One of the books that had a profound impact on me during my college years was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey. It’s one of those books which one cannot read without emerging enlightened from.
One of the concepts that Dr. Covey talks about is Private Victories.
The Private Victory is about me. Not me, as in Todd, but me as in everyone. Be Proactive, Begin With the End in Mind, Put First Things First.
I am completely and 100% in charge of whether or not I live these first three habits. I can turn them on and I can turn them off. I alone am in control of the level of effectiveness I wish to experience by taking responsibility, formulating a plan for my life, my year, my week, my day, and executing that plan in the face of constant distractions.
There is tremendous gratification that comes from working a well-thought out plan and reaping its rewards. One benefits personally and is in a position to do more for himself, as well as others.
The concept of private victory – and the insights that it drives home resonate with our conventional wisdom expressed through an old proverb – charity begins at home.
Charity is a metaphor here – but I’d extend that to say that every success we taste in our lives has it’s origins at home. Social media is no exception. If we expect to be successful in social media, it needs to begin with private victories that begin with us – at home.
The way Dr. Covey sees it, the first three habits put forth in his book constitute the private victories:
- Be Proactive
- Begin With The End In Mind
- Put First Things First
Simple – but not simplistic. Do we apply these principles to our relationships at home? With ourselves? With our spouses and children? With anyone else close to our hearts? Shouldn’t we?
I’m not really preaching from the pulpit – I’m myself guilty of violating these principles with myself, my life partner and my children. And yet, each time they come back and oversee my mistakes with a big heart. To me – that’s the epitome of social media success. That’s the benchmark with which we need to measure our success in the social world. Anything less is just not acceptable.
The 7 habits are divided into the Private Victory, which means mastering self, and the Puplic Victory, mastering relationships with others.
The important note is that private victory always precedes the public victory. This is also called the Inside-Out approach to life.
You look inside yourself first, you develop yourself and clear the limiting factors in your own life , before you become effective in your public life with others.
This makes so much sense and is the best way to succeed on the long run – only if you truly mastered yourself you can be effective with – and even lead others.
I spoke about Social Media Success – One Day At A Time a couple of days ago. Each of the questions from that post translates into baby steps that can be successfully applied to these private victories. I’d highly recommend we all do that exercise.
And while I was looking up Dr.Covey’s bio for this post, I happened to chance by his interview by Leo Babauta of Zen Habits.
The interview Exclusive Interview: Stephen Covey on His Morning Routine, Blogs, Technology, GTD and The Secret is a must read in it’s own right – but there one insight from Dr.Covey that makes total sense here:
I make an effort every morning to win what I call the “private victory.”
I work out on a stationary bike while I am studying the scriptures for at least 30 minutes. Then I swim in a home pool vigorously for 15 minutes, then I do yoga in a shallow part of the pool for 15 minutes.
Then I go into my library and pray with a listening spirit, listening primarily to my conscience while I visualize the rest of my entire day, including important professional activities and key relationships with my loved ones, working associates and clients.
I see myself living by correct principles and accomplishing worthy purposes. One of my favorite quotes is, “The greatest battles of life are fought out every day in the silent chambers of one’s own soul.” (David O. McKay)
He sums up this insight by saying the following words which are an eternal truth:
Much of this listening and visualizing work is very challenging, so I win the private victory when I have made my mind up and commit to live by correct principles and to serve worthy purposes.
Is success in social media any different? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
(Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/30735149@N04/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/30735149@N04/)