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The 8 Blogging Habits of Highly Effective People

7habitscover 8thhabitcover I see a number of connections between the benefits of blogging catalogued by Robert Scoble and Shel Israel in Naked Conversations: How Blogs are Changing the Way Businesses Talk with Customers, and the 8 habits of effectiveness and greatness outlined by Stephen Covey in his two most famous books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons for Personal Change, and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness.  I already blogged about how blogging is a natural channel through which to practice the 8th habit, find your voice and inspire others to find theirs: every blogger has a voice, and reading other blogs often helps inspire me to take more risks in my own blogging. Having recently finished Naked Conversations -- and having continued to blog for two years since my initial observation -- I see even greater relevance between blogging and [other] habits of effectiveness and greatness.

In his first book, Stephen lays out a model for the 7 habits, through which one can move from dependence to independence to, ultimately, interdependence.

  1. Be Proactive: Take initiative, don't simply react to stimuli, consider your choices and assume full responsibility for your actions; focus on your sphere of influence, and thereby expand it.
    Blogging, commenting and linking are all actions that are facilitated through the blogosphere, so that people have more choices on how they can have impact.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind: Identify your mission, and your roles and goals, and use that mission to determine what actions will help you achieve your goals in each of your roles.
    Most blogs reflect a sense of mission, even when that mission is not explicitly articulated in the blog ... and perhaps, even, when that mission is not recognized by the blogger. Some people create separate blogs to compartmentalize different roles and/or goals; Robert and Shel tell how (and why) Buzz Bruggeman created a second blog, Buzznovation, to share his political views separately from his original, more business-oriented blog, Buzzmodo (and it's interesting to note that the former appears to be getting more attention, from Buzz and his readers, than the latter these days).
  3. Put First Things First: Distinguish between importance and urgency, prioritize based on importance, and be willing to say "no" to urgent, but non-important goals.
    The topics that a blogger chooses to write about often reveals what is truly important to him or her, and the comments that a blogger responds to -- if any -- reveals the importance a blogger places on his or her audience.  And, as with unrecognized missions, these revelations of importance may escape the notice of some bloggers.
  4. Think Win-Win: Don't overdraw emotional bank accounts; embrace a perspective of integrity, abundance and trust to craft agreements that benefit all stakeholders.
    Blogging offers an opportunity for constructive engagement that can benefit the blogger, the people he or she links to, and those who choose to comment on the blog ... when the participants act with integrity, abundance and trust. There are, of course, examples where one or more of these qualities appears to be absent from blog conversations.
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Utilize empathic listening to deeply understand another person's frame of reference, before sharing your own insights and experiences.
    I have, at times, been too quick to blog about something, or to comment on another's blog, before really understanding where the other person is coming from.  However, since blogging is conversational, these instances of articulated initial misunderstanding usually offer potential paths to mutual understanding.
  6. Synergize: Value diversity, cultivate trust and employ creative cooperation to build a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
    Some of my favorite blogs are those in which the comments are as engaging as the original posts (Kathy Sierra's Creating Passionate Users blog is my favorite example).  Taken as a whole, I think the blogosphere represents one of the best examples of synergy.
  7. Sharpen the Saw: keep your saw sharp through regular practices that renew you mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
    Well, I can't say that blogging helps with physical renewal ... and in my case, due to poor posture and workstation ergonomics, probably the opposite. But I have found that blogging helps me gain mental clarity (both through my own writing and comments written by others), emotional support (through comments and email) and connect with new sources of spiritual inspiration (Dan Oestreich's Unfolding Leadership blog is my favorite example in this dimension).

Unfortunately, Stephen Covey does not blog, although many people have blogged about him.  As a famous author and speaker, he has other channels through which to articulate his voice.  However, blogging offers a platform through which those of us who are inspired by these habits and principles can more effectively practice them, manifest our unique personal significance ... and, perhaps, achieve greatness.

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