Covey's 7th Habit - Sharpen Your Saw: Small Guestures
This is part of my Guru Talk series, deciphering Stephen Covey’s 7-Habits of Highly Successful People. Nothing is more important for the Global Creative than Covey's 7th Habit. In it, Covey States: Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.
It's about building reserve. Reserve and a positive attitude are two major contributors to building sustainable momentum. Reserve only comes from the renewal activities that Covey addresses in Habit 7. It’s also about producing favorable brain chemistry conditions – more dopamine available to make those essential connections that may be limited by ADHD challenges.
He goes on to state: Sharpen the Saw keeps you fresh so you can continue to practice the other six habits. You increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you.
For excellent responders like Global Creatives, renewal activities can be challenging to initiate and sustain over the long haul. Yet every client I have worked with who has successfully taken their game to the next level embraces this concept of Sharpen the Saw.
Fire fighting your way through the day creates stress and pressure. These in turn hobble the pre-frontal cortex making the Global Creative vulnerable to overwhelm. The Global Creative knows the importance of good self-care practices, but can have difficulty justifying renewal activities in a moment of urgency. In addition, renewal activities just don’t have the energy draw of an intense hunting (hyper-focus) opportunity.
You can’t react your way to sharpening the saw. Renewal activities truly fall into Covey's 2nd Quadrant - Not Urgent/Important - and will never be fooled, cajoled or beaten into the 1st Quadrant - Urgent/Important. Notice when you say, “I don’t have time!”
Get creative and proactive around accessing these renewal activities.
Start small – pare down your definition of renewal. Let go of the grand plan – the weekend retreat, the 2 hours of exercise, the hour long meditation session. Approach these activities in a different way beginning with a simpler version of what you have in your mind. Commit to a version 1.0 - or as fellow Global Creative Christine Kane suggests, “do it badly”.
Consider half day mini-retreats, quick thirty minute workouts, mini meditation moments to achieve clarity on your day.
Get creative with accountability. Locate partners and events to ratchet up the accountability factor. Others want renewal too.
Add an element of fun. Exercise does not mean pain and misery. I can get my heart rate up playing hide and seek with my kids.
Modify your mindset to make it more inviting and accessible. One client found that committing to an Iron Man seemed too daunting. Instead, she has committed to her own Iron Man, but done over a week period, where she completes each element, with her own team, within one week.
Do it first. It won’t happen at 5 PM.
Small gestures, small increments and take the long view. Payoff will seem small at first, but overtime you and others will reap the benefits.