Stephen Covey in his very popular book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective people enumerated the 7 habits that every one that we can call effective displays. One question that comes to my mind however is, “Can we really be effective without having a big picture, a dream, a vision etc.?” If I were to be asking this question in a classroom, I’ll most likely get a mix of ‘yeses’ and ‘no’s. My answer ‘No’.

I love what Peter Drucker said “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things”. Unfortunately, the right things are often mixed up with other good things. The fact that a thing is good does not make it right. For instance, you can do a lot of good things, pursue good careers, start a good business and do well but you will never do as well in the ‘good’ areas as much as you’ll do in the ‘right’ areas.

I  love to use the analogy of a pen and a pen cover to explain this; the pen cover can make a mark when you make an effort to use it to write on a paper and of course, the pen will always write with little or no effort at all. While the pen cover can equally make a mark, it will never be able to make a mark as sharp and clear (effective) as the pen that was created to make a mark.

This is the same with us, we must identify the right things we should get ourselves involved with and articulate our personal vision in that direction. Another question that comes to mind is “what if I am currently involved with something that is not exactly in line with what I should be doing?” The formula below is the key to lasting success and personal effectiveness.

Unique Knowledge + Capacity Building – Inhibitions = Success

Unique Knowledge:

That everyone is unique and special is no longer news. That you are not one in a million but one in 6.5 billion is a fact that you should be proud of, but it’s no longer news. This is the point; do you know what makes you special? What do you know that others do not know? What can you do that no one else can do as much as you can? What unique knowledge do you have? You need to take time and understand this. What is your strength? According to Marcus Buckingham, your strength is that thing you feel strong about before doing, while you are on it and when you are done with it. I tell you, they are not very many!

Your unique knowledge is what makes you stand out in the crowd. If your question is that you are not in the right place and you cannot change what you are doing for the scarcity of jobs, businesses etc., you just need to add ‘yourself’ – your unique knowledge to that thing you are currently doing. Have you ever seen a traffic warden doing his job with dancing? Or a very lively and friendly customer service officer? That is adding yourself to your job. The more you use the unique knowledge, the more it grows.

Capacity Building:

“Most people never feel secure because they are always worried that they will lose their job, lose the money they already have, lose their spouse, lose their health, and so on. The only true security in life comes from knowing that every single day you are improving yourself in some way, that you are increasing the calibre of who you are and that you are valuable to your company, your friends, and your family.” – Anthony Robbin

The journey to success starts with knowing yourself but ends when you stop developing yourself. Personal development is not to be taken likely. It is very important! You need to grow every day. When last did you read a book, listen to an educational audio or video material, consciously learn from an event or even seek to know yourself better? The world changes every day and consistently seeks people who keep developing themselves.

Avoid the myth – My employer, my parents or the government will take the responsibility of my personal development. No! It is your responsibility. No one can take care of you the way you would. The responsibility of your life lies on you. Keep doing what you need to do, get detailed, relevant and the most recent information about it, learn from every day events and you’ll keep getting better at it.

Inhibitions:

Are there obstacles? Are there challenges? Do we have fears? Do we sometimes meet high walls? Technically, yes…but also, no. Obstacles are to be jumped over, broken, removed or circumvented. Challenges and problems are to be solved, fear is just Fake Experiences Appearing Real and walls are to be pulled down or scaled.

We will be faced with inhibitions but our responses to them determine what we get.

Events + Response = Outcome

Steven Covey taught us to be proactive and not reactive – envisage the problem and proffer solutions before you face it.

You can become all you were created by God to be. You can be the most effective person in your organisation. You can become a very successful and significant person. All you need to do is to have a dream (vision), desire to actualise your dream, develop yourself, maintain your distinction and deliver (add value to others with your vision). It’s called the D2D model

Dream-Desire-Develop-Distinction-Delivery.

Let me end with the word of one of the greatest salesman in the world – Og Mandino (1923- 1996), “Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busy work. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow now! Not tomorrow!”