We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us.
It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
[Marianne Williamson]

Saturday, July 14, 2007


This has been a real emotional rollercoaster of a week with some momentously life-changing decisions made. I'm still feeling pretty shell shocked and all my habits have suffered. If my ego thought it could just swan into a new life as supporter rather than supportee, it was wrong. Each day I am reminded that you don't become a new person simply by turning your face in a different direction and saying 'I want'. Even hard work alone won't do it. It is necessary, but not sufficient (that's a term lawyers use meaning that you have to have it, but it's not enough all by itself.)

Thankfully, Yeti says my only work for this week is to rest and get my head together, bless him. He pointed out that I haven't had a proper break from studying in 15 years (I nearly bawled when he said that - I guess that shows just how much I need one!) I can't possibly expect myself to adjust to being a dropout non-student overnight. However, he also suggested I start thinking of ways to be more efficient, more effective in my life. To think about becoming the person who can achieve all the things I want to do. This reminded me of a long-term goal... a seed sown long ago that has been lying on rocky ground waiting for some rain.

Years ago I first read of Stephen Covey's Seven Habits for Highly Effective People. Everytime I forget about them, they pop up somewhere else. I think it is time I started making them mine! (I probably should buy the book, but at the moment I am stuck using internet resources. Luckily there are some great summaries out there.)

"The Seven Habits move us through the following stages:
1. Dependence - the paradigm under which we are born, relying upon others to take care of us.
2. Independence - the paradigm under which we can make our own decisions and take care of ourselves.
3. Interdependence - the paradigm under which we cooperate to achieve something that cannot be achieved independently."

I would like to think I am independent, but when I look at myself honestly, I am really still in a stage of dependence.

The first habit is:

become proactive

You can either be proactive or reactive when it comes to how you act about certain things. Being "proactive" means taking responsibility for everything in life. When you're reactive, you blame other people and circumstances for obstacles or problems. ... Between Stimulus and Response, we have the power to choose the response. [Wikipedia]

"Our response to what happens to us affects us more than what actually happened. We can choose to use difficult situations to build our character and develop the ability to better handle such situations in the future.

Proactive people use their resourcefulness and iniative to find solutions rather than just reporting problems and waiting for other people to solve them.

Being proactive means assessing the situation and developing a positive response for it. ... Once we decide to be proactive, exactly where we focus out efforts becomes important. There are many concerns in our lives, but we do not always have control over them. ... Proactive people focus their efforts on the things over which they have influence, and in the process often expand their area of influence. Reactive people often focus their efforts on areas of concern over which they have no control. Their complaining and negative energy tend to shrink their circle of influence.
Change starts from within, and highly effective people make the decision to improve thier lives through the things that they can influence rather than by simply reacting to external forces."

Up to now, I have definitely indulged in a reactive mentality. Too often I function on auto pilot. I don't give myself time to assess a stimulus and decide how best to respond.

"Covey contrasts ... having a proactive mentality with being reactive. Reactive people, he says, are those who are resigned to the truth that whatever they do in the present can have no effect on their circumstances. And interestingly, for reactive people, it really is a truth, for whatever we believe in our heart affects our thoughts, words and actions.
Proactive people ... will point out that there are always choices. It is by the decisions we make, our responses to people, events and circumstances that proactive people can and do affect the future. We may have no control over what life throws at us but we always have a choice about how we are to respond.
this notion that having a particular attitude of mind (which is really where this habit begins) can make such a huge and positive difference to almost everything we experience in life ... is also completely liberating.

When we are finally prepared to accept full responsibility for the effects that are manifest in our lives; when we have the strength of character to admit it when we make mistakes (even big ones); when we are completely free to exercise the options available to us in every situation; then it can be said that we have finally internalised this habit. The other six of the habits require that we first work on our basic character by becoming proactive and thereby transforming ourselves into men and women of integrity."
[White Dove Books]

So that is my challenge, starting this week. This (and the next 2 habits) "are the "private victories" required for character growth. Private victories precede public victories." [ProfitAdvisors]

On a daily basis, I need to focus on my circle of influence - look at my world, see what bugs me about it, identify little things I can change, and act on them. I also need to take a moment to choose my response to stimulus, rather than just reacting. That's enough to concentrate on for a start. We'll see how I go.

(Sorry about all the long quotes, they are really reminders for my own reference, as this is the most convenient place for me to store them.)

SMART habit progress:

Visit Lara at The Lazy Organizer to join in Smart Habit Saturday - it will change your life! (Find out more about Smart Habit Saturday here: Getting Started with Smart Habit Saturday.)


An Ordinary Mom said...

I have never been to your blog before, but I will definitely be back. It intrigues me. I love your blog title and the sentence underneath it. Very profound and very true!

What a great habit to be working on. I, too, need to work on being more proactive rather than reactive. Working on personal victories rather than public ones is great.

I have the Stephen Covey book you are quoting. I should pull it out and review it. Too bad you don't live closer, I would let you borrow it.

And one last thing, I loved how you phrased this:

"On a daily basis, I need to focus on my circle of influence - look at my world, see what bugs me about it, identify little things I can change, and act on them. I also need to take a moment to choose my response to stimulus, rather than just reacting. That's enough to concentrate on for a start. We'll see how I go."

Robin@MyPursuitOf... said...

Thanks for a lot to think about.

I wish you well in your efforts to be proactive.

Have a great week!

mistihollrah said...

Thanks for sharing! I enjoyed reading your post today. In fact, I think I'm going to print it out!

Good luck this next week!

Corrie said...

It seems your circle of influence is expanding.

My library sold a paperback of 7 Habits for $1.00 - you should let me send it to you. If you'd like it, e mail me at watkins_7 a.t. yahoo dot you know what - cryptic enough for ya? (Just trying to avoid any spam I can.)

I admire your insights, it takes courage to change. Best wishes on your habits this week. Let me know if you'd like the book.:)

The Lazy Organizer said...

I just got 7 habits for teens from the library. I thought it would be more on my level!

Good luck with your metamorphosis!