The 8th Habit is an awesome book.
It is about finding your mission, your purpose and about helping others find theirs.
The trip it took me on helped me become a better leader and a better person.
I learnt about myself and how I should act to help others find their way. It shared the importance of team work, of integrity and of caring.
It was a great follow up to the book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and truly lives up to its subtitle from effectiveness to greatness.
Finding Your Purpose
The part about finding your own purpose is very short and I had to read it twice to really get the meaning of it and be able to put it into practice.
Stephen Covey never shares very actionable advice; instead he talks more about principles.
What I finally realized is that his definition of purpose is a lot like the hedgehog concept developed by Jim Collins in “From Good to Great”.
Your purpose is where the four parts of success meet:
1. What you could be great at, where your strengths lie or as Jim Collins says, what you can be the best in the world at.
2. What you have a passion for.
3. What the world is willing to pay you for.
4. What your conscience agrees with.
If you can find out where these four coincide you will have found your purpose.
This doesn’t have to be so hard though. For most their passion and their skills naturally coincide, often the things we are good at are the things we think are fun.
So start with your passion; what do you love to do?
How can you use this interest to make money? Can you start a company that works with it? Can you get employed working with it?
Then think, what are your natural strengths, how can you put them to use in the company/job you chose to do?
Is this something you can live with in a social sense? Will this help people or will you be tricking them?
If you don’t feel good about what you are doing sooner or later it will start eating you up inside. It is important that you can feel proud of your job.
If you can find this meeting point you will be working with what you were meant for and with the optimum chances of success.
Helping Others Find Their Purpose
2 thirds of the book were about helping others. It was about being a leader which is great since you cannot become truly great yourself if you don’t have the ability to motivate others to help you work on a common goal.
When you are going to help others it is important to see them as they can be. Don’t see their faults see them as whole people with a lot of potential. If you keep seeing their potential eventually so will they and their results will come.
In addition seeing the best in someone makes them incredibly loyal to you, they feel as though they can trust you and that you care.
By first and foremost being a servant leader, trying to as much as possible help your employees to do their job as well as possible and then getting out of their way so they can do it, you create a creative atmosphere of people working towards a common goal taking responsibility for their own job and actions.
To be a good boss it takes that you do some things right
Start by “modeling” in other words by doing the job well yourself, by showing that you are willing to work and that you don’t just “dump” everything on everyone else.
Be trustworthy – before they can become loyal to you and before they will want to help you with your goals they must know you can trust them. Follow the rule “Seek first to understand, then to be understood” and people will know you care and listen.
Put your faith in people – By trusting others and not micromanaging or double checking their results you build their self esteem and their strength of character. This is a powerful part of being a leader.
Empower your employees – Give them a chance to grow, a chance to be a part of the company, a chance to shape their own future.
Aligning – Align yourself and your company with correct principles. Make sure you are working towards the same goals and that you all believe in the same things. Make it clear what you think is important in both results and behavior.
Make sure the company reward system rewards the behavior and results you are trying to get everyone to produce.
When you do this it lets everyone know they are part of a whole, that their contribution means something and that you will be there for them to back them up, that you are in it together.
Short movies for each chapter
One thing that really impressed me was that with the book came a set of movies. Movies that helped deepen your understanding for the principles and give you practical real life examples of their implementation.
They were wonderfully made; they were all between 5 and 30 minutes and were of just as high a quality as when you see a movie.
These extra movies came free with the book and really deepened the experience.
Like I said, I was very impressed.
I do want to add though that sometimes it was annoying to have to stop reading, start my computer and watch a movie. When I had access to a computer quickly it really added to the experience but at times it was kind of annoying.
As you probably realized, I liked this book, I liked it a lot. It taught me a lot and I think it can help you as well. It will give you the chance to look at yourself and think about what you would like to become and what you want to leave behind you when it is your time to go.
It was a very powerful book to me and forced me to stop and think many times to absorb the advice.