The 7 Habits Book Series Review: Habit #1 – Be Proactive
Posted on 02.20.2019
At Achilles Group, we are big believers in continuing education and bettering ourselves through the proactive pursuit of knowledge. Our team recently read through “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey, a book that has been a best-seller for decades. If you haven’t read it, you’ll soon know why – in his book, Covey explains that our personalities are a mixture of habits. Every day we express these habits subconsciously, and in turn, show our effectiveness and ineffectiveness.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll take a look at each habit and break down the takeaways that can help you apply these habits in your own lives, both personally and professionally. This week, we’re covering the first Habit, “Be Proactive”, with input from Achilles Group team member Jared Wondra.
Habit #1: Be Proactive
The first Habit is “Be Proactive”. Covey dives into the idea that the “ultimate freedom of a human person” is the power of choice. We make choices every day and some are more difficult than others. We have the freedom to choose what job we have, the decisions we make for our children and which dessert we prefer at the end of Thanksgiving dinner. But sometimes our circumstances force us to make hard decisions. Covey explains that a proactive person understands that, “I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” Instead of worrying about what can’t be controlled, proactive people focus on what they can control.
How does this apply in the workplace? Jared Wondra explains, “When an organization is proactive and begins the practice of regularly choosing to be proactive, that is usually when they are able to take it to the next level. Most of our clients become a victim of their success, and proactiveness is typically one of the biggest aspects of getting them over the hump of good to great.”
Mistakes. Mistakes happen. But how we respond to our mistakes makes all the difference. Our immediate attitude and response to a situation are derived from our habits. But even when a consequence is unwanted, we still have the choice to respond positively or negatively. When we choose our response to a given situation, we strongly impact the outcome. Covey elaborates, “The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it.” If we do not correct our mistakes and learn from them, we have made yet another mistake.
Jared’s advice to his clients is this: “Being proactive allows you to always be forward thinking. Most organizations live in the moment or even the past once a situation has occurred. If you are proactive, sometimes you can see a problem coming before it even happens.”
Next week, we will be looking at Covey’s second habit for highly effective people: Begin with The End in Mind.