Tag Archives: Stephen Covey

On a Bullet Train to Nowhere

You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage – pleasantly, smilingly, nonapologetically – to say ‘no’ to other things.  And the way to do that is by having a bigger ‘yes’ burning inside.
– Stephen Covey

POINT TO PONDER:
Where do the relationships in my life rank in my priority list?

ACTION ITEM:
Identify one way you can invest in a relationship this week that you don’t usually take the time and/or effort to do.

by Neissa Springmann

by Neissa Springmann

A few weeks ago I had a run-in with perspective. Of course having a toddler and a five month old always has a way of doing this, however there are many times when I become hyper-focused and move so fast that my priorities and common sense become skewed. For example, Durant, our funny two and three quarter year old toddler just started a Mother’s Day Out program, and as to be expected, cried during the first two weeks of drop-off.  As painful as it was to walk away from him with a smiling face, we knew that if we freaked out, he would freak out more and this would only prolong that difficult phase. Thankfully, on his fifth day he walked in without hesitation, smiled and waved goodbye.

Following his first successful walk-in, my dad and stepmom offered to take both Durant and Malaine (my 5 month old daughter) for the night. Initially I jumped on the offer, but then my inner “Crazy Voice” took over, telling me:  Durant was just starting to make “walk-in progress,” and if he skipped Thursday he would likely regress, which meant more crying. As I began retracting the kind proposal, “Common Sense Voice” shouted, “Calm down sister! “What in the world are you thinking and why in the world do you think that Durant going to Mother’s Day Out is more important than spending time with his grandparents, whom he adores?!  Furthermore, at the end of the day what’s more important? Making memories with his grandparents or making two-year-old “walk-in” progress?”  Thank goodness “Common Sense Voice” prevailed.

Lately, I’ve had several random yet profound life conversations with my husband Russell and friends. We discussed how quickly we can become robotic, get tunnel vision and lose perspective of what’s most important. More often than not, it feels like life moves at breakneck speed and before long we lose consciousness, become a slave to our work, our lifestyle and societal expectations. It’s as if we jump on the bullet train to nowhere and before long we’ve traveled thousands of miles with nothing of real substance to show for it. During this speedy process we may have received a special title, collected things and accumulated different experiences, but in the midst of riding on the accelerated track it’s likely that our most valuable and precious cargo (our relationships with family and friends) have suffered.

We come to classes to push ourselves and be there for each other to become our best selves.

Other than pushing ourselves to become more fit, we go to classes to be there for each other when motivation or reminding each-other of our values is necessary. 

Whether it be family, work, children, friends, or just a typical life situation, it’s easy to lose perspective and focus on the trivial and inconsequential. However, I urge you to stop the train, get off the tracks and make sure the most important part of the ride (time for relationships and with the people you love) are your highest priority. Everything else is replaceable.

What do you think? Click here to leave a comment & join the discussion. 

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WEEKLY JOURNAL: Turning Obstacles Into Opportunities

See Sunshine in Shadows

Success is when you realize obstacles you face are challenges to help you become better- and your response equals the challenge.
– Stephen Covey

Recently, my husband and I have found ourselves in a frustrating yet common parenting place. Our son is 26 months old and testing his boundaries in all the ways that toddlers do. Being first-time parents, we of course are concerned with our discipline style and curious if our technique is too stern or relaxed. My sister, who has thankfully trail-blazed this path before me, recommended a great book called Boundaries With Kids. Needless to say, I immediately began reading it in hope to gain wisdom.

After only reading the first chapter, the book has already shed light on some of my questions. What I’ve realized most is that we (parents and child) are experiencing obstacles, and even though they are annoying and exhausting, they are necessary for my son’s future growth, development and maturity. Furthermore, and regardless of age, the blessing of obstacles remains the same, as they are the stepping stones for our future success.

Author Harvey Mackay says it best in following story:

A man was walking in the park one day when he came upon a cocoon with a small opening. He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through the little hole. Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It looked like it had gotten as far as it could, so the man decided to help the butterfly. He used his pocketknife and snipped the remaining bit of the cocoon.

The butterfly then emerged easily, but something was strange. The butterfly had a swollen body and shriveled wings. The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected at any moment the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time. Neither happened. In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and deformed wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to emerge was natural. It was nature’s way of forcing fluid from its body into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom. Sometimes struggles are exactly what we need in our lives.

If we were allowed to go through life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. And we could never fly.

History has shown us that the most celebrated winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.

Thomas Edison tried over 2,000 experiments before he was able to get his light bulb to work. Upon being asked how he felt about failing so many times, he replied, “I never failed once. I invented the light bulb. It just happened to be a 2,000-step process.

Helen Keller, the famous deaf-blind author and lecturer, said: “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved. Silver is purified in fire and so are we. It is in the most trying times that our real character is shaped and revealed.”

As an adult, encountering obstacles is interesting, as we no longer have a parent to redirect us or tell us ‘no.’ Instead, we get to choose our behaviors, attitudes and actions around them and either turn obstacles into opportunities, or not. Moving forward, the big question is: will you view your obstacles with a defeated mentality or face them head on and see them as necessary opportunities for nature to take you where you need to grow and succeed?

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Point To Ponder:
What current obstacles can you turn into opportunities?

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Action Item:
Determine the obstacle that has the greatest opportunity to positively impact your life. Take responsibility for the obstacle, change your attitude around it and make the decision to turn it into a successful situation.

To your health,

Neissa

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