Good afternoon dear readers!

Let’s back go back to where we left things last Sunday! If you missed the first half, it is available there. I also like to remind that this self-development book is available here: Amazon; Audible.

In the first part, it is all about ourself, moving from being Dependent to Independent. Growing as a human-being is inside out, it is happening within you and you are the one in charge.

“If you start to think that others are the problem, this very thought is the problem”.

In the second part, it is about going from Independent to Interdependent. Stephen’s point is that only Independent people can CHOOSE to be Interdependent. Dependent people won’t be able to make that choice. In a case of a couple for example, these habits are here to make us do: 1 + 1 = 3 or even 4 or 5.

In the second part of his book, Stephen R. Covey is touching on the following habits:
Habit 4. Think Win-Win
Habit 5. Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood
Habit 6. Synergize

And the last part, Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw.

Let’s dig into Habits 4: Think Win-Win

Let’s start with a review of the 6 paradigms of human interaction:

1. Win/Win: Looking to find a mutually beneficial solution. Agreements and/or solutions are mutually satisfying. Compromising isn’t Win/Win.
2. Win/lose: Or called the Competitive Paradigm. I’m trying to win and make the other party lose. In relationships, this is very damaging as if I win, my partner and our relationship are loosing and I end up loosing to.
3. Lose/Win: Or called The “Doormat” Paradigm. This is usually people pleasing, I would be willing to lose and not care about my needs to make someone else win.
4. Lose/Lose: I want the other person to lose so badly, that I am willing to lose too.
5. Win…: I only think in terms of winning, securing my own ends and leaving to others to secure their own ends.
6. Win/Win or No Deal: We are not able to find a mutually beneficial solution, we agree to not go ahead.

Win/Win is the more mature and most difficult approach but it is allowing the growth and strengthening of the relationship. Going for No Deal is a back up in case finding a Win/Win solution isn’t possible. Being selfish and looking for your own wins without considering the other persons is likely to bring down any relationships and broke them in the long term.

Covey use a simple matrix to show how CONSIDERATION and COURAGE impacts our choices when it comes to the 6 paradigms described above.

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Win/Win is considered courageous, it could be confronting and uncomfortable. Standing up for ourselves while take someone else into consideration isn’t an easy process.

Both me and my Fiancée are familiar with Stephen R. Covey book and we try to go for Win/Win as much as we can. Sometimes it means that we have to look at the situation another day so we can see it with another perspective.
A remember a few months ago we were planning same time together; we were struggling to find the place, the day, the price etc. we wanted it to felt perfect but we never listened to each other needs. This can cause easily some frustration and even build resentment.
So we started to express our needs and listen attentively. It turns out that we both wanted to have a good time with the partner we love and we wanted it simple. At this stage, it was a lot easier, we went for a tea in our favourite tea place and we shared a brownie. Then we went for a walk so we can just be together a bit longer. This was as perfect as it could be, we had an amazing time and we didn’t damaged our relationship, we made it stronger.

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then To Be Understood

In Your Personal Life
Covey’s use an metaphor that you may be familiar with. If you go to the optometrist and tell him that you have trouble seeing clearly and if he then takes off his glasses, gives them to you while saying “they are working for me for years, try them”. If you put his glasses on, most likely your problem will become worst as these glasses are not made for you. If that would happen, would you go back to this optometrist?

In this example, the Doctor is prescribing before doing a diagnose of the situation. Strangely enough, we do that everyday in our relationships. We prescribe our own remedies to other people’s problems, without trying to understand.

“Oh, I know just how you feel. I felt the same way.” “I had that same thing happen to me.” “Let me tell you what I did in a similar situation.”

It is common to learn or read about Active Listen, there are technics or shortcuts you can learn but here we are talking to the next level, which is called: Empathic Listening. Listening Emphatically means listening with our soul, body and mind to what the other person is saying, so we have a true shoot at understanding.

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Seeking to understand first is extremely powerful in relationships. I’d like to link it to a video from School of Life. In this video: How to Help Those We Love, we learn that our partner may have different needs when they feel sad or down:
– Being listened to: We want our partners to hold space and leave us all the space we need to share, they don’t need to talk
– Solutions: We would like our partner to help us find a plan and solutions to our problems
– Optimism: Sometimes we just need to hear that “Everything will be okay!”
– Pessimism: Sometimes we need someone to be there with us to see the danger as much as we do
– Cuddles: Being embraced by our partners strongly and warmly is at time the best of all!

After seeing this video and knowing about this habit, it changed some aspects on my relationships. It is okay (and suggested!) to tell a friend or a partner that we just want to be listened to for that issue. It is okay to feel weak and ashamed and say that a quiet cuddle would mean the world to us. Of course this habit is about listening until we understand but as the person who is listened to, you have a part to play and expressing your needs is one of the best thing you can do.

With Your Customers or even Providers
I have little experience with that part but Covey also mention that could be truly power with customers and in the work environment. If you have a big contract and an offer to make, listen until your customer feels you understood him and then give him the best offer you can.

Habit 6: Synergize

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This habit should feel quite a natural step at this stage! Once we have understood someone and we are both willing to go for Win/Win, that is when 1 + 1 can be a 4. That is when Independent people can chose to be Interdependent!
Stephen R. Covey calls it “the habit of creative cooperation” and I like to think about it this way.
Using different knowledge, experiences and brains is likely to produce a better result that if we were thinking alone. The assumption is that people involved are genuine and are working toward being independent and act based on principles.

Valuing differences is what really drives synergy. Do you truly value the mental, emotional, and psychological differences among people? Or do you wish everyone would just agree with you so you could all get along? Many people mistake uniformity for unity; sameness for oneness. One word–boring! Differences should be seen as strengths, not weaknesses. They add zest to life.

Synergie isn’t always possible and is hard to achieve, which is why it also feels exciting and rewarding. Even if it won’t likely be the baseline of our interactions, it is still possible to search for new and different synergistic experiences.

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

This is simply the maintenance habit, the one that will help us keep the 6 other sharps.

There are 4 areas in our life and we need to have a “balanced self-renewal program” in our lives in order to maintain these 6 habits. I’d like to quote the explanation on Stephen R. Covey websites for the 4 aspects of our life:

Physical: Beneficial eating, exercising, and resting
Social/Emotional: Making social and meaningful connections with others
Mental: Learning, reading, writing, and teaching
Spiritual: Spending time in nature, expanding spiritual self through meditation, music, art, prayer, or service

You can use habits 1, 2 and 3 to create and drive that program. I personally have made progress I am proud of in the Physical, Social/Emotional and Mental areas and I would like to develop the Spiritual. I will share my journey in this blog, I will share with you the resources I’ve found so far and I will find in the future, as well as share my personal experiences.

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By now, you can understand why this is the first book I am talking about, it is in line with all I would like to share through this blog.
I am not trying to have the best physic in the world or being the smartest, I’d like to be good at these 4 aspects. I am aiming to create an happy and harmonious life and a lot of it is still ahead of me. Would you join me on that journey?

See you next week for the next topic!

Nicolas

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