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Overview of "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

LVPicker

7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE" by Steven Covey

Shift your paradigm of your involvement in this material from the role of learner to that of teacher.  Read with the purpose of sharing what you learn with someone else.

In all of life, there are sequential stages of growth and development.  A child learns to turn over, to sit up, to crawl, and then to walk and run.  Each step is important and each one takes time.  No step can be skipped.

This is true in all areas of development, whether it be learning to play the piano or communicate effectively.  It is true with individuals, with marriages, with families and with organizations.

We look for a shortcut, expecting to be able to skip some of these vital steps in order to save time and effort and still reap the desired result.

What happens when we attempt to shortcut the natural process of growth and development?  If you are only an average tennis player but decide to play at a higher level in order to make a better impression, what would the result be?  Would positive thinking alone enable you to compete effectively against a professional?

What if you were to lead your friends to believe you could play the piano at concert hall level while your actual present skill was that of a beginner?

The answers are obvious.  It is simply impossible to violate, ignore, or shortcut this developmental process.  It is contrary to nature, and attempting to seek such shortcuts only results in disappointment and frustration.

On a ten-point scale, if I am at level two in any field, and desire to move to level five, I must first take the step toward level three.  "A thousand-mile journey begins with the first step" and can only be taken one step at a time.

If you don't let a teacher know what level you're at-by asking a question, or revealing your ignorance-you will not learn or grow.  You cannot pretend for long, for you will eventually be found out.  Admission of ignorance is often the first step in our education.

Our level of development is fairly obvious with tennis or piano playing, where it is impossible to pretend.  But it is not so obvious in the areas of character and emotional development.  We can "pose" and "put on" for a stranger or an associate.  We can pretend.  And for a while we can get by with it-at least in public.  We might even deceive ourselves.  Yet I believe that most of us know the truth of what we really are inside; and I think many of those we live with and work with do as well.

There are times to teach and times not to teach.  When relationships are strained and the air is charged with emotion, an attempt to teach is often perceived as a form of judgment and rejection.

THE WAY WE SEE THE PROBLEM IS THE PROBLEM

People are intrigued when they see good things happening in the lives of individuals, families and organizations that are based on solid principles.  They admire such personal strength and maturity, such family unity and teamwork, such adaptive synergistic organizational culture.

Their immediate request is very revealing.  "How do you do it?  Give me some quick fix advice solution that will fix my problem."

Long-term thinkers are turned off by motivations speakers who have nothing more to share than entertaining stories mingled with platitudes.  They want substance and process.  They want to solve the chronic underlying problems and focus on the principles that bring long-term results.

The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.

The inside-out approach says that private victories precede public victories, that making and keeping promises to ourselves precedes making and keeping promises to others.  It says it is futile to put personality ahead of character, to try to improve relationships with others before improving ourselves.

Habits have tremendous pull.  Breaking deeply imbedded habitual tendencies such as procrastination, impatience, or selfishness involves more than a few minor changes in our lives.  "Lift off" takes a tremendous effort, but once we break out of the gravity pull, our freedom takes on a whole new dimension.

A habit is the intersection of knowledge, skill and desire.  In order to make something a habit in our lives, we have to have all three.

I may be ineffective in my interactions with my work associates, my spouse, or my children because I constantly tell them what I think, but I never really listen to them.  Unless I search out correct principles of human interaction, I may not even know I need to listen.

Even if I do know that in order to interact effectively with others I really need to listen to them, I may not have the skill.  I may not know how to really deeply listen to another human being.

But knowing I need to listen and knowing how to listen is not enough.  Unless I want to listen, unless I have the desire, it won't be a habit in my life.  Creating a habit requires work in all three dimensions.

THE MATURITY CONTINUUM

We may need to change our circumstances, but the dependence problem is a personal maturity issue that has little to do with circumstances.  Even with the better circumstances, immaturity and dependence often persist.

As an interdependent person, I have the opportunity to share myself deeply, meaningfully, with others, and I have access to vast resources and potential of other human beings.

Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make.  Dependent people cannot choose to become interdependent.  They don't have the character to do it; they don't own enough of themselves.

Private victories precede public victories.  You can't invert that process anymore than you can harvest a crop before you plant it.

When children are little, they are very dependent, very vulnerable.  It becomes so easy to neglect the training, the communicating, the relating, the listening.  It's easy to take advantage, to manipulate, to get what you want the way you want it-right now!  You're bigger, you're smarter, and you're right!  So why not just tell them what to do?  If necessary, yell at them intimidate them, insist on your way.

Or you can indulge them.  You can go for popularity, or please them, giving them their way all the time.  Then they grow up without any internal sense of standards or expectations, without a personal commitment to being disciplined or responsible.

Either way--authoritarian or permissive--you want to have it your way or you want to be liked, but when they start making their own decision, what experience in making their own decisions or delaying gratification do they have?

BETWEEN STIMULUS AND RESPONSE IS OUR FREEDOM TO CHOOSE.  We have self-awareness, imagination, conscience and independent will.

Responsibility is the ability to choose your response.  Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility.  They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior.  Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling.

Because we are, by nature, proactive, if our lives are a function of conditioning and conditions, it is because we have, by conscious decision or by default, chosen to empower those things to control us.

In making such a choice, we become reactive.  Reactive people are often affected by their physical environment.  If the weather is good, they feel good.  If it isn't, it affects their attitude and their performance.  Proactive people carry their own weather with them.  whether it rains or shines makes no difference to them.  They are value driven; and if their value is to produce good quality work, it isn't a function of whether the weather is conductive to it or not.

Reactive people are also affected by their social environment, by the "social weather."  When people treat them well, they feel well; when people don't, they become defensive or protective.  Reactive people build their emotional lives around the behavior of others, empowering the weaknesses of other people to control them.

Reactive people are driven by feelings, by circumstances, by conditions, by their environment.  Proactive people are still influenced by external stimuli, but their choice is value-based.

Until a person can say deeply and honestly, "I am what I am today because of the choices I made yesterday," that person cannot say, "I choose otherwise."

I have the power to choose my response.  I realize that I do have that power and that I did choose to be miserable.  I also realized that I could choose to not be miserable.

Taking initiative does not mean being pushy, obnoxious or aggressive.  It means recognizing our responsibility to make things happen.  Holding people to the responsible course is not demeaning; it is affirming.

The difference between people who exercise initiative and those who don't is about a 1000% difference.  The difference between positive thinking and being proactive is facing reality.

You must ask:

  • What's happening?  What's creating this?
  • What's going to happen in the future?
  • What do we need to be doing?

The language of reactive people absolves them of responsibility.

"That's me.  That's just the way I am."

REACTIVE LANGUAGE:

  • There's nothing I can do.
  • That's just the way I am.
  • He makes me so mad.
  • I have to.
  • I can't.
  • If only...

PROACTIVE LANGUAGE:

  • What are the alternatives?
  • I can choose.
  • I control my feelings.
  • I can choose the appropriate response.
  • I will

The nature of reactive people is to absolve themselves of responsibility.  

Be being PROACTIVE, you increase your circle of influence.  By taking the initiative to find out what you can do to improve your situation, rather than waiting for others to fix them for you, you expand your influence.

Anytime we think "the problem is out there," we empower what's out there to control us.  (Joseph Bible Story)

If I really want to improve my situation, I can work on the one thing over which I have control--myself.  I can stop trying to shape up my wife and work on my own weaknesses.  I can focus on being a great marriage partner, a source of unconditional love and support.  Hopefully, my wife will feel the power of proactive example and respond in kind.  but whether she does or doesn't, the most positive way I can influence my situation is to work on myself.

Sometimes the most proactive thing we can do is to be happy, just to genuinely smile.  Happiness, just like unhappiness is a CHOICE.

While we are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of those actions.  Consequences are governed by natural law.  We also can't undo past mistakes, we can't control the consequences that came as a result.  

It's not what others do or even our own mistakes that hurt us the most; it is our response to those things.  Bitterness only deepens the poison.  The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it right away, correct and learn from it.  This literally turns a failure into a success.

KEEPING COMMITMENTS

As we make and keep commitments, even small commitments, we begin to establish an inner integrity that gives us the awareness of self-control and the courage and strength to accept more of the responsibility for our own lives.  By making and keeping promises to ourselves and others, little by little, our honor becomes greater than our moods.

In order to keep commitments, we need to make ones we can keep.  It is so common to commit to things that are beyond our reach, only to fail and lose our sense of self-control and inner integrity.  If we can learn how to set small goals that we can achieve, if we learn how to make small commitments we can keep, we can build our self-image and integrity to the point based on a pattern of personal success.

Test the principle of proactivity for 30 days.  Work only on your Circle of Influence.  Make small commitments and keep them.  Be a light, not a judge.  Be a model, not a critic.  Be part of the solution, not the problem.

Try it in your marriage, in your family, in your job.  Don't argue for other people's weaknesses.  Don't argue for your own.  When you make a mistake, admit it, correct it, and learn from it--immediately.  Don't et into blaming, accusing mode.  Work on the things you have control over.  Work on you.

Look at the weaknesses of others with compassion, not accusation.  It's not what they're not doing or should be doing that's the issue.  The issue is your own chosen response to the situation and what you should be doing.

The way I learned not to judge others was to see them from the perspective of where they've COME FROM, not where they are.  It's easy to look at someone and see their faults.  What's impossible to know is where they've had to come from to be the person they are today.  For me, I had to imagine a past that was even more challenging than their present.  I had to look at them and imagine how incredible it is that they've made it THIS far and how that is an indication of the fact that they can be even more!  Rather than seeing them as a failure, or disappointment, I began to see their achievements and their potential.

We also tend to judge before we fully understand the situation.  I remember one time when my family was at the local pool.  Another family was their with their two young boys.  One of the boys obviously had Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  I thought to myself, "What a terrible mother, drinking while she was pregnant."  I did my best not to let that thought cloud my image of her and how I talked to her, but I must admit, it did affect me.

As we talked further, she related a story of how a woman had come up to her in the mall and told her what a horrible person she was to have done what she did to her son.  The mother calmly replied, "I understand exactly how you feel.  I felt the same way when I first saw him.  That's why we decided to adopt him and give him the best chance possible for his future."

How do you think that other woman felt?  How do you think I felt?  Before you begin to criticize, imagine where they might have come from, what the GOOD explanation might be.

Spouse home late?  Be thankful it wasn't an accident that kept them.  Someone fail to follow through on a commitment?  Keep in mind that they might have things going on in their life that you don't know about.  

I remember another time when a staff member didn't show up at work.  She didn't have a perfect record, but she wasn't always late.  You can't imagine how glad I was that I didn't start giving her the third degree when I got a hold of her.  Her sister had just been in an accident and broken her neck.

BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the business of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall.  It is possible to be busy-very busy-without being very effective.

People find themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them.  People from every walk of life--doctors, academics, politicians, everyone-often struggle to achieve a higher income, more recognition or a certain degree of professional competence, only to find that their drive to achieve their goal blinded them to the things that really mattered most and now those things are gone.  WHAT REALLY MATTERS?

All things are created twice, once in the mind and once in action.  We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly EFFECTIVE only when we begin with the end in mind.

If you want to raise responsible, self-disciplined children, you have to keep that end clearly in mind as you interact with your children on a daily basis.

If we do not develop self-awareness, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives.  We live reactively to the scripts handed to us by family, associates, other people's agendas, the pressures of circumstance -- scripts from our earlier years, from our training and our past conditioning.

MANAGEMENT IS DOING THINGS RIGHT; LEADERSHIP IS DOING THE RIGHT THINGS.  Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.

The leader is the one who climbs the tallest tree, surveys the entire situation, and yells, "Wrong jungle!"  But so often the busy, efficient producers and managers often respond, "Shut up, we're making great progress!"

Suppose I am highly over reactive to my children.  Suppose that whenever they begin to do something I feel is inappropriate, I sense an immediate tensing in the pit of my stomach.  I feel defensive walls go up; I prepare for battle.  My focus is not on the long-term growth and understanding, but on the short-term behavior.  I'm trying to win the battle, not the war.

I pull out my ammunition--my superior size, my position of authority--and I yell or intimidate or I threaten or punish.  And I win.  I stand there, victorious, in the middle of the debris of a shattered relationship while my children are outwardly submissive and inwardly rebellious, suppressing feelings that will come out later in uglier ways.

We get caught up in the "thick of thin things."  What matters most gets buried under layers of pressing problems.

WHAT MATTERS MOST?

Assume you have only this year to live and that during this year you still need to maintain the minimum responsibilities you have in your life.  How do you want to spend the year?  Now...spend your life the same way.

Visualize yourself in the toughest situation you can imagine, then, if and when you encounter it, you have some ideas about what you can do.

If you visualize the wrong thing, you'll produce the wrong thing.

Dr. Charles Garfield did research that showed almost all world-class athletes and other peak performers are visualizers.  They see it; they feel it; they experience it before they actually do it.  They begin with the end in mind.  

If goals are the extension of a mission statement based on correct principles, they will be vitally different from the goals people normally set.  They will be in harmony with correct principles, with natural laws, which gives you greater power to achieve them.  They are not someone else's goals you have absorbed, they are your goals.  They reflect your deepest values, your unique talent, your sense of mission.

An effective goal focuses primarily on results rather than activity.  It identifies where you want to be, and in the process, helps you determine where you are.  It gives you important information on how to get there, and it tells you when you have arrived.  It gives meaning and purpose to everything you do.  And it can finally translate itself into daily activities so that you are making things happen each day that will enable you to fulfill your personal mission statement.

Many families are managed on the basis of crises, moods, quick fixes and instant gratification--not on sound principles.  Symptoms surface whenever stress and pressure mount: people become cynical, critical, or silent or they start yelling and overreacting.  Children who observe these kinds of behavior grow up thinking the only way to solve problems is fight or flight.

A lot of companies have impressive mission statements.  But there is a real difference in the effectiveness of a mission statement created by everyone involved in the organization and one written by a few top executives behind a mahogany wall.  SINCERITY is created by involvement.

Without involvement, there is no commitment.

PERSONAL MANAGEMENT

What one thing that you aren't doing now, could you do on a regular basis that would make a positive difference in your personal life?  It's an exercise of independent will toward becoming principle-centered, day-in, day-out, moment-by-moment.

You can't become principle-centered without first being aware of and developing your own proactive nature.  You can't become principle-centered without first being aware of your paradigms and understanding how to shift them and align them with principles.  You can't become principle-centered without a vision of and a focus on the unique contribution that is yours to make.

We realize it's usually not the dramatic, the visible, the once-in-a-lifetime, up-by-the-bootstraps effort that brings enduring success.  Empowerment comes from learning how to use work on habits each and every day.

Effective management is putting first things first.  Leadership decides what "first things" are.

Successful people have a habit of doing the things that failures don't like to do.  The successful individuals don't like doing them either, but their dislike is subordinated to the strength of their purpose (life purpose).  That subordination requires a purpose, a mission, a clear sense of direction and value, a burning YES inside that makes it possible to say NO to other things.

ORGANIZE AND EXECUTE AROUND PRIORITIES

My wife was invited to serve as a chairman of a community project.  She had a number of other important things she was doing, but felt pressured and agreed.

She then called one of her dear friends to ask if she would serve on the committee too.  Her friend listened for a long time and then said, "That sounds like a wonderful project, a really worthy undertaking.  I appreciate so much your inviting me to be part of it.  I feel honored by it.  For a number of reasons, I won' be participating myself, but I want you to know how much I appreciate your invitation."

My wife was ready for anything but a pleasant "no."  She thought, "I wish I had said that."

Keep in mind that you are always saying "no" to something.  If it isn't to the apparent, urgent things in your life, it is probably to the more fundamental, highly important things.  Even when the urgent is good, the good can keep you from your BEST, keep you from your unique contribution, if you let it.

Don't just do what you're good at, do what you're passionate about.

Most people say their main fault is lack of discipline.  That is not the case.  The basic problem is that their priorities have not become deeply planted in their hearts and minds.  Many people recognize the value of Important-But-Not-Urgent activities.  They attempt to give priority to those activities and integrate them into their lives through self-discipline alone.  But without a principle center and a personal mission statement, they don't have the necessary foundation to sustain their efforts.  They're working on the leaves of the problem without examining the roots.

If you are centered on your spouse, your money, your friends, your pleasure or any extrinsic factor, you won't ultimately find fulfillment.  If you're centered on yourself, you'll end up reacting to the impulse of the moment.  Your independent will alone cannot effectively get you to fulfillment.

It's almost impossible to say "no" to the Urgent-but-not- Important things, or turn to the escape of the Unimportant-and-not- Urgent activities when you don't have a bigger "YES" burning inside you.

The first generation of time management does not even recognize the concept of priority. It gives us notes and "to do" lists that we can cross off, and we feel a temporary sense of accomplishment.  There's no pain or strain; its fun to tick things off the list.

First generation manager produce very little and their life-style does nothing to build their production capacity.

Second generation manager generally are seen as more responsible because they "show up" when they're supposed to.  But again, the activities they schedule have no priority or significant achievements and tend to be schedule oriented.

Third generation managers take a significant step forward.  They clarify their values and set goals.  they plan each day and prioritize their activities, but they miss important things that can only be seen from a larger perspective.  

While third generation prioritization provides order to activity, it doesn't question the essential importance of the activity in the first place--it doesn't place the activity in the context of principles, personal mission, roles and goals. It lacks realism, creating the tendency to over-schedule the day, resulting in frustration and the desire to occasionally throw the plan and escape to Unimportant-Non-Urgent activates.

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.  This can best be done in the context of the week.  Your planning tool should be your servant, not your master.  

WRITE DOWN YOUR KEY ROLES such as:

  • Individual
  • Spouse
  • Parent
  • Manager
  • Chairman

Think of one or two important results you should accomplish in each role this week.

Take a few minutes each morning to review your schedule to put you in touch with the value-based decisions you made as you organized the week as well as taking into consideration the unanticipated events that have come up.

Often, when we design a schedule, set goals or begin working on new habits, we ignore the fact that things we don't plan on will occur.  It's the same reason we end up being late.  If you're continually late, it's probably because you don't take into account all the little extra things that take time.  You're focusing too much on to little.

Activities are on a continuum, and some important activities are more important than others.  The more goals are tied into principles and your personal mission, the greater your increase in effectiveness will be.  Living is a function of our self-discipline, our integrity, and commitment--not to short-term goals and schedules or to the impulse of the moment, but to the principles and deep values which give meaning to our goals and lives.

You simply can't thing efficiency with people.  You think EFFECTIVENESS with people and efficiency with things.  "Quality time" to a child or an employee to solve a problem creates new problems and seldom resolves the deepest concerns.

Our children don't want "Quality time", they want our time and they want quality when they have our time.  They want both and the solution is to find more time with which to give them our quality, not to try to cram more quality into a short amount of time.

Frustration is a function of our expectations and our expectations are often a reflection of the social mirror rather than our own values and priorities.

You can adapt; you can be flexible.  You don't have to feel guilty when you don't meet your schedule when you don't meet it if everything you're doing is still focused on your purpose.

The first person you need to consider in terms of effectiveness rather than efficiency is yourself.  Define your unique purpose, including your long-term goals.  This gives direction and purpose to the way you spend each day.  Create balance in your life by rising above the limitations of daily planning.

DELEGATING

We accomplish all that we do through delegation--either to time or to other people.  If we delegate to time, we think efficiency.  If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness.

Stewardship delegation is focused on results instead of methods.  It gives people a choice of method and makes them responsible for results.

DESIRED RESULTS:  Create a clear, mutual understanding of what needs to be accomplished, focusing on what not how; results, not methods.  Spend time.  Be patient.  Visualize the desired result.  Have the person see it, describe it, make out a quality statement of what the results will look like and by when they will be accomplished.

GUIDELINES: Identify the parameters within which the individual should operate.  These should be as few as possible to avoid methods delegation, (which focuses on effort rather than results), but include specific restrictions.  You wouldn't want a person to think he had considerable latitude as long as he accomplished the objectives, only to violate some long-standing traditional practice or value.  That kills initiative and sends people back to "Just tell me what you want me to do, and I'll do it."

If you know the failure paths of the jog, identify them.  Be honest and open--tell a person where the quicksand is.  You don't want to have to reinvent the wheel every day.  Let people learn from your mistakes or the mistakes of others.  Point out the potential failure paths, what not to do, but don't tell them what to do.  Keep the responsibility for results with them--to do whatever is necessary within the guidelines.

RESOURCES: Identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational resources the person can craw on to accomplish the desired results.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Set up the standards of performance that will be used in evaluating the results and the specific times when reporting and evaluation will take place.

CONSEQUENCES: Specify what will happen, both good and bad, as a result of the evaluation.  This could include such things as financial rewards, psychological rewards, different job assignments and natural consequences tied into the overall mission of the organization.

TRUST: Is the very highest form of human motivation.  It brings out the very best in people.  But it takes time and patience and it doesn't preclude the necessity to train and develop people so that their competency can rise to that level of trust.

Effective delegation is perhaps the best indicator of effective management.

The principles involved in stewardship delegation are correct and applicable to any kind of person or situation.  With immature people, you specify fewer desired results and more guidelines, identify more resources, conduct more frequent accountability interviews and apply more immediate consequences.  With more guidelines, less frequent accountability, and less measurable but more discernable criteria.

PRIORITY ORGANIZER pgs 180 & 181

INTERDEPENDENCE

We could not have gotten where we are without coming the way we came.  There aren't any shortcuts.  There's no way to parachute into this terrain.  The landscape ahead is covered with fragments of broken relationships of people who have tried.  They've tried to jump into effective relationships without the maturity, the strength of character, to maintain them.

You can't be successful with other people if you haven't paid the price of success with yourself.

WHO ARE YOU IN PRIVATE?  Real self-respect comes from dominion over self, from true independence.  Is it different than the person you are in public?  The person you are in private will determine the level of success you have in public.

You might have some degree of success when things are easy, but when the difficult times come--and they will--you won't have the foundation to keep things together.

You can't talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into.  Until we stop treating the symptoms and start treating the problem, our efforts will only bring counterproductive results.  We will only be successful at obscuring the chronic pain even more.

Skills that really make a difference in human interaction are the ones that flow naturally from a truly confident individual.  So the place to begin building any relationship is inside yourself.  Once we have control over ourselves, we can begin to affect the world we live in.

EMOTIONAL DEPOSITS

Our most constant relationships, like marriage and children, require the most constant emotional deposits.  With continuing expectations, the things we did to develop the relationship evaporate.  If you suddenly run into an old high school friend you haven't seen in years, you can pick up right where you left off because the earlier deposits are still there.  But your accounts with the people you interact with on a regular basis require more constant investment.  There are sometimes automatic withdrawals in your daily interactions or in their perception of you that you don't even know about.  This is especially true with teenagers in home.

When parents see their children's problems as opportunities to build the relationship instead of as negative, burdensome irritations, it totally changes the nature of parent-child interaction.

MAJOR DEPOSITS

Really seeking to understand another person is probably one of the most important deposits you can make, and it is the key to every other deposit.

Don't interpret what constitutes a deposit based on your own needs and desires, either now or when you were at a similar age in life.  If they don't interpret your effort as a deposit, the tendency will be to feel rejected and give up.

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you" needs to be interpreted as, "Do unto others as you would want others to do to you if you were them (so find out what's important to them first)".

As a parent, never make a promise you don't keep.  That being said, make them carefully and sparingly.  If have to break the promise, apologize.  Sincere apologies make deposits; repeated apologies interpreted as insincere make withdrawals.

Confront the issues, get them out on the table and resolve them, one by one with a spirit of mutual respect.

One of the most important ways to manifest integrity is to be loyal to those who are not present.  In doing so, you build the trust of those who are present.  When you defend those who are absent, you retain the trust of those present.  Leo Roskin said, "It is the weak who are cruel.  Gentleness can only be expected from the strong."

It is more noble to give yourself completely to one individual than to labor diligently for the salvation of the masses.

You could devote your entire life to helping thousands of people and projects "out there" and still not have a deep meaningful relationship with the people who really matter in your life.  It would take more nobility of character--more humility, courage, and strength--to rebuild those close relationships than it would to continue putting in all that time for all those other people and causes.

There are some very well know people who have done a lot for the world in general, but never seemed to get their home life in order.  Bill Clinton was a great leader, but what kind of husband and father was he?

Emotional maturity is the ability to express one's own feelings and convictions balanced with consideration for the thoughts and feelings of others.

THINK WIN/WIN

To go for Win/Win, you not only have to be nice, you have to be courageous.  You not only have to empathetic, you have to be confident.  You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you have to be brave.  To achieve that balance between courage and consideration, is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to Win/Win.

People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit--even with those who help in the production.  They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other people--even, and sometimes especially, members of their own family or close friends and associates.

Although they might verbally express happiness for others' success, inwardly they are eating their hearts out.  Their sense of worth comes from being compared, and someone else's success, to some degree, means their failure.

People with a Scarcity Mentality harbor secret hopes that others might suffer misfortune--not terrible misfortune, but acceptable misfortune that would keep them "in their place."

They want other people to be the way they want them to be.  They surround themselves with "yes" people--people who won't challenge them, people who are weaker than they.

It's difficult for people with a Scarcity Mentality to be members of a complementary team.  They look on differences as signs of insubordination and disloyalty.

Victory means success in effective interaction that brings mutually beneficial results to everyone involved.

If you put good people in bad systems, you get bad results.

FORMING WIN/WIN AGREEMENTS

FIRST, see the problem from the other point of view.  Really seek to understand and to give expression to the needs and concerns of the other party as well as or better than they can themselves.

SECOND- identify the key issues and concerns (not positions) involved.

THIRD- determine what results would constitute a fully acceptable solution.

FOURTH- identify possible new options to achieve those results.

Desired results (not methods) identify what is to be done and when

Guidelines specify parameters (principles, policies, etc.) within which results are to be accomplished

Resources identify the human, financial, technical, or organizational support available to help accomplish the results.

Accountability sets up the standards of performance and the time of evaluation

Consequences specify--god and bad, natural and logical--what does and will happen as a result of the evaluation.

When my daughter turned 16, we set up a Win/Win agreement regarding use of the family car.  We agreed that she would obey the laws of the land and that she would keep the car clean and properly maintained.  We agreed that she would use the car only for responsible purposes and would serve as a cab driver for her mother and me within reason.  And we also agreed that she would do all her other jobs cheerfully without being reminded.  These were our wins.

We also agreed that I would provide some resources--the car, gas and insurance.  And we agreed that she would meet weekly with me, usually on Sunday afternoon, to evaluate how she was doing based on our agreement.  The consequences were clear.  As long as she kept her part of the agreement, she could use the car.  If she didn't keep it, she would lose the privilege until she decided to.

This Win/Win agreement set up clear expectations from the beginning on both our parts.  It was a win for her--she got to use the car--and it was certainly a win for my wife and I.  Now she could handle her own transportation needs and even some of ours.  We didn't have to worry about maintaining the car or keeping it clean.  And we had a built-in accountability, which meant I didn't have to hover over her or manage her methods.  Her integrity, her conscience, her power of discernment and our high Emotional Bank Account managed her infinitely better.  We didn't have to get emotionally strung out, trying to supervise her every move and coming up with punishments or rewards on the spot if she didn't do things the way we thought she should.  We had a Win/Win agreement, and it liberated all of us.

EMPATHETIC COMMUNICATION

Communication is the most important skill in life.  Seek first to understand, then to be understood. You can always seek first to understand.  That's something within your control.

When another person speaks, we're usually "listening" at one of four levels.  We may be ignoring another person, not really listening at all.  We may be pretending.  "Yeah.  Uh-huh.  Right."  We may practice selective listening, hearing only certain parts of the conversation.  We often do this when we're listening to the constant chatter of a preschool child.  Or we may even practice attentive listening, paying attention and focusing energy on the words that are being said.  But very few of us ever practices the fifth level, the highest form of listening, empathetic listening.

Empathetic listening is listening with the intent to understand.  I mean seeking first to understand.

Empathy is not sympathy.  Communications experts estimate that only 10% of our communication is represented by the words we say.  another 30% is represented by our sounds, and 60% by our body language.  In empathetic listening, you listen with your ears, but you also, and more importantly, listen with your eyes and with your heart.

Empathetic listening is so powerful because it gives you accurate data to work with.  Instead of projecting your own autobiography and assuming thoughts, feelings, motives and interpretation, you're dealing with the reality inside another person's head and heart.  You're listening to understand.

Empathetic listening is also risky.  It takes a great deal of security to go into a deep listening experience because you open yourself up to be influenced.  You become vulnerable.  It's a paradox, in a sense, because in order to have influence, you have to be influenced.  That means you have to really understand.

There are people who protest that empathetic listening takes too much time.  It may take a little more time initially, but it saves so much time later on.

Rather than just listen hard, REFLECT what you've heard to determine if what you've heard is what they're trying to communicate.  Don't proceed until they are 100% certain you understand exactly what they meant.

Suppose you've been having trouble with your eyes and you decide to go to an optometrist for help.  After briefly listening to your complaint, he takes off his glasses and hands them to you.

"Put these on," he says.  "I've worn this pair of glasses for ten years now and they've really helped me.  I have an extra pair at home; you can wear these."

So you put them on, but it only makes the problem worse.

"This is terrible!" you exclaim.  "I can't see a thing!"

"What's wrong?" he asks.  "They work great for me.  Try harder."

"I am trying," you insist.  "Everything is blurred."

"Well, what's the matter with you?  Think positively."

"Okay.  I positively can't see a thing!"

"Boy are you ungrateful!" he chides.  "And after all I've done to help you."

A salesman comes back from a presentation to a potential client and is asked how it went.

"He didn't buy it.  He wouldn't listen." the salesman replies.

"Then make an effective presentation.  You've got to empathize with his head.  You've got to get into his frame of mind.  You've got to make your point simply and visually and describe the alternative he is in favor of better than he can himself.  That will take some homework.  Are you willing to do that?"

"Why do I have to go through all that?" he asked.

"In other words, you want him to change his position and you're not willing to change your method of presentation?"

"I guess so," he replied.

"Well, then," I said, "just smile about it and learn to live with it."

"I can't live with it," he said.  "It compromises my perfect record."

"Okay, then get to work on an effective presentation!"

When you present your own ideas clearly, specifically, visually and most important, contextually--in the context of deep understanding of their paradigms and concerns--you significantly increase the credibility of your ideas.

You're not wrapped up in your own thing, delivering grandiose rhetoric from a soapbox.  You really understand.  What you're presenting may even be different from what you had originally thought because in your effort to understand, you learned.

Don't push; be patient; be respectful.  People don't have to open up verbally before you can empathize.  you can empathize all the time with their behavior.  You can be discerning, sensitive and aware.

Satisfied needs do not motivate.  It's only the unsatisfied need that motivates.  The greatest need of a human being is to be understood, to be affirmed, to be validated, to be appreciated.

Children desperately want to open up, even more to their parents than to their peers.  And they will, if they feel their parents will love them unconditionally and will be faithful to them afterwards and not judge or ridicule them.

There is transcendent power in a strong intergenerational family.  an effectively interdependent family of children, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins can be a powerful force in helping people have a sense of who they are, where they came from and what they stand for.

A strong intergenerational family is potentially one of the most fruitful, rewarding, and satisfying interdependent relationships.  And many people feel the importance of that relationship.  Look at the fascination we all had with Roots.  Each of us has roots and the ability to trace those roots, to identify our ancestors.

The highest and most powerful motivation in doing that is not for ourselves only, but for our posterity, for the posterity of all mankind. as someone once observe, "There are only two lasting bequests we can give our children--one is roots, the other is wings."

If your parents abused you as a child, that does not mean that you have to abuse your own children.  Yet there's plenty of evidence to indicate that you will tend to live out that script.  But because you're proactive, you can rewrite the script.  You can choose not only not to abuse your children, but to affirm them, to script them in positive ways.

You can write it in your personal mission statement and into your mind and hear.  You can visualize yourself living in harmony with that mission statement in your Daily Private Victory.  You can take steps to love and forgive your own parents, and if they are still living, to build a positive relationship with them by seeking to understand.

A tendency that's run through your family for generations can stop with you.  You're a transition person--a link between the past and the future.  And your own change can affect many, many lives downstream.

http://www.franklincovey.com

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