Summary of Week 6

This week we revisited the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I first encountered the 7 habits when I served a mission in Budapest, Hungary. There was an elder there who everyone admired, and I couldn’t understand why. Then, during a zone conference, he was tapped to teach the missionaries about effectiveness, and it was there that I first learned of the 7 habits.

After my mission, I bought a copy of the 7 habits, and while I can’t say I’ve followed them religiously, they have been an important factor in how I have seen the world ever since. When I’ve been down in life, I’ve harkened back to their lessons, remembered that I have the power of responsibility and can be proactive, that I can see a better course and take action to pursue it. As I’ve grown and my work has taken on an increasingly social element, I’ve had to practice the principles of Win-Win and empathy.

While the 7 habits aren’t new to me, I appreciated the refresher, and I’m glad to have a nice summary of the book that I can look back on now and again. In particular, I was glad to be reminded of synergy. This is a habit that I haven’t worked on very much, but that is important in the work I do now.

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Summary of Week 6

Summary of Week 5

The readings and videos this week had a lot of practical advice. An article from the Harvard Business Review, How Entrepreneurs Craft Strategies That Work, in particular provided direct advice and encouragement also; I’ve feared that entrepreneurs are all of a certain breed, possessing certain attributes in common, and if I don’t have those attributes then I’ll never succeed, but the article notes:

Our evidence suggests that there is no ideal entrepreneurial profile either: successful founders can be gregarious or taciturn, analytical or intuitive, good or terrible with details, risk averse or thrill seeking. They can be delegators or control freaks, pillars of the community or outsiders.

The article points out that it doesn’t so matter what the entrepreneur’s attributes are; what matters is what the entrepreneur does with those attributes. If I can be honest with myself about my strengths and weaknesses, I will be more successful at finding and acting on the right opportunities for me.

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Summary of Week 5

Summary for Week Four

This week the lesson is perseverance. It was a thread that stretched through much of the reading and videos. The road to entrepreneurship can be long and challenging. We have stars in our eyes and imagine we’ll start a company that will be wildly successful, and then we’ll sell it for millions of dollars and retire. This happens very rarely, but it’s the story we’re told, so we believe it’s common.

The reality is that many businesses fail, and those that succeed often have only modest success. One lesson that rang out to me this week was the idea that successful entrepreneurs aren’t successful because they’re wealthy, they’re successful because they’ve learned to live within their means so that they have the time to do what matters to them. This is the essential idea that drove me towards the path of entrepreneurship, but it can be easy to forget if I am not careful.

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Summary for Week Four

Summary for Week Three

The material this week was more diverse but the focus was on a life well lived. I mentioned my thoughts on one article, Clayton Christensen’s How Will You Measure Your Life?, in a separate post. As I said there, I read Christensen’s book of the same title awhile back and it had a profound impact on my impression of business; it’s part of why I’m pursuing a degree in business management. My key takeaway from that article was one of Christensen’s final comments: Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. That comment nicely sums up what I’ve learned so far in this course.

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Summary for Week Three

Measuring My Life

A year or two ago, I read Clayton Christensen’s book How Will You Measure Your Life? It was a transformative book for me not only because of its good advice but because it helped me see that business can have a moral impact. Until that point, I had eschewed ideas of a business degree and viewed business’s focus solely as money-making, but after reading it, I saw that I could apply theories and models from business to help me make decisions in my life that have nothing to do with money and everything to do with living a meaningful, impactful life.

This week, I read Christensen’s article of the same title in the Harvard Business Review. I assume the article predates the book and is likely the basis of the book. Regardless, the article was a good refresher on the content of the book and a reminder of the importance of people in all that I do. In particular, he concludes his comments with this note:

Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people.

— Clayton M. Christensen

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Measuring My Life