Leader In Me

7 Habits for Families

Habit 1: Be Proactive

            When you are proactive, you take control of you and make choices based on your values.  When you are reactive, you give away your control and make choices based on mood, circumstances, and experiences.


“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  It is possible for us as individuals to develop this capacity to pause and give wise responses.” S. Covey

            Steps to taking control of you.

  1. Pause: Stop what you are doing and pause.
  2. Think: Think about what you should or shouldn’t do.
  3. Choose: Choose the best thing to do.


Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

            Who Am I?  It’s your 75th birthday party and everyone is standing up to say something about the kind of person you’ve been.  What will they say?  Often we get bogged down in the day to day living that we neglect to reflect about the life we lead.  What messages do we give to others through our actions and words?  Beginning with the end in mind is raising an awareness of the person you desire to be so that your legacy will be what you want to hear others say about you.


“One of the most powerful things you can pass on to your children is the sense of building a life based on a mission.” S. Covey

            What 3 adjectives would you want someone to use to describe you?


Habit 3: Put First Things First 

            Think of a bucket filled with rocks,  big rocks and little rocks.  The big rocks are the most important things for you to do in a week, such as: family meals, school, or time with family, or gaining a skills.  Often we ignore those big rocks, and fill our buckets with little rocks of less important things, such as : watching TV or talking on the phone for long period of time, playing video games, Internet surfing.


“One on one time is where most of the real work of the family is done.  This is where there is the deepest nurturing of heart and soul.” S. Covey

            How will you schedule regular family times – at least once a week – to talk, learn, and play together?

            What three family traditions do you want to start with your family?


Habit 4: Think Win-Win

            Win-Win is simply thinking of another person and yourself benefitting from a given situation; there are no losers.  We all make emotional deposits (gives) or withdrawals (takes) every day.  Win-Lose is when you get a deposit, but the other person gets a withdrawal.  Lose-Lose is when only withdrawals are felt by both persons; Lose-Win is when you get a withdrawal and the other person gets a deposit.


“To give encouragement, to impart sympathy, to show interest, to banish fear, to build self-confidence and awaken hope in the hearts of others – in short, to love them and to show it-is to render the most precious service.” B. Hinckley

            What would be a “win” in each of your family members life right now?


Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood

            Seeking first to understand is active listening.  It’s simple, but it is much more challenging than you think.  It means no criticism, not interjecting about you, not judging, avoid telling body language.  It is rephrasing the speaker’s thoughts and feelings to his satisfaction; it is empathizing with the speaker.  Then to be understood is giving feedback that is gentle and helpful.


“When you are trying to listen to understand, put a zipper on your mouth…an industrial-size zipper.”  J. Covey


Habit 6: Synergize

            Synergize is teamwork, being open-minded to finding new and better ways.  It’s recognizing individual strengths in one-another.  Synergizing can happen when you define the problem, listen to all points of view, brainstorm options, and find the best solution for all persons involved.


“Synergy is when two or more persons cooperate together and create better results than they could get working alone.” S. Covey


Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

            The four basic needs of every individual are: physical/body, emotional/heart, mental/mind, and spiritual/spirit.  Covey says the neglect your body and it will deteriorate; watch TV every available hour and your mind will deteriorate; neglect your family and it will deteriorate.  Anything that is not consciously attended to and renewed will break down, become disordered, and deteriorate.  If you are not “sharpening the saw” in any one of the four areas, you are neglecting the needs of the whole person.  So commit to sharpening the saw:

           What is the one thing you should do for your body that you are not doing?

  1. What is the one thing you should do for your heart that you are not doing?
  2. What is the one thing you should do for your mind that you are not doing?
  3. What is the one thing you should do for your spirit that you are not doing?

It isn’t easy to commit to sharpening the saw; life gets busy, but if we are unable to foster an attitude of commitment, then what we have is the same ole same ole.  The question then becomes are we as good as we can be where we are?