Six Ways to Take Charge in 2011

Stephen Covey, one of the most prolific leadership authors of our times, says there are six things you can do right now to make 2011 your best year ever.

1. Be proactive.

It’s more than just taking initiative. It means being responsible for your own life. Empower yourself to lead and spread your influence no matter what position you hold.

It means being responsible for your own life. That’s why I like the quote “Get busy living or get busy dying”. If you’re not being proactive in life, you’re not taking full advantage of life.

For me, I will take more chances. Learn to say “yes” a bit more often. I’m guilty of hoping for the right opportunity to come to me. That’s my old way of thinking. Gradually I am stepping away from that. Now I know that only those who work hard, will have those magical opportunities come to them. It’s not luck. It’s a result of hard work.

We control our lives. We determine how we will live it. Don’t be scared of that power. Embrace it.


2. Sharpen the saw.

Decide what’s truly important. Sharpen your saw early in the day by learning to say no to the unimportant and yes to the highly important.

Covey describes this as deciding what is truly important. Learn to say no to the unimportant and yes to the highly important early in the day. That way you’ll be more productive.

I know we are al guilty of spending time on meaningless tasks everyday. Too many e-mails, too much TV, too much internet, etc.

What I will do is I will stop checking Facebook constantly all day (I’m not the only one I know). I will stop aimlessly surfing the internet. I will focus on getting my projects done. . Keep learning. When I do that, I’ll feel like I have accomplished more than seeing what my friends wrote on Facebook.

However i do want to enjoy all those things too. So instead of working on a project and having a tab opened to or any other side not related to work on the side, I’ll take breaks to allow myself to do that and then focus on my work. That’ll be hard because that’s been a habit of mine but I’ll try at least.


3. Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.

It’s human nature to want to be understood, but when both parties are trying to be understood, neither party is listening. By making the investment to understand the other party, you can magically transform the course of your conversations.

I always felt like I have been a good listener. In groups I do more listening than talking. For me, I feel more comfortable. I like to listen and learn. And also it’s just a great trait to have when you meet new people. Be a good listener and you’ll have better relationships with everyone in your life. Also you can learn so much more.


4. Begin with the end in mind.

Start today with an image of the end of your life as the frame of reference by which everything else is examined. With a clear idea of where you are going, examine everything in the context of what matters to you most.

I understand the value of visualization. Before I didn’t believe it but now I am a big believer. If you read any book on success, or talk to any successful person, they will say visualization is a big key to success.

Thinking about your life as a whole is important as he wants us to do but for now I just want to focus on 2011.


5. Develop a vision mission statement.

Get a deep sense of your life’s mission, purpose and value system, then establish your goals and a system of accountability that keeps you on track.

This is a long term mission that is important so I’ll have to take time to plan this out.


6. Think win-win.

There is enough success for everyone, so don’t view another person’s success as success achieved at your expense or exclusion.

There is plenty in the universe to go around. If you want something you can have it. That is important to realize. One blogger’s success doesn’t mean that niche is saturated. It just means it’s one that can generate revenue so that’s good.

There’s enough money and success to go around for everyone.

In conclusion, you can apply these six principles to any area of your life. Take some time to think about each one and write them down and be sure to read them everyday. You will be amazed by the results.


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7 responses to Six Ways to Take Charge in 2011

  1. Whatup, Benny!

    I’m loving this article. And I love the theme of your site (Shawshank Redemption. Get Busy Digging. Get Busy Living.)

    The advice in this article is a really good mix of taking action, and thinking through what actions you’re taking. (i.e. living intentionally / living with purpose)

    I subscribe to both of those tenets whole-heartedly.

    Too many people live their lives on auto-pilot. And are surprised when they don’t end up where they had hoped.

    Here’s to you taking the bull by the horns in 2011, Benny!
    In fact, I can see you already have.

    Enjoy the ride. 🙂


  2. Bolaji!

    Thanks for coming by and posting a comment! Your post was very informative and I hope in 2011 I can start putting into action the plans you have laid out.

  3. A little late to the party, but catching up on some Get Busy Living. Great tips and will keep them in mind. Thanks!

  4. #2 Reminds me of Abraham Lincoln’s quote, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” If we can allow ourselves to isolate a set time each day or night towards figuring out the most important things to do in a given day we will develop a much keener sense of our priorities, making it much easier to delay the urge to feed into the unproductive distractions. Awesome read Benny

  5. Hi Benny. I found your site at Milk the Pigeon. I have to say I really admire you as a person. I just started reading some of your topics since yesterday. They are great and good for the soul and really inspiring. I’ve decided to make a comment on this article coz the quote “Get busy living or get busy dying” caught my attention. I thought I’ve heard it from somewhere and realized it was from the movie “Shawshank Redemption” I watched last weekend. All the best!

    • Thanks for coming over from Alex’s blog! Thanks so much for the compliment. Isn’t Shawshank Redemption a great movie? I knew I wanted my blog to be called that. Just sums up how I truly want to live. Not a life doing what I don’t enjoy, but a life I’m filling with the things I do. Thanks for your comment and thanks for reading. Hope you’ll be back often.