7 Best Practices to Lead Your Life
If a child asked, “How do I do my best?”, how would you answer?
A common answer, “work hard and have a good attitude.” It’s good advice though not complete or very deep. You have a chance to share your best-self strategy and have impact on a colleague or family member that can be implemented and last.
I wrote the first draft of 7 Best Practices to Lead My Life in 1987, along with my defining the 7 Areas of Life. A few years later, I read one of my favorite books, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Dr. Stephen Covey, a best-selling book on personal leadership. The two sets of strategy complement each other.
Life Leaders answer the question, how do I do my best? It’s a key life question like What is my calling? and What are my values?
To outline your best-self strategy, you could get started by using those you like from my 7 Best Practices, Dr. Covey’s 7 Habits, and your own ideas.
These actions provide a core strategy for thinking, planning, preparing, and persisting as your best-self:
- LEAD your LIFE. Choose to identify and fulfill your callings, gifts, and talents as your best-self—increasingly prepared, strong, resilient, focused on areas of purpose, passion, and value to you and others.
- PLAN for LIFE. Listen. Act. Now. (PLAN). Answer life’s important questions: mission and vision, values and beliefs, and strategy for your best-self. Discern your callings and write your choices for the life you feel called to lead in your constitution, legacy, and lifestyle vision.
- Have an IMPACT. Identify IMPortant ACTions to fulfill your mission and vision synergistically with others through your priority roles and goals in the 7 areas of life. Write resolutions to contribute or change for critical priorities—to “be, know, and do” with accountability to self and others.
- Balance your Life. Choose time priorities for your 168 hours per week to fulfill your goals for the 7 Areas of Life. Plan to invest needed quantity T.I.M.E. (time, inspiration, money, and energy) to create quality results with balance.
- Live your Priorities. Make your calendar and checkbook reflect your priorities. Target blocks of time for whom and what matters most, maximizing your prime times, to create habits and instincts to guide you, even under stress.
- Act and Adjust. As you take action, compare desired and actual Plans, Actions, and Results (PAR) to adapt thinking and adjust behavior in the flow of action, persisting positively, choosing to make the best of circumstances.
- Renew and Improve. Spend a foundation of 5-20% of time planning and developing mind, body, and spirit, plus service capacity and stewardship of callings, gifts, and talents so we can succeed with significance, giving to others. Invest in earning, assessing, improving, and transforming of attitude and ability needed to fulfill your callings with commitment, courage, and confidence.
Dr. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- First Things First
- Seek First to Understand then to be Understood
- Think Win/Win
- Sharpen the Saw
You can choose from the lists above or others ideas you have learned to write best practices for you—suggest 5-7, no more than 10.
Then, you can plan to implement:
Goals/Results Actions Time to Invest (hours, when)
If your goal under Lead Your Life includes developing greater courage and commitment, actions might include reading inspiring books, joining groups with people who have developed what you want, inviting a mentor to guide you….
To boost your success, after identifying what to do, identify when you will focus on these actions and how many hours you intend to invest. Set appointments with yourself, with others, too, if needed until you form desired habits.
To take more action, you may consider subscribing to this journal, attending Life Leaders, or using my workbooks to benefit from the planning templates (you can find some on the LifeLeaders.us web site and others in preparation will follow, David@LifeLeadersInstitute.org).
May you PLAN and LEAD your LIFE. –David