Direction, Not Intention, Determines Destination!

Dated: 08/12/2019

Views: 74

Not too long ago I heard one of my favorite leaders say these words: “Direction, not intention, determines your destination”. That stuck with me. I don’t know about you, but seems daily I battle keeping my mind and feet on a path toward productivity vs just activity. You may have heard me say in past newsletters that Your Routine = Your Results. For me, to ensure the right direction of being productive and valuing others each day, I need to examine my habits. As you know, we can create and establish effective and productive habits but also develop bad habits. So, as I began working on HOW to better help myself, my team, and you as we head in to a new year, I began by looking at MY habits. It is amazing how you can start out with a great routine of good habits, but over time - drift. To hedge against that, I looked back at the habits of the most effective people.

You may, or may not, have ever read Stephen Covey’s best-selling book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, if not, you should get a copy and read it. If you have, it could be time for a refresher... depending on whether you are happy with your direction or concerned your current path may not 100% end at your desired destination in life. In the book, Covey presents an approach to being effective in attaining goals by aligning oneself to what he calls “true north” principles based on a character ethic that he presents as universal and timeless. Most people believe they have good ethics, but again, if the outcomes or results we are getting from our daily routines are NOT what we want... we must realize something isn’t quite right. How effective are you at obtaining desired results? 

Effectiveness is the balance of obtaining desirable results with caring for that which pro- duces those results. Covey illustrates this by referring to the fable of the goose that laid the golden eggs. He further claims that effectiveness can be expressed in terms of the P/PC ratio, where P refers to getting desired results and PC is caring for that which produces the results. Covey promotes what he labels “the character ethic”: aligning one’s values with so-called universal and timeless principles. In doing this, Covey is deliberately and mindfully separating principles and values. He sees principles as external natural laws, while values remain internal and subjective. Our values govern our behavior, while principles ultimately determine the consequences. To better demonstrate this, Mr. Covey presents his teachings in a series of habits, manifesting as a progression from dependence through independence onto interdependence.

Bottom line… Develop daily habits that = desired results and then some. However, as they say, old habits are hard to break, so the first step is to understand where success really starts: how you think. How much time do you sit and just – think? Really analyze, even meditate on where you are and where you want to go? Tough to break a habit without knowing about it or understanding how/why you do it. 

My first step to a better 2019 is to bridge the gap between knowing and doing. In order to do that, let’s begin with what Covey introduces as the Maturity Continuum. These are three successive stages of increasing maturity: dependence, independence, and interdependence. At birth, everybody is dependent, and characteristics of dependence may linger; this is the first and lowest stage of maturity. 

Dependence means you need others to get what you want. All of us began life as an infant, depending on others for nurturing and sustenance. I may be intellectually dependent on other people’s thinking; I may be emotionally dependent on other people’s affirmation and validation of me. Dependence is the attitude of “you”: you take care of me... or you don’t come through and I blame you for the result. Independence is the attitude of “I”. It is the avowed goal of many individuals, and many social movements, to enthrone independence as the highest level of achievement, but it is not the ultimate goal in effective living. There is a more mature and more advanced level. 

The third and highest level in the Maturity Continuum is interdependence. We live in an interdependent reality. Interdependence is essential for good
leaders; good team players; a successful marriage or family life; in organiza-
tions; in relationships. Interdependence is the attitude of “we”: we can co-
operate; we can be team; we can combine our talents; we can value each
oth- er. Each of the first three habits in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective
People is intended to help achieve independence. The next three habits
are intended to help achieve interdependence. The final, seventh habit is
intended to help maintain these achievements. I am committing here and
now, as you read this, to BETTER more effective habits! Those that help
me be more productive and better at delivering value to others (like you).
Thankfully, there is a roadmap to follow: the 7 habits roadmap. Here is a summary of my intended habits. Feel free to call me out if you see me violating any of these. 

The First Three Habits surround moving from dependence to independence (i.e., self-mastery):

1 - Be proactive: Don’t sit and wait in a reactive mode, waiting for problems to happen before acting. Be mindful of WHO I associate with, WHAT I watch and read.
2 - Begin with the end in mind: Envision what you want in the future, so you can work and plan towards it. 3 - Put first things first: There exists a matrix of importance vs urgency used in deciding where to invest efforts. I must understand the difference between leadership and management 

The next three habits talk about Interdependence (e.g., working with others):

4 - Think win-win: Genuine feelings for mutually beneficial solutions or agreements in your relationships. Value and respect people by understanding a “win” for all is ultimately a better long-term resolution than if only one person in the situation had gotten their way.
5 - Seek first to understand, then to be understood: Use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, which compels them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
6 - Synergize: Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals that no one could have done alone.

7 - The final habit is that of continuous improvement in both the personal and interpersonal spheres of influence. Stephen Covey names it as Sharpen the Saw. This is such a big deal, I have it as one of the Core Values of our historic real estate company, Your Home Sold Guaranteed Realty. I preach to our people the importance of balancing and renewing your resources, energy, and health to create a sustainable, long- term, effective lifestyle. I primarily emphasize exercise for physical renewal, good prayer (meditation, yoga, etc.) and good reading for mental renewal. And of course, service to society for spiritual renewal. 



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