveness takes quantum leaps when we do them.”