Key Takeaways

  • Four Dimensions
  • Learn – Commit – Do

Putting it all together with our final chapter, Sharpen the Saw.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind

Habit 3: Put First Things First

Habit 4: Think Win / Win

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

Habit 6: Synergize

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw

Four Dimensions

Sharpen the Saw is comparable to the value of recovery from the weight room. Just as physical strength can be compromised without recovery, our ability for personal/professional growth can be impeded without renewable energy channeled in these four dimensions:

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Page 342)

“I’m trying to build strength. And that doesn’t happen until the muscle fiber ruptures and the nerve fiber registers the pain. Then nature overcompensated and within forty-eight hours, the fiber is made stronger.”

I could see his point. It’s the same principle that works with emotional muscles as well, such as patience. When you exercise your patience beyond your past limits, the emotional fiber is broken, nature overcompensates, and next time the fiber is stronger.

PAGE 345

Reflecting during a given basketball season, this one in particular with a litany of uncontrollable variables being tossed in, what were ways that you have used to stay locked-in?

From the beginning, one thing that I did differently during our season was to stop drinking coffee. As a native Kentuckian, prior to moving to New England I wasn’t even a huge coffee drinker, but with winters going through May and being surrounded by Dunkin Donuts on each block I must have assimilated unconsciously as a casual consumer. This decision was a preventative measure for the season to stay at my best as often as possible.

Considering the four dimensions, starting with a physical standpoint, I added more yoga to some of the home workouts particularly for days of our games. Since accepting an opportunity as head coach I have embraced reading more throughout the season to serve as a catalyst for mental training, possibly reviewing leadership or adversity books. The social component varies between structured and unstructured interactions with our student-athletes to tap into where everyone is individually and as a group. The spiritual dimension can be a challenge; yoga helped some this season. But, faith has never been in my playbook so I seek different avenues to assess my value system and the general direction of my decisions.

Learn – Commit – Do

Just as the education of nerve and sinew is to the excellent athlete and education of the mind is vital to the scholar, education of the conscience is vital to the truly proactive, highly effective person. Training and educating the conscience, however, requires even greater concentration, more balanced discipline, more consistently honest living.

PAGE 359

Tying It All Together

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People wasn’t a transformative book to read, but I also don’t think that was the intention. Author Stephen R. Covey said himself in an interview offered in the Afterword, “But I must strongly acknowledge that I am not the author of any of these principles and deserve absolutely no recognition.” Unfortunately for him, readers struggled to ignore this bestseller from 1989 because the content is timeless. And I think it has remained relevant because the culmination of decency and practicality are forever paramount to success, in other words: it takes what it takes. To be effective, one must actively pursue an opportunity (Habit 1). Then it takes vision and daily discipline to manage our decisions on a daily basis which are prioritized by our personal value system (Habit 2 and 3). Along this path is expected conflict or tension that often is best resolved through compromise and communication (Habit 4 and 5). In the end, nothing is accomplished alone, yet with complacency, it can be gone as fast as it was conceptualized (Habit 6 and 7).

This book can be applicable from a personal and professional standpoint. My overall takeaway is the dependency of principles to continue to push the needle. There are so many ways to effectively lead, manage, and impact others to be a part of collective ambition. Yet, if counterfeit to the character of the individual in charge there is likely a time where they will become exposed. So, when we hang signs in the locker room about dependability but fail to show up on time or allow our emotions to get the best of us in a competitive environment; people take notice. If our interactions with our professional peers occur only after promotions relationships will fracture. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People lays out how to effectively navigate in an interdependent reality, we have to strive to operate in good conscience.


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