Thursday, Jan 7 – Jim and James talk about the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and what it means to be proactive.
Jim: [0:08] Good morning, LinkedIn Community. Thank you for joining us for another exciting episode of Coffee with Jim and James. It is post Christmas. I guess James I can get rid of the hat now. I’ve been wearing it for a week.
James: [0:20] I think so.
Jim: [0:22] But, anyways today though, we want to bring it back around. We’ve done a few episodes of The Seven Habits book, and this is now our third episode. James has lived Seven Habits for years, teaches it and such. We’re excited to bring this back. I know a lot of our audience, James, has wanted us to do this. We thought fitting for the holiday season will bring up this one, which is chapter number one, being proactive.
James: [0:52] For those that don’t know energy world map. We are very passionate about the book by Stephen Covey. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. There’s different versions of it. This is one of my older copies. There’s actually a newer version. I like this when I have a lot more notes in it after all these years. It’s an awesome book. It’s a business fundamental. It’s a life fundamental element.
[1:23] Definitely recommend it for business and as you start to read it, you will realize that it transcends business, for sure. EWN has always been passionate about this and focused on teaching these habits internally. We have initiatives built around it that bring the group’s through all the time. Jimmy, I think you’re living it right now.
[1:48] In fact, probably by the time this airs we will have graduated again this class of Seven Habits. It’s been a passionate journey. A lot of awesome people involved in this habit that were super excited to bring another class through. That’s what we do. Honestly, it’s our common language at Energy World that we talk about that all the time.
[2:13] There’s a couple of books and a couple of principles that we pull into everyday life and this is one of them. That’s high‑level, Jimmy. I’m what this is initiative about. You and I were talking one day about bringing this to our Group, our audience, the Coffee with Jim and James audience, you mentioned it but a lot of good feedback so far from the people that are watching, don’t you think?
Jim: [2:44] We’ve had some great feedback. I can’t tell you the countless hundreds of different correspondence in regards to that, but James, and that’s some of the interesting part about this is the personal aspect of it. It’s easy to hear about, bringing into the corporate world and such like that, but what about you personally? How has it affected you? Where has it brought?
James: [3:15] Let me get a new dog. It’s good. This is life, Jimbo. Bring that pretty dog in here.
Jim: [3:22] Hold on. Let me get it.
James: [3:24] Everyone should see this dog. Jimmy will tell us what this dog is.
Jim: [3:34] This is a Catahoula Leopard. She’s 18 weeks old. Her name is Khaleesi, and she’s a puppy. She is a very vibrant puppy.
James: [3:49] Shout out to Game of Thrones reference?
Jim: [3:52] Yeah.
James: [3:53] We may get more viewers just from the Khaleesi reference. Jimmy, you said personal experience from being proactive, this is a hard one for me. It’s a fundamental one for the Seven Habits. The reason that is the first habit is really to get you in a proactive stance and it’s a battle. On the pre‑show, Jim, we were talking about that it’s a journey. That being proactive you think you can flip a switch just like anything, which you can’t, and immediately you’re going to be able to be proactive instead of reactive.
[4:37] The problem is there’s all this programming that is went on behind the scenes already, for however long, that you haven’t been proactive. Some things are going to knock you over the head, right? I mean some things are going to roll in and knock your legs out from under you, but the difference is that taking a kind of a post‑mortem of that and saying, “OK, so the garage door broke again. This time I’m going to grease it.”
[5:09] That’s a silly micro example, but look, one of my favorite kind of analogies on it is let’s use the garage door. Either way you’re going to have to grease that garage door. You can do it proactively or you can do it when it shuts down because it can’t function. Right? All cubby is saying is you’re going to do it either way. Why would you not do it right away?
[5:40] It’s a hard one. I procrastinated a lot in my life. I’m not so much that person anymore. I’d say that’s been the biggest impact for me, but I’m a work in progress, because there’s some things I’m not very good at. I’ve never been a carb. I’m a dude, but I’m going to say this, I’ve never been a car maintenance guy, I don’t know. I didn’t grow up in a household where I was involved in that part. It just happened. It was a black box, not a problem.
[6:12] Now as an adult, I don’t even know half the time what I don’t know about a car. I’m probably going to get all kinds of hate now about that, but it’s true. Going down that path and starting to understand it I realize there’s some maintenance and some things that I could be very proactive about that in my past life I had not. Again, very small example, but it works across the board.
Jim: [6:44] Don’t you think that as we evolve and if we set our bar not looking into the future, so to speak, like what we want to be in a year, or five years, or ten years, but actually looking at us yesterday. Your example was a good one, your yesterday whether it be 10, 20 years ago, or yesterday it is, what’s the word I’m looking for, it’s a milestone and then things change. So, now in your life you have kids, you have family and such. So, when you look at your car don’t you have a different aspect on it?
James: [7:24] Sure. If we talk about that, you change as a person over the years. Obviously your priorities change.
Jim: [7:36] Exactly.
James: [7:37] But if we go up to the level that Covey talks about, and we talk about putting these principles in place, like being proactive, it transcends those types of things. That’s what he even says in that chapter, if you remember, is that people, and things, and places, all those things change that are chaotic in nature, right?
[8:04] They add levels and levels of complexity of the things. So, if you go up a level and say, “OK, I’m not going to say I’m going to do well about getting my kid to school early.” You instead build a principle that says I’m early to everything. I can’t control the school necessarily one day, or the people that screw up my morning or whatever, but as a rule I’m going to say, “I’m going to wake up earlier, and leave earlier every single day to be proactive and not catch that traffic.”
[8:38] That’s the principle based approach to it, where you go up to that higher level. That’s the confusing part sometimes for people as they go, “OK, I’m going to work on being proactive. I’m going to do this very specific task.” We’re saying, that’s great, but really what we meaning, could you go up a level and schedule more things. Maybe scheduling is a very proactive task for some people.
[9:05] Jimmy, we use it all the time. If we have an idea we go ahead and put something on the board, even if it’s just a placeholder, so that we can get together and discuss it more, and that’s proactivity.
Jim: [9:22] There’s a feeling too, James, that when you do that, I don’t know what the feeling is, if it’s a feeling of accomplishment, a feeling of relief, something, it gets back to where you said the car, whatever. If I feel that I’ve done something where I’m not behind the eight ball, but I’m ahead of it. I put the grease on the garage door, I put the thing on the board, we going to talk about it, we have a placeholder, we’re going to strategize about something. It’s a very good feeling.
[9:52] The problem be though, James, is that it can go in cycles. Where all of a sudden like I feel like, holy buckets, today I didn’t do anything proactive. I was behind the eight ball the whole day and get cut down.
James: [10:06] Yeah. It’s easy to fall in those ruts and those old habits. That’s the old habits creeping back in is all. The results that are still coming from not being proactive two years ago, or earlier in your life, or earlier in the week. Again, you’re trying to gain momentum in those swings, and those ebbs and flows are definitely that momentum starting and then those old habits kicking back in, and then the momentum starts again.
[10:35] It’s the low hanging fruit in this situation is so powerful because it can gain that momentum for you to just blow through the bigger things. That feeling you talk about, that’s the other end of that spectrum. On one end we’ve got that feeling of when something you have to be super reactive, when something knocks your legs out from under you.
[11:01] Then you got that feeling when you scheduled something so proactively and worked it. That’s that spectrum that we’re on. We’re trying to move that needle towards where it needs to be, but it’s a battle. It’s a journey, you said it earlier, it’s a journey.
Jim: [11:22] Help us, give us some tips, what would be your recommendation, we meet somebody at a trade show and they come up to us and say I’m so far behind. What are some easy tips we can give them?
James: [11:42] We can use our situation. I’m going to use Coffee with Jim and James as an example. From the outside, we hop on, op on a show, record it, done deal. But, in order to make sure we have content and episodes and they’re released on a timely manner, no matter if we’re on vacation, or whatever it might be. There’s a lot of pre‑planning that goes into that.
[12:12] Whereas if we were flying by the seat of our pants, scheduling people on the fly, the the first time one person canceled on us our world would combust and burst into flames. So, what do we do? We get a very agile and proactive stance, and we say, OK, we need to look ahead. We need to look for the gaps, funny enough we’re talking about that as what are we doing, Jimmy?
[12:43] We’re recording an episode right now. It’s December 15th. This thing will air over the holidays. I hope you had a happy holiday. That’s being proactive because we can sit back and got to that week and called each other and had to work during the holiday, and for definitely still good time. You get what I’m saying, that’s again a micro example, but getting ahead of it, scheduling it people, scheduling a workflow, managing the workflow, you just keep adding to it.
[13:24] But, how did it start? It started with we need to think ahead. What happens when we can’t do an episode, or a guest falls through? What’s our back‑up plan? Those types of things, that’s very much proactivity in motion.
Jim: [13:42] I don’t, and I agree with you. I’m thinking personally that it builds. It may seem daunting at first, but one thing that leads to another, leads to another. It’s an example, after the wedding when we got back I was offered 10 days. I was the first day back, everybody is going a million miles an hour and I’m barely out of neutral. Then it took a bit to get back into the step of thing and then building it back up.
[14:10] I’ll tell you, pulling the Seven Habits, not everything, because that was also daunting, but I pulled little things, little snippets. I’m like, I sharpened the saw. I got that out of the way. Putting first things first. I’m back in the swing. Let’s make sure I have my list, first things first. They really do help. The exciting thing, and the thing I love about Seven Habits is it’s just like that.
[14:40] I’ll say it’s almost like reading the Bible. You may read this, you may read that, you may go through, and some days you need, “I feel like I’m struggling.” You go through and you read a little bit more, it puts me back in a perspective.
James: [14:55] I’ve been blessed to be on both sides of it, learning and teaching. I love it because every time through I get something else, very much like the Bible, or some of those iconic fundamental business books that you can pick up and just hits you. One of my favorite parts, we’re actually approaching it, I think in a couple of days, we’re wrapping up this session with Seven Habits with this group that we’re in. It’s an awesome group. Jim’s part of that.
[15:28] We’re doing, “Sharpen the Saw.” One thing we do is we ask everyone what hit them the hardest out of this chunk? These Seven Habits, which one made the biggest noise in their world? That is the most fascinating part, because you’ll have some people like, “Oh, I just don’t put first things first,” or “I got to sharpen the saw.” Everybody needs to sharpen the saw.
[16:01] When you hear those little tiny nuggets that aren’t even habits, they’re moments that, I’m telling you, just knocked your legs out from under you, and all of a sudden you say, “Wow, I got to get my life together.” I’m just kidding, but I figured it out. I cracked the case. I’ve cracked the code. It feels like cheat codes when you get that momentum and start going, and that’s an amazing feeling.
[16:32] That’s why we do it, and preach it, and hope people buy in also, and that’s why we’re doing it here. We don’t get paid, Stephen Covey isn’t sponsoring us.
Jim: [16:46] He isn’t. It’s great. It’s a wonderful journey, and it’s just that. It is a journey and I’m excited to be self. I will say this to the audience, I think it’s important that if you’re on this journey to have a mentor, a sounding board. I could go to James and say I’m struggling with this, and James doesn’t give judgment or whatever. He goes, “Have you tried this, have you looked at this? Maybe this aspect might help?”
[17:13] I will say when you have a team, even if it’s another person, or two people, or a little small group. I would highly encourage that.
James: [17:22] It’s a really good idea. I like you said, here’s one more tip, I was going to say this earlier, but I think scheduling is an easy way to start. It feels like this schedule sometimes. We talked about it when we did First Things First and Sharpen the Saw, then was put some things on the schedule. We have a new year coming up. I promise you, for a lot of people that are, well, not when you’re here, you probably won’t have a clear schedule anymore.
[17:54] Your February probably isn’t booked yet, start then, start somewhere. Start now, schedule that first thing, that first proactive move. Call it, be proactive, even if you don’t know what you’re going to do in that time, do it.
Jim: [18:13] How about this, people that are watching this episode now credit yourself that you are being proactive by taking again.
James: [18:21] That’s right, because this is the first step. Covey says it his book there’s two creations. The first one, the mental, and then the physical creation. This is the mental. This is how we shake that by watching things like this and learning about these habits are the things that end up shaping that image that we go after. We’re shaping and building the program later, and these other habits we learn how to run it. Reap the benefits and rewards from.
Jim: [18:52] Absolutely. James, we’re going to wind up. Anymore words you want to say or have you scheduled?
James: [19:01] Schedule meeting with yourself for February 1, unless you can do it sooner. Schedule with yourself and say be proactive, and start figuring it out.
Jim: [19:16] I like it. LinkedIn Community, thank you for joining us today. It’s been a lot of fun. We hope the holidays are great for you. If you haven’t yet, go get your copy of Seven Habits, read it, understand it, look at it. Even if it’s just one page a day it could help you. So, please do that.
[19:39] On behalf of James and myself we want to thank you again. Have a great day, again continue to have a great holiday season, and we will see you next time on Coffee with Jim and James.