According to him, we must work on ourselves first before we can ever hope to be effective in dealing with other people. Once we are able to build a foundation of personal effectiveness, only then are we ready to move toward interdependence, or what he refers to as Public Victory.
Now it's important to keep in mind that you can't skip past the Private Victory habits and jump right into focusing on a Public Victory. Dr. Covey says you can't be successful with other people if you haven't paid the price of success with yourself. So, if you haven't been following this series, I strongly suggest you go back and start at the beginning so that what I'm about to share with you will make more sense.
If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, we've numbered all of the videos in this series and placed them in a separate Playlist to make it easier for those of you who want to watch them in sequence. We've also separated the blog posts into their own Category, in case you prefer to read rather than watch.
Obviously, you don't have to, but if you try to work on your interactions and relationships with others without developing the first 3 habits, you're going to find it very challenging. Dr. Covey points out that self-mastery and self-discipline form the foundation for good relationships with others.
Ok, so you've been working on yourself through the first 3 habits and you're ready to move on to working effectively with others. Before moving on, there's a section in the book between Habits 3 and 4 where Dr. Covey sets up this transition from Private Victory to Public Victory and he discusses an important concept that has stuck with me over the years since I first read this book.
That concept is your Emotional Bank Account. Just like a financial bank account, where you must make deposits and build up a reserve before you can make withdrawals, an Emotional Bank Account is the trust you build up by showing courtesy, kindness and honesty to other people. When you treat another human being with respect and keep your commitments to them, you are making deposits and over time you build up a reserve.
On the other hand, if you make a habit of disrespecting the other person, of lying to them, constantly criticizing or frequently displaying negativity in some way, your account with them becomes overdrawn. When this happens, your relationship suffers greatly and even brief interactions with the person begin to drain you emotionally.
Dr. Covey believes that our most constant relationships, such as those with a spouse, friend, co-worker, or our children, require the most consistent deposits. The Emotional Bank Accounts with people we come into contact with the most frequently have the potential to be some of the most enjoyable, satisfying and productive relationships we can ever experience. As I'm sure you're aware, they can also be the most frustrating.
He shares 6 major deposits that we can make to build up our reserves. Things like really trying to understand the other person, paying attention to the little things like kindness and courtesy, and keeping commitments. Showing personal integrity, such as being loyal to another person when they're not present. How many times a day do you interact with people who are talking about someone behind their back? Gossip and rumors are major withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account and if you make a habit of doing this, those folks will wonder what you're saying about them behind their back.
Have you ever said something to someone and almost immediately regretted it? Of course, we all have. Unfortunately, we can't catch those words once they come out of our mouth and put them back in. When it comes to withdrawals from the Emotional Bank Account, there are no take-backs, no do-overs. The only thing we can do is start making deposits again and try to rebuild that trust. And that takes times. An insincere apology won't get it done. Remember, actions speak louder than words.
If you embrace this concept, you'll start to catch yourself making withdrawals all the time. And you'll start to realize how damaging some of the seemingly insignificant little comments and criticisms can be to other people. Even joking around can hurt. And saying “I’m just kidding” doesn’t fix the damage.
As you work on this, you'll also start to recognize it while watching other people interact with one another. If you get nothing else out of this book, or this series of videos we're doing, I hope this one concept stays with you, because I believe it may be the most powerful and potentially impactful concept in entire book. And it's not even one of the 7 habits.
As you go about your life after watching this, please pay attention to your Emotional Bank Accounts and recognize the impact you're having on other people in your life with your words and your actions. I'm not suggesting that it's an easy thing to do, but I do believe it can drastically improve your relationships. I wish I could tell you that I'm an expert at dealing with other people and building up my Emotional Bank Accounts, but I struggle with it from time to time just like everybody else. Nobody says the right thing all the time.
Every now and then I'll do something or say something and realize immediately that I'm going to need to make some deposits to make up for that. But at least I recognize it and try to repair the damage as quickly as possible. Most people don't and they keep making withdrawals and then wonder why they just can't seem to get along with somebody. Their account is perpetually overdrawn.
Just like with money, one big withdrawal can wipe out months or years of deposits and we have to start saving all over again. Think about that the next time you're about to say something negative or hurtful to someone. Of course, that assumes you have the ability to think before you speak. But that's a topic for another day.
Start making deposits in your Emotional Bank Accounts today, so you can make an impact and lead a full life.
Let me know what you think about this concept in the Comments section, I would love to know if there's anything you do on a consistent basis to build up your Emotional Bank Account. Just remember, if you're a hater and you make a negative comment, that's a withdrawal, so you're gonna owe me some deposits. You can start paying me back on our next post, when we discuss a quote related to this concept.
Thanks for reading, now go make an impact!
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