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Entries in 7 habits (7)


Habits 6 and 7: Synergize and Sharpen the Saw - THE END!

Blogmother at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Expo- Sharpening the Saw!Whew Chile! Who would have thought it would take two months to read one book? WE FINISHED!

#ThankYouLawd! THis is our last post in our series on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Steven Covey. I made a vow that no matter what random craziness went on at the beginning of 2013, I wouldn't veer off course until I finished this book. So. Glad. I. Did.

I have been given so many opportunities to practice the 7 Habits in the 8 weeks I've been reading it I don't know if the 7 Habits drew those learning opportunities to me or if i saw thos opportunities because I was reading the 7 Habits. In any case, I've learned some new things and have applied them to my daily interactions.

I would say Win/Win, Be Proactive, and Begin with the End in Mind have been my favorites up until this point. Habit 7 is the best  over all.

Habit 6 is Synergize - It basically means that when you cooperate with others you open yourself to infinite possibilities and the fact that someone is different from you  is a strength and not a weakness.

Valuing differences is what really drives synergy. Do you truly value the mental, emotional, and psychological differences among people? Or do you wish everyone would just agree with you so you could all get along? Many people mistake uniformity for unity; sameness for oneness. One word--boring! Differences should be seen as strengths, not weaknesses. They add zest to life. Steven Covey

 Around here, that should remind you of the Black Thought Police who seek to impose order by attempting to control what we do, say and even think. The beat out any differences and brand any dissent as heretitical. The irony is that the Black community ( and yes there is one) could benefit greatly from diversity of viewpoint, tactics and world views. Someone got miffed with me recently because the blog is called What About Our Daughters instead of What About Our Children - as if all children don't benefit from the interests of little Black girls being well served. We're different. That's a good thing. 

Habit 7 is Sharpen the Saw - Its about the need to constantly pause to renew yourself. To take care of yourself. Instead of hacking away at  a tree for hours, if you would take time to merely sharpen your tools you could finish faster and more efficiently. 

Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have--you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Here are some examples of activities:

Feeling good doesn't just happen. Living a life in balance means taking the necessary time to renew yourself. Steven Covey. 

And with that I'm finished!

Along the way of reading this book I crushed my previous 5K personal record and completed my first half marathon at the Disney Princess Half Marathon in Orlando. If you missed all of the fun and festivities, we covered it thuroughly over on the WAOD Facebook Page. 

And now that this is out of the way, we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. There is foolishness to be combatted!


Habit Number 5 Seek First to Understand and Then to be Understood. 

Whew, we’re on Habit 5 in our series about the 7 Habits of Highly effective people. I vowed not to post about anything else here until I finished this book.

I’ve always been a “strategist.” I’ve always tried to figure out what other people are doing thinking, contemplating, scheming conniving. Part of that was probably from trying to navigate some pretty treacherous waters as a child. Between avoiding burning in the fiery flames of Hell  (Thanks Church folk! )or trying to get the highest grade, or generally trying to outwit, outplay and outlast people who I thought were idiots or dangerous- my mind has always run at 100 mph. That’s a bad thing in most circumstances I’m learning :) If I was a general leading an army or a fighter pilot, the ability to run a dozen scenarios a second would be useful. When trying to pick out which socks to wear in the morning... not so much. 


So this series on the 7 Habits for Highly Effective People has been good for me because it slowed me down. Oh yeah and I finished my Become a Runner Class last Friday and ran my 5K on Sunday with my coach and classmates. I shaved 9 minutes off of my 5K time. Now I need to shave off 13 more minutes by December 31, 2013. 


So this week’s habit fits in with trying to outwit, outplay and outlast. It deals with the concept of empathetic listening and learning to see things from other people’s perspectives. Habit 5 is Seek First to Understand and Then To be Understood. 


Covey notes that most of us aren’t trained to listen.  


My take away what my need to diagnose before I prescribe: Before we can give people advice or counsel, we have to understand what their problems or needs are. 

Once I know what the problems or concerns are, I should speak to those problems or needs. 


If you are having a conversation with someone you want to influence, this makes a ton of sense. Otherwise...not so much. 


I guess those  church ladies that were concerned for my eternal soul probably more concerned for their own so they projected their fiery eternal damnation on me. The people who were idiots were probably just seeing things from another perspective and the people who were dangerous probably were dangerous in which case, i can’t be bothered to be empathetic.


But for real, I don’t know if its the 7 Habits or the running three times a week, but I’m definitely not responding as emotionally as I would have in the past. In some cases, I’m not responding at all. THAT’S huge for someone who always has SOMETHING to say.


HA! I guess I finally mastered prudence and tact... under limited circumstances.


Whew I’m almost at the end of this series. I may double up the last two habits because if you’ve been reading the Facebook Page, you know things are popping off.  


Habit 4 Win/Win : Get Your Rosa Parks Forever Stamps 

 That's Amandla Stenberg dressed age-appropriately introducing the Rosa Parks Forever Stamp for the United States Postal Service. The folks over at the WAOD Facebook fan page enjoyed the pick so I thought I'd share that with the audience over on the blog as we head into the fourth post in our series on the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. I'll tie in this photo with our theme this week Habit 4:Think Win Win.

I like to be consistent with posting so it’s bothering me that I haven’t been able to meet my Monday posting schedule with this 7 Habits series. So today I just buckled down and said WRITE IT!  

I began this 7 Habits Series at the same time I began my Become a Runner Class and I have to readjust my lifestyle to adjust to the fact that I am a competitive athlete now - sure, I may be competing with the little old ladies I power walk past on race day, but it’s still a competition :) In any case, I am waking up at 5 in the morning which means by 8:30 at night, I’m done. My body has become a task master “Go to sleep! Climb the hill! Put down the Funyuns! Put. them. down!”  So in the past I would stay up at night and write my posts for the next day, but I haven’t figured out my new pattern so bear with moi. We’ve got 3 more habits to go before this series is over. Thank you for your loyalty!

So Habit #4 is Think Win/WIn and when I tell you this chapter was so timely in my life. The first three habits Be Proactive, Begin With the End in Mind, Put First Things First- were about managing ourselves. Habit 4 Begins with managing our relationship with others. 

Think Win-Win isn’t about being nice, nor is it a quick-fix technique. It is a character-based code for human interaction and collaboration.

Most of us learn to base our self-worth on comparisons and competition. We think about succeeding in terms of someone else failing–that is, if I win, you lose; or if you win, I lose. Life becomes a zero-sum game. There is only so much pie to go around, and if you get a big piece, there is less for me; it’s not fair, and I’m going to make sure you don’t get anymore. We all play the game, but how much fun is it really?

Win-win sees life as a cooperative arena, not a competitive one. Win-win is a frame of mind and heart that constantly seeks mutual benefit in all human interactions. Win-win means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying. We both get to eat the pie, and it tastes pretty darn good! Steven Covey

 I do tend to go through life thinking about how to avoid losing. I think we do that when we don’t know what our goals are- or the ultimate results we want and we get focussed on outwitting, outsmarting, and outlasting.  There is also the vulnerability that comes from having to trust others. Well if you craft a negotiation so that everyone involved benefits, the other party’s altruism should drive them in the direction of honor and decency. I also learned that even if someone doesn’t say anything about being on the losing end of a Win/Lose negotiation, the relationship with them will be poisoned by resentment eventually. 

Many people think in terms of either/or: either you're nice or you're tough. Win-win requires that you be both. It is a balancing act between courage and consideration. To go for win-win, you not only have to be empathic, but you also have to be confident. You not only have to be considerate and sensitive, you also have to be brave. To do that--to achieve that balance between courage and consideration--is the essence of real maturity and is fundamental to win-win. Steven Covey

 I found myself in four different discussions last week with potential strategic partners and I am certain, I would not have even opened the door to the possibility of collaboration if I had not read this chapter. I would have held on to my ideas and kept them to myself or I would have been trying to figure out how not to end up on the short end of any collaboration- but this chapter made me fearless- I don’t partner with people who I can’t help “win” and I avoid at all costs those who can’t explain to me how they are going to help me “win.” If the win/win isn’t clear - then don’t do the deal. 

So learn to start filtering your collaborations by asking? How can I help them? How can they help me? If you don't know the answer- now is not the time. That time may come later- but not now. 

This photo was a win/win. Normally I ignore the spam I get from Publicists because they are getting paid to do something they want me to do for free. So no, I ain't blogging about your client when you won't give me so much as $0.47 to buy a stamp.  That's a win/lose situation that breeds resentment- and yes, I resent their SPAM and unwillingness to invest in the blogging platforms that make them money. In this case, however, the publicist had something my audience wanted which were photos of a beautiful group of Black women and girls an event celebrating Rosa Parks. So on a whim because I knew the Facebook crew were fans of Amandla, I posted this image, the response was so overwhelmingly positive that I ended up posting about a half dozen photos from the publicist and both sets of photos have been heavily shared--- ironically the publicist pitched these photos using Samuel L Jackson's name in the subject heading-I looked at the photos IN SPITE of that.


Habit 3 - Put First Things First:Don't Major in Minor Things

Well if space aliens were observing us from outer space last week, they would have thought the nation was observing the anniversary of Manti Te’o being “catfished” or the outcome of a scandal on a game show called Can You Sing the National Anthem Karaoke-style, starring Beyonce Knowles Carter. HA! 


We missed the minor detail of a presidential inauguration or the observance of the Martin Luther King Holiday. Minor things were major. Which makes our ongoing series of posts about the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People timely don’t you think. 

In Habit One, we learned that our lives are the results of our choices- and we DO have choices. We can live a life based on bedrock principles or we can live a life based on our circustances or emotions. In Habit 2: Begin With the End in Mind, we try to figure out what those bedrock principles are. Now the hard part starts - now we have to act on what we learned in Habits 1 and 2 by focussing on what we say our values are and living our live accordingly.

It deals with many of the questions addressed in the field of time management. But that's not all it's about. Habit 3 is about life management as well--your purpose, values, roles, and priorities. What are "first things?" First things are those things you, personally, find of most worth. If you put first things first, you are organizing and managing time and events according to the personal priorities you established in Habit 2.  Franklin Covey


Don't prioritize the activities on your schedule or to do list. Schedule your priorities. 

For those of you who can’t be bothered to read -- it’s okay, this reading nonfiction ain’t easy-- Dr. Covey, the author of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People demonstrated the principle in the video at the top of this page. 

Here are some of the points that screamed at me from Put First Things First:


Quoting E.M. Gray’s essay “The Common Denominator of Success” 

The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don’t like to do. They don’t like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose. 


Subordination requires a purpose, a mission, an sens of direction (Habit 2) and value, a burning “yes” inside that makes it possible to say no to other things.

That one made me stand up and take notice. It screamed at me. I don't have to like it. I just have to do it.  

Organize and execute around priorities.


Rather than focussing on things and time, focus on preserving and enhancing relationships and accomplishing results.


That was huge for a self professed introvert who thinks she can do just fine without having to deal with people :). 


You need to know the difference between Urgent and Important - They aren’t the same


Urgent matters are usually visible.. but so often are unimportant.


Importance has to do with results. If somethign is important, it contributes to your mission, your values, your high priority goals. 


We react to urgent matters. Important matters that are not important require more initiative, more proactivity.  

He then discusses  the Time Management Matrix. which he divides into 4 quadrants. 


  • Quadrant I- urgent important matters aka CRISES.
  • Quadrant II - Not urgent, but super important matters.
  • Quadrant III- Urgent, Not important matters.
  • Quadrant IV- Not urgent and note important. 


 Here's a video explaining the Time management Matrix

Effective people stay outside of Quadrant III and IV and shrink the size of Quadrant I.


Quadrant II is the heart of effective personal management. 


In Quadrant II we do things like building relationships, writing a personal mission statement, long-range planning, exercising, preventative maintenance and preparation.  

I am do DESTINED to read this book because in the middle of reading this chapter, my team at BWB suffered a MAJOR email crisis when out super SUCKY email provider just unilaterally decided to reduce the size of out email inboxes right before a big roll out. For years the team complained to me about not liking the email interface, but there was always something more “urgent” than making sure that our primary source of communication was secure and functional. I think that’s kinda important dontcha? Anywhoo there was always some reason why I couldn’t take the time to switch services.

I ended up switching services in less than an hour. If I had done better strategic planning and maintenance, it would not have taken a crisis to make me move. I was so happy I didn't have a meltdown. I just said- you are in quadrant I- get out. get out. get out. So now that I'm launching a new venture, I'm hanging out in Quadrant II and spending a lot more time on the things that aren't "sexy" or "ex"


When you take the initiative to set what is important as opposed to responding to every demand, your crises disappear for the most part. Unless you work in an emergency room, 95% of your emergencies are the result of improper planning and preparation.


In a way, this entire blog post series is putting first things first. Yeah, I could drive a bunch of traffic and entertain you by responding to every foolish pop culture episode for the first 7 (or 8) weeks of the year or I could finish reading this book. Right about now would be the point where I got distracted by something else and never returned to it again :)But I can’t because you’re here to hold me accountable. 


If you google Put First Things First, there's a TON of slideshows and videos out there. 



Begin With the End in Mind:Do You Really Want to End up a Mule?

Our first seven posts of 2013 are about Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People .  Look folks, I’m working these habits myself- so I’m no expert. I just want to improve and take you along with me. Hop off the bus at any time- everyone isn’t ready!

Last week we covered the First Habit- Be Proactive- Ignorecotting Baby Kimye. Some of you were resistant to the idea of letting go of your Kim Kardashian obsession, but guess what- your obsession with all things Kimye is within the Circle of Concern- so not my problem. I have come to convey and NOT convince. My final word on Kimikins is that she is neither the knife nor the wound--- she is merely the salt. Moving along...

Finally! The Second Habit: Begin With the End in the Mind! Woot! Woot! Woot!

Stephen Covey places a great deal of emphasis on  idea that in life there are always two creations: the mental and the physical. You are either living a life of design or a life of default. Where people screw up is in the first creation. They walk through life like zombies- subject to the whims and plans of others or slaves to their own temporary emotions. If your life doesn't look the way you want it to look, it's probably because you haven't spent time thinking about it. To help clarify the "design" of your life and your values, Habit 2 encourages you to write a personal mission statement. - And this is where the challenge for Black women looms. 


Far too many Black women live a life of chattel. We belong to the “community”. The mere thought of imagining what you want your life to look like at it’s end is foreign, confusing, SCARY! But that’s what we’re gonna do! Oh yes we are!

We start the chapter by imagining that we are at our own funeral. YAY! I look fabulous in that urn! 

We’re asked to imagine remarks from members of our family, friends, professional associates and someone from church or a community organization.  Then we’re supposed to ponder what we would like each of these speakers to say. Well an easy way around this exercise would be to prepare remarks for each of these people in advance- but I digress.

What would you like them to say about you?

What Kind of spouse, child, sibling or parent would you like them to remember?

What kind of friend?

What kind of working associate?

What was your character? 

What were your memorable achievements?

What difference did you make in their lives?

The answers to these questions are to help you identify the fundamental values that help you define the boundaries of your Circle of Influence.   By knowing what you want the end of your life to look like, you have a reference point to examine every aspect of your life.

I think the reason it took me so long to write about the Second Habit: Begin With the End in Mind is two fold A) it’s 50 pages long and B) the opening exercise reminds me that my life is not in perfect harmony with my principles and values. That sux!

Once you know that your life is not in harmony with your values, you kinda sorta have an obligation to make changes because otherwise you’re a lazy coward and who wants to be a lazy coward? Oh but my comfort zone is so nice and warm and cuddly- i just want to lay in my comfort zone--- it’s so comfortable. But no dice! Doing what I’m currently doing will not get me to the eulogy of my dreams. 

Create the life you want in your head- write it down and it serves as a blue print. This tangible manifestation of what you want your life to look like makes it easier to weed out the nonsense. 


As it relates to blogging- I don’t want to be remembered for the following:


  • The Blogmother- She really knew how to go awf!
  • The Blogmother - She told it like it was! *please don’t ever say this to me in person- it annoys me greatly*
  • The Blogmother- She successfully predicted the apocalypse! She said it’d be bad-she was right!
  • The Blogmother - She really knew how to call someone Da’ Debil
  • The Blogmother - Her favorite sayings were Chile’ BYE! Gurl STOP! Have 5 Seats! You Need more People. Regime of Bullets Booty and Bling, Civil Rights Industrial Complex, Black Elite Establishment. Obfuscation and Redirection!



I want to be remembered for this *cue gospel music*:



  • The Blogmother - She left an enduring legacy that served as a beacon of light to little Black girls everywhere. Not only was she a cybercrusading warrior princess, but a creative genius!  Walt Disney himself, were he still alive, would weep at the marvelous works she would unleash upon the souls of Black womanity. Activist,  author, film director, multi-media  mogul, marathon runner- she was a woman born for the digital age and she moulded  every dream which tap danced around her imagination into tangible form which now live in the hearts of little Black girls around the world FOREVER!  and EVER and EVER Amen!AmenAmenAmeeeeeeen! Yeah yeah yeah yeah! mmm hmmmm! FROM THE MOUNTAIN TOPS! 


See what I mean about this exercise sucking? That’s a lot of work! I’m tired just reading it and I wrote it. The part about tangible form is really important to me- so I’m working on it. Though not as much as I should. Hence why this exercise works- every time you spend your time talent and tools on something that is inconsistent with your imaginary eulogy, it mocks you! 

Anywhoo- after going through the macabre funeral exercise, you’re supposed to write a personal mission statement. You really should sit down and do it because it really does highlight the hypocritical mess your life may have become. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean that’s what your soul longs to do. Just because it’s easy or comfortable doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be doing it.  And the only way to figure that out is to pause and listen to yourself. 

Many of us were raised to believe that our lives are not our own. We were born with a purpose, mainly to be the footstools and backbones of a community where our needs- heck our humanity were marginalized. We’re here to be a stepping stone for everybody else. 

Let the musicians call us b*%&(% and #$*U%# because these “young men” need to feed their families. Let the preachers ignore our GAPING wounds, both physical and spiritual,  from the pulpit- just keep on tithing to a church that isn’t ministering to you because that’s what your mother and grand mother and great grandmother did. Become the family ATM or hotel/motel, crisis manager because if you didn’t do it, the whole family would collapse into pieces- that’s a lie by the way, they’ll be just fine. Be the support system for some no-count manCHILD because life’s been hard on HIM.


Quite frankly the idea of not being a community mule is terrifying for many Black women because who would you be if you weren’t being used by a bunch of ungrateful, obtuse, predatory people?

So when you do the exercise, don’t imagine what other people would want you to imagine. Don’t limit yourself to the role that was foisted upon you at birth. Don’t be shackled by the anti-Black woman propaganda that tells you that to the extent that you have value, it is solely for the use and utility of others. 


And if your current decisions don’t line up with where you want to be at the end of your life----- be proactive- make. different. decisions. Because life is a choice. And you always have a choice. 

Here's Stephen Covey talking about the Second Habit:Begin With the End in Mind