Part 3 of a series about Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
How do you think your life is going to turn out? Do you believe that you are going to be rich or famous? Is that your purpose in life? And if that is your hope, what is it that makes for a happy life? Being wealthy? Having a family? Being successful in business?
*ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR TEENS*The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Personal Workbook
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens
To be honest, I don’t often ponder these questions. It’s just so easy not to think about that stuff isn’t it? After all, I’m a teenager and I have plenty of time to work all of that out. Except that I know that this simply isn’t true. I don’t have that much time. I’m almost an adult and I don’t want to waste my teen years on stupid things that don’t matter and won’t make a difference in this world.
The first habit of highly effective people tells us to be proactive. Mr. Covey uses a computer example. In the example, habit one says that you are the programmer. It is your personal vision that directs your life and you have the power to choose your response to circumstances based on your values. Habit two tells us to write the program. You are the programmer, so take leadership in your own life, determine your value system and start living with purpose.
The opposite of this is what I am often guilty of in my own life. Allowing life to ‘happen’ to me. Do you ever do this? Just let things happen to you? In the computer example this is like following someone else’s programing and then blaming them when things don’t turn out well for you. Establishing this habit is the most important and significant decision that you make because it influences everything else you do in life. We have to think about where we are going in life. Alan Gregerman puts it this way, “We win in business and in life when we work backwards…because being clear about where we are going is essential to finding the most remarkable way to get there.”
As teenagers we need to be careful to plan ahead and live with purpose right now. How can we do this? One way is to take Covey’s advice and write a Mission or Purpose Statement. Ask yourself a few questions. What am I about? What is my essential purpose? What do I value? What principles in life do I want to follow?
I have never written a personal mission statement for my life and had no idea how to even begin but I am working on it. Mr. Covey says that a good mission statement is NOT just a list of goals, it is something that does not change over the years or in varying circumstances. It should be timeless and include all of our roles in life. Mine would be daughter, sister, student, climber, church member, friend, etc. He also recommends that this process should take some time, not just be written hastily without thought.
Although I have a long way to go a few initial thoughts are… I want each of my roles in life to reflect my faith. I want to live honestly and with integrity. I want my life to matter – maybe not in some big change the world kind of way, but in the way that makes a real impact on my brother, my parents, my friends – the people that I live my life with every day. Now I have to figure out how to write this out in a way that makes sense to me, and in such a way that rings true to who I am and also to who I want to be.
What do you want your life to look like in 20 or 30 years? Have you ever thought about writing a purpose statement?
Check out the rest of the series!
#1 Be Proactive
#2 Begin with the End in Mind