7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Number 1: Be Proactive

7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Habit 1:  Be ProactiveLast time, I shared a tribute to Stephen Covey, author of the worldwide bestselling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Covey’s recent death prompted me to re-read and re-apply each of the 7 Habits in my life.

Today I’ll share my thoughts on Stephen Covey’s Habit 1:  Be Proactive. This Habit illustrates one of life’s greatest truths and hardest lessons:  Everything is a choice.

I believe that being proactive is the first and most important habit of highly successful people because true success begins with the realization that we have the power to choose the life we want to live.

We can live life on purpose instead of being a victim of circumstance.  We can make life happen for us instead of letting it happen to us. [Read more…]

Tribute to Stephen Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Highly effective people, and all those who aspire to be, are mourning the death of Personal growth expert and best-selling author Stephen Covey.

Covey died on Monday at age 79 from injuries he suffered in a biking accident.  He made a huge impact on the world through his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, which inspired millions in their personal growth.

In honor of Covey’s passing, I’m taking some time this week to review the 7 Habits and apply them afresh in my life.  In this post, I’ll share a brief overview of each of the 7 Habits, plus the 8th Habit, which was added some years later in a book called The 8th Habit. [Read more…]

Are You Dreaming Small Enough?

Dream Small to Achieve Big Dreams

Photo courtesy of startgarden.com

People who know me know I’m a big dreamer. I can dream big all day long and dream up hundreds of ideas about things that could be. But one thing I’ve learned is that if you want to achieve your big ideas and big dreams, you eventually have to dream small and think small.

Here’s what I mean.

If you only think big and dream big, then your dreams typically end up staying just that – dreams.

I’ve discovered that if you want to make your big dreams a reality, you need to break them down into smaller dream and smaller steps. In other words, you need dozens of small dreams and small steps to make big dreams come true.

Two weeks ago, a new $15 million venture capital fund, Start Garden, was launched in my community to help start hundreds of small businesses across our state. Start Garden’s premise is this:

“Too many ideas never become real because we don’t think small enough.”

Start Garden will invest $5,000 into two ideas each week to get those new ideas into the market to discover if they’re businesses. One of the ideas will be chosen by the Start Garden staff, the other idea will be chosen by the public. If any of these ideas truly have business potential, then Start Garden will invest additional dollars to help the idea get to the next step, up to a total of $500,000 per idea.

Start Garden is such an awesome concept to help get ideas flowing, and to help people think small and get their idea launched. And our community is blessed to have extremely generous people to help launch ideas and make things happen.

So, my question to you is this:  Have you had a big dream or idea that you haven’t really done anything with because it’s so big and you haven’t had the time or energy or money to get it all going?  If so, take time this week to break that big idea or dream into some smaller steps.  Then take action on one of those steps.  When you do that, your big dream is no longer just a dream.  You’re on your way to making it a reality.

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Today’s Personal Growth Lesson: We All Need to Stretch More

Personal growth life lessonI learn personal growth life lessons from some of the most interesting places – including the locker room at my local health club – The Salvation Army Kroc Center of Grand Rapids.

I had just finished doing a family exercise class with my wife and kids right before lunch, and went to the locker room to change.  I greeted the other man who was already there in the locker room and I asked him, “What kind of workout did you do today?  Weights?  Treadmill?  The bike?”

He replied that he did the weights and the treadmill.  I told him that I usually do those too – earlier in the morning – but this time I did a Piyo class with my family (Piyo is part Pilates and part Yoga), and I discovered my hamstring muscles weren’t as flexible as they needed to be because some of the poses were difficult for me to complete.

As the other man gathered up his belongings and walked out the door, he said:

“Yes, stretching is more important than many people realize.  I believe we all need to stretch more.”

When he left, I just presumed he was still talking about stretching our body’s muscles.

But a few seconds later, I wondered, “Did he mean something more?”

Not just the stretching that results in physical agility and strength, but the kind of stretching that results in personal growth and development too?

Stretching Your Personal Growth Muscles

The kind of stretching that results in our personal growth and development keeps us agile and ready for anything that comes our way.  It helps us go farther than we ever thought was possible – helping us reach our full potential.

Unfortunately we often experience our greatest personal growth through times of trial and adversity – when we get out, or are pushed out, of our comfort zone into unfamiliar territory. When we take a risk or experience a circumstance that turns our world on its side.

Adversity is often the greatest motivator for life change. Tough challenges spur us on to action.  When we stand up to our challenges, we will often be catapulted to new heights and go farther faster than we could have otherwise.

Which is why Doug Weed said:

“Goliath was the best thing that ever happened to David.”

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I’ve tried to avoid or ignore challenges and trials in my life in hopes that I could just maintain the status quo of my current reality.

What I’ve discovered, though, is that you can’t really stay static – you’re either moving forward or backwards.

If I don’t allow myself to be stretched when difficult circumstances come my way, or if I don’t stretch intentionally stretch myself through my personal growth & development plan, I won’t just maintain my current position, I’ll actually lose ground.

Are you being stretched by a Goliath-sized challenge right now?  Don’t shrink in the face of it.  Stand tall.  Face it.  Let it inspire you to take bold action and move to the next level in your life.

If you’re not a subscriber to Life Compass Blog, please join today (use the subscription box in the sidebar) to get more inspiration and motivation to help you achieve your life’s worthwhile goals and dreams.

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5 Life Lessons Learned from Monopoly

Personal Growth LessonsTim over at Faith and Finance recently shared 5 Business Lessons Learned from Monopoly.  It didn’t take me long to realize that these lessons he’s identified from Monopoly aren’t just for business, but personal growth lessons for life too.  Here they are, with my “personal growth” take on them. [Read more…]

What Life Changes Do You Need to Make to Survive and Thrive?

life changesThis morning, over breakfast with my three boys, I was reminded about the life changes that are needed in order for us to not just survive, but thrive, in a rapidly changing world.

Most Tuesday mornings, I take my sons ages 11, 13 and 15 out to the health club for some physical activity (we usually play basketball), then we go out for breakfast. [Read more…]