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From 'The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,' money and career tips relevant for right now

NYT bestselling author Sean Covey shares money and career lessons from "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" that can help you navigate uncertainty right now.

Sean Covey
Twenty/20

In 1989, my father, Stephen R. Covey, wrote "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," which has sold 40 million copies in more than 50 languages. This year was a big milestone for our company and "7 Habits" when we released the 30th anniversary edition of the book. 

Today, I'm the president of FranklinCovey Education, working on an educational initiative inspired by the principles of book, called The Leader in Me, which is now in more than 5,000 schools and 50 countries throughout the world.

But when I started my career, having been raised on the seven habits myself, it got me thinking about how other young people could implement them in their lives. I wrote several books with that goal in mind: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" an illustrated children's book called "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids," and a college textbook, "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective College Students."  

Three of the seven habits have been particularly useful to me over the last few months and could help you navigate this moment too. 

Remember that while you can't control what happens in our economy or the stock market, you can control what you choose to do in this situation. Though it may be tough, do your best to focus on things you can influence. Recognize where you can be in the driver's seat and take steps to position yourself wisely. Here's how. 

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Habit 1: Be proactive 

Like many, you may have lost your job or been furloughed, which is understandably difficult. But as you look for new opportunities, this could be a time to entirely rethink what you want from your career. There might be a golden opportunity you haven't thought of. 

Reflect on the past, consider your future, and tap into your resourcefulness and initiative. Do you have a dream company that you always wanted to work for? Study the leadership and management team, products, services, financials, and fundraising rounds so you are prepared to share how you can make a significant contribution as a new hire

As you research the company and staff, you may find there's an issue or problem the organization is experiencing within its industry. Learn as much as you can about the issue and maybe even reach out to people who work at the company to learn what you can, so you can understand how you could help to solve the problem with your experience and skills.

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Habit 2: Begin with the end in mind 

It's difficult to plan for the future when the present is so uncertain. But you should still invest time in developing your money and career goals. 

If you have investments, for example, though the market is unpredictable, do your best to avoid being reactive. Do your due diligence and get advice from a trusted expert. Make decisions carefully and calmly so you can choose what's best for you in the long term. 

With that long-term approach in mind, create a personal mission statement that defines what your life is about and what matters most to you. It's a personal constitution that helps you manage key aspects of your life, like finances, and guides you in making daily decisions, especially when things get difficult. 

Some mission statements are written, some are long, others are short. Some people like to use the concept of a vision board. The format is your choice. The key is to truly envision where you want to be. There are no wrong answers here. 

With your mission statement in mind, take time to reflect on your personal, family, and financial goals. Set new objectives and set aside time to work on them on a weekly and daily basis. The best way to predict your future is to create it.

The best way to predict your future is to create it.
Sean Covey
New York Times Bestselling Author and President of FranklinCovey Education

Habit 3: Sharpen the saw

Enhance the greatest asset you will ever have: yourself. 

Just as a dull saw isn't an effective tool, we must make time for self-renewal in order to be our best, for ourselves and for everyone around us. If you've lost your job, are financially strained, or your investments are not doing so well, it's easy to get stressed out and anxious. 

Right now, you have a lot of responsibilities, but it's also important to remember to take care of yourself. It costs nothing to take a walk, get some exercise, read a book, or serve others through volunteer work or mentorship. 

Do something to renew and enhance your skills and sense of self. If you're refreshed, you'll have less anxiety, an improved mood, and increased creativity, which will lead to smarter choices and greater productivity.  

Sean Covey is president of FranklinCovey Education. He is a New York Times bestselling author and has written several books, including "The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make," "The 7 Habits of Happy Kids," and "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens," which has been translated into 20 languages and sold over 4 million copies worldwide.

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