No more excuses
I have always been ambitious person and having entrepreneurial mindset. I want to move forward and not just stay still and see life passing. I have read before some tips how to be more effective and in some way understanding it but not really. In theory I know what I should do and how to change my habits but I really have not done so. It seems to be easier to think I will change my habits when I have more time and effort to do so. It is a bad way of thinking because now it is the time to change those habits, not tomorrow.
The first habit in the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is to be proactive. Reactive people always focus on things they cannot control. It is true that complaining is easier than putting the effort to change things because complaining equals less effort to make a change. Whereas proactive person acknowledges complaining won’t help in those things he cannot effect and therefor will put his focus on the things he can control. Let’s take our project as an example. When doing our FastPass Tampere if we would have thought that so many guidebooks already exists and why anyone would want to get ours or be part of it we would not be proactive people. Instead we thought how we can improve the product and how to differentiate from others. Once you say it out lout you want to improve an existing product it comes with lot of responsibility and effort to actually live up to it. You need to focus on what you want and focus on the goal instead of the problem.
Something that really made me think was the funeral example in the second habit: begin with the end in mind. Covey paints the picture of a funeral you walk to the church and you notice you know all the people. You walk up to the casket and realize it is your funeral. You look at the procure and notice there are four speakers in your funeral: one from your family, one from your work, one of your friends and one of your community. What you want them to say about you? What you want your life to say about you? That is a really powerful question. I have more or less an idea what I want to be remembered for but instead of just thinking of it I need to start acting towards it. I need to start acting like it today or it is never going to happen. In the past six months in Proakatemia I have been moving forward to my goals and learning more what I really want and getting more motivated to work towards those goals because of the encouragement of my team. However, I am not yet putting all the effort and doing all the actions I could in order to reach those dreams and goals. It is good to think what do I want my life to look like in 5, 15 or 30 years from now. If I change small habits and have end in mind and it will get me where I want to. It is up to us if we decide to stay in our comfort zone, being scared of failure and to be mediocre or do we want to make a change or be the change. Personally I do want to be remembered as someone who added value to the society and now it is up to me to think am I doing those things that will allow others to say that, the answer is no I am not yet doing everything I could. A good tip to take from the book is the Blueperint. Everything is created twice, once in our heads and once in reality. When we write our goals on paper they become more tangible and easier to make them reality.
Prioritizing is not always easy. I am a person who would like to do a lot and often find myself fighting against time. In the past few years I have learned little by little to prioritize things. Habit number three is put first things first. When asked what is important for someone often the answer is wellbeing or relationships was it your family, spouse or children. One would never answer organizing papers or watching TV. Unfortunately, those are the things we might often choose instead of spending the time planning our nutrition or going to the gym or cultivating healthy family environment. There is a horrible disconnection what we say and how we actually allocate our time. Daily we should identify what is the one thing I need to do in order to have a productive day? I have made some to-so lists but I tend not to follow them on daily base. Instead of to-do lists I should start to make not-to-do lists. It would be easier to let go of those habits that take time away from my goals such as spending time on social media.
People tend to be selfish and afraid of others to succeed because they think it will make them lose. Habit number four is think win-win. For you to win does not mean the other one has to lose. There are five potential outcomes but the superior one narrows it down to two: win-win or no deal. No one would make a deal if they did not feel they would get something out of it. It is important to cooperate and not to always compete. Let’s think again our FastPass Tampere instead of going to Visit Tampere Facebook page and write bad comments and reviews we could write about the good things we got out of them. This way their services will reach our audience and most likely they might take some points they liked of our FastPass Tampere and share it and then we reach their audience. Instead of taking the old school way of business which is crash your competitor, cooperation is the key. Cooperation makes both of the parties look good.
We want our point to be heard and we want to talk, talk, talk. We might have a habit not to listen the other one because we are worried what will we say next. Habit number five: seek first to understand then be understood. If you want to have better communication it is important to let the other one talk first. Understand what the other one is saying. We will response better because we understand what the other one said. They will also feel we are more emphatic listeners and will make them like us more. If someone has something on their mind let them say everything out first. Because if you start telling your things before they might not listen because they have their own stuff on their mind and they want to get it out. If you do not want to end up feeling like talking to a wall let the other one say first and they will listen better to you. I feel in Proakatemia this skill improved a lot due to our dialog sessions. I believe dialog session is an effective ‘tool’ how to understand others and how to make yourself understood.
I would not have chosen to be in Proakatemia if I did not want to be in a team or did not believe in teamwork. Habit number six is pretty self-explanatory: synergize. You cannot achieve it with everyone but you should always seek for opportunities. We should forget competing with one another and remember together we can achieve greater things. After all in a team one plus one equals three.
One of the biggest lessons I got out the book was habit number seven: sharpen the saw. Covey tells about a guy who is cutting a tree with a dull saw and struggling to cut down the tree. Other guy asks why doesn’t he sharpen his saw? The one cutting answers he doesn’t have time for that because sharping the saw will take extra time. We do this all the time. We say we want to be in good health but cannot find 30 minutes four times a week to do exercises. Then we left our health go to the point we are physically unable to be effective. We cannot find 15 minutes daily to read a book and mentally stimulate and educate ourselves. We say it takes too much time and then we ask for those little tips and tricks on how to be effective.
I have struggled with time management and thinking I will change my habits when my goals and dreams come more topical. I need to take time for myself. If I want to be a leader, I should find those 15 minutes daily to read a book so I can lead others better or if I want to be in better well-being I should find those 30 minutes to exercise. No more excuses. When you find your inner voice you can help others to find theirs. Instead of me focus it should be we focus.