The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Daters
My son-in-law and I have something new to talk about! He’s been reading Stephen R. Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. He’s seeing the world through new eyes. If you’ve ever experienced someone ‘getting it’ for the first time, you probably know how exhilarating it feels. We were discussing the seven habits, and I realized that they could all be applied to dating. I apologize in advance to Stephen Covey if I’ve misrepresented any of his work. Please forgive me as I take artistic license in adapting his philosophy to dating.
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Daters
1. BE PROACTIVE: You can continue to blame outside circumstances for the outcome of your love life. You can blame your parents for how they modeled a marriage, or you can blame where you live. Hey, you can even blame men. Or you can begin to take full responsibility for having the love you want, no matter what your personal history is, no matter where you come from. It’s up to you to make the inner changes. I can show you how.
2. BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND: Without a clear vision for what you want, it’s hard to achieve anything great. Early in my coaching career, I remember coaching someone about her vision for the future. “I want to be rich”, she said. “How rich?” I asked. “I want to be a millionaire, living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in a luxury apartment, with another home in Tahiti”. Pretty clear, huh? Last I checked, she was well on her way to wealth and living her dream. If you want to find love, you need a clear vision for that, too. Do you want to be married? If so, by when? Set a date and work backwards. Then you can figure out what you need to do to achieve your love goals.
3. PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST: Learn to manage your time well and prioritize love. This is where your vision for love gets put into action. Did you set up time on the calendar to spend on dating sites? Are you devoting a good amount of time to meeting new men? Are you signing up for social events on a regular basis? If you don’t prioritize, it will not materialize on its own.
4. THINK WIN-WIN: ‘If you win, I lose. If I win, you lose.’ Many people believe there are only so many good men to go around. They think, ‘If you found a good man, it means that there’s one less good man for me. My success is based on your failure, and vice versa.’ This is a losing proposition, one based on a sense of scarcity in the world. When you realize that there is an abundance of all that you need, you will begin to attract just that into your life.
5. SEEK FIRST TO UNDERSTAND, THEN TO BE UNDERSTOOD: Good communication is crucial to wonderful, loving relationships. But it’s a skill that doesn’t come naturally to most people. If you want to improve your love life, learn to listen and communicate more effectively. Most of us filter our listening through our own experiences, what Stephen Covey calls autobiographical listening. We make false assumptions about the people we are talking to. This is dangerous, as it can lead to misunderstanding and judging people incorrectly. When you are trained to listen before you seek to be understood, you will have a better relationship with the man in your life.
6. SYNERGIZE: Synergy is the belief that ‘two heads are better than one’. A guy I once dated wrote in his profile that in a good relationship, 1 + 1 = 3. Turns out, this is directly from Stephen Covey. In relationship terms, this means that in a great relationship, you compliment your partner and in doing so, many new and wonderful things emerge. The key is in recognizing and valuing the complimentary traits in your potential partner. In coaching, you can learn to identify what character traits will compliment you most effectively.
7. SHARPEN THE SAW: This is about keeping yourself renewed and in growth mode for the rest of your life. If you don’t have balance, zest for life, zeal to grow and learn, you become stagnant and, let’s be honest, boring! In a great relationship, two people are dynamically moving forward on all fronts, working on self-improvement. Physical, social/emotional, spiritual and mental; these are all key areas of growth that must be nurtured for a truly great relationship to flourish.
Stephen Covey has added a new book on the 8th habit of highly effective people:
8. FROM EFFECTIVENESS TO GREATNESS: Once you’re in a great relationship, what are you doing to keep it going? This is all about going beyond… to fulfillment, to thriving, to excitement and keeping your relationship alive and growing for many wonderful years.
It’s my passion to help women get it right the second time around. There are too many people selling out on bad relationships, sometimes from the outset. If you become immersed in personal change, you will attract the right people into your life and be a much happier person.
Together, we can work to decrease the divorce rate for second marriages, and we can increase the number of loving, respectful and dynamic relationships on this planet.
Will you join me on my mission?
More to come on the Seven Habits in upcoming posts…