What’s Your Exit Strategy?

It’s not every day you meet a legend that inspires the world.

“Life is Short,” according to Dr. Stephen Covey best selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (which sold more than 15 million copies in 38 languages) who unveiled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with Diabetes this August at the 2007 American Association of Diabetes Educators’ conference in St. Louis.

Dr. Covey has an uncanny ability to transform a common sense statement such as this into a profound life-altering mission by emphasizing the importance of making the most of the limited time we are given. He also shared the universal impact of listening, loving and leaving a legacy to thousands of impassioned diabetes educators.

He spoke only a couple of days ago and his message lingers loudly. A summary of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People with Diabetes follows:
1.    Be proactive. How we respond to things in life is our choice. (“I chose to eat healthfully” instead of “I have to eat veggies.”)
2.    Begin with the end in mind. This allows you to create a vision for your life so that reality can follow.
3.    Put first things first. Give priority to the things and self-care behaviors that are truly important to getting you where you want to go in life. How often does our schedule get so busy that there simply isn’t time to exercise?
4.    Think win-win. Partnerships and different perspectives benefit health. Relationships can help you succeed, whether ideas come from your healthcare provider or diabetes educator, or family, friends and colleagues.
5.    Seek first to understand, then to be understood. Listen empathetically with the intent of being in the other person’s shoes (within their frame of reference) before focusing on being understood. This promotes healthy coping.
6.    Synergize. Two heads are better than one. Get extra energy by involving your family or diabetes educator to help you make or maintain progress.
7.    Sharpen the saw. Keep all parts of yourself sharp: physical, mental, social and spiritual.

What decisions will you make to better your diabetes health? What steps are you taking to listen, love, and leave a legacy? If we begin with the end in mind, the journey is bound to be more meaningful and fulfilling. Your life clock is ticking. Get busy!