I know I’m probably ‘late to the party’ when it comes to reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (Powerful Lessons in Personal Change) by Stephen R. Covey, but better late than never eh! This blog is for those who have not yet come across it, and would like some inspiration to make some positive changes in their lives.

Some might say that this is one of the most influential books in the personal development field. I have read a number of self-development books in my time but I must admit this one had an incredibly deep impact on me.

Essentially, Covey envisions that there are 7 habits that we should all aspire to develop that will reward us with a life of heightened potential, achievement and/or fulfilment.

In brief they are as follows:


1.       Be Proactive

Invest your time and energy in activity that reaps reward and long-term gain.

2.       Begin with the End in Mind

Develop a vision or mission statement of principles you wish to live by.

3.       Put First Things First

Work on remembering that everything you do is generated from these principles.


4.       Think Win/Win

In your relationships, aim to make sure all interaction involves a Win/Win (or No Deal) outcome.

5.       Seek to Understand, then be Understood

Before making decisions or judgements in your relationships, make sure you gain a deep understanding of where the other person is coming from.

6.       Synergise

The embracing of difference between yourself and others and exploiting it for profound creativity.

7.       Sharpen the Saw

Develop a routine that revolves around nurturing and renewing the four dimensions of your nature: physical, spiritual, mental and social/emotional.

The first couple of chapters of this book alone were a big wake up call for me. It almost scared me to death that I was not living proactively enough and that although I have got a vision of how I would like my life to be I wasn’t truly investing as much tie as I could to contribute to that but was getting distracted or procrastinating on short-term pleasures.

The chapter on Habit 3 helpfully talked about 4 Quadrants of activity that are rated according to urgency and importance and how we should be living our lives mostly in Quadrant 2: investing in activities that are important but not urgent. That way we are living in a state of calm rationality and laying strong foundations in order to prevent being in the other Quadrants. We want minimal urgent/important situations (although they cannot be avoided sometimes)but we want to eliminate not important activities, urgent or not urgent, as much as possible.

Overall, the book was very inspiring and gave me the kick in the behind that I needed to put more time into developing my coaching practice. However, being a person who likes method I found it was sometimes more conceptual and didn’t necessarily give you clear enough instruction or exercises on how to develop some of these habits.

I would recommend this book however to anyone who wants some inspiration to really focus their lives and refine their everyday living to be one of investment in developing and realising their vision.

Coaching with me can help you identify the everyday habits that may not be serving your overall life vision, and in combination with reading books such as this, can really accelerate you on your way to converting detrimental habits into more effective ones!

What’s stopping you? Is it you?

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Book ReviewOliver Murrayhabits