Archives for category: Self-Improvement

In his seminal work,  The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Stephen Covey introduced his philosophy on empathic communication…Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Dr. Covey notes that there are five types of listening: Ignoring, Pretending, Selective, Attentive and Empathic.

Exceptional communicators strive to achieve that pinnacle stage of becoming an empathic listener, i.e. “putting yourself in the other person’s proverbial shoes”. This means paying attention to the level that we truly understand their feelings and emotions.

The physical act of hearing is different that the mental act of listening. Listening with empathy requires a concerted effort to commit your undivided attention to the speaker. Sounds easy, does hard!

Fortunately, we can develop the skills to become better listeners, and communicators.

One technique that has helped me improve in this area is to conscientiously “listen with my eyes.” By maintaining comfortable and consistent eye contact with the speaker, it helps me to focus on them and to better concentrate on the message they are trying to deliver.

listen eyes

 

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While working with my business clients, it has become evident that there is pain and frustration resulting from apparently not having enough time for getting the most important business-related activities completed.

Certainly, daily operational requirements coupled with the speed of technology can create an environment wherein we may fall into the “reactive” versus “proactive” mode.  Thus, we tend to allow that proverbial “whirlwind” of activity to take control of our how our time gets spent..

Consequently, excuses begin to enter into the picture, as we justify our lack of execution as being the bi-product of too many tasks to be completed coupled with too many interruptions.

As emphasized in my blog on the 6 P’s  (Proper Prior Planning Produces Professional Performance), it is imperative that YOU CHOOSE to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR valuable time & energy.

Do what matters!  Resolve to perform the most important high-leverage activities that will deliver the maximum return on your effort.

Take Action

Action = Priorities

Your genuine priorities are exhibited by what you focus on and how you actually “spend” your valuable time.

Those actions and decisions have, thus far, lead you to where you are (or aren’t) today.

For passions that are truly a personal priority for you, you can find a way to make them become a reality (and given the dynamic nature of our lives, that vision can, and will, frequently change).

Your ultimate desires will be the ones that command your attention and awareness.  These are the activities in your life that matter the most to you.  This is where you MUST invest your time, interest and energy.

A sound prioritization process should provide you with the ability to determine what actions will bring both joy and fulfillment into your life, and into the lives of others!

As a leader, I’ve observed that a key differentiator which separates superstar performers from average employees is their desire for continuous self-development.

By definition, lifelong learning is the ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons.

My personal self-improvement pursuit includes:

  • voracious reading of business books and magazines
  • consistently applying automobile university (listening to books on CD while driving)
  • attending live seminars
  • utilizing the amazing and unlimited content of the internet
  • challenging myself physically with new and diverse sporting activities

Consider being a “role model of possibility!”  Becoming all that you can be by striving to always keep growing can set an example that will change other people’s lives.

As Marshall Goldsmith eloquently stated, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”.

 

lifelong learning