mental health

Becoming an Effective Person

Recently I read a very popular book about personal growth: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

Just like most books in this genre, the book had nothing new or revolutionary, but I do think Stephen explained it really well and gave some “easy” steps to attain all our goals. Easy to remember, but difficult to follow through with, which is still better than difficult to remember and follow through!

The book discusses a concept I’ve been thinking about pretty often these days. Two people can look at the same thing but see different things. Even when two people think they’re agreeing, they might not be and vice versa.

Check out the Habits below to learn a little more:


  1. Be proactivecirclesStephen talks about the concept of the Circle of Influence and the Circle of Concern. Essentially everything that affects you is in your Circle of Concern, but within that circle is a smaller circle that is full of things you can actually influence: the Circle of Influence. The idea is that reactive people tend to focus on everything of concern instead of taking action in the bubble we actually have an influence on.
  2. Begin with the end in mind
    It is hard to drive to your location if you don’t even know what to type into the GPS. Envision your goals and dreams. He argues that individuals, families and organizations should all have a Mission Statement (essentially the address to type into the GPS that is your life). You can check mine out towards the end of this post. 🙂
  3. Put first things firstquadrants
    A lot of times we tend to put “Important and Urgent” and “Not Important and Urgent” as our top priorities simply because they’re urgent. But as the names suggest, we should focus on “Important and Urgent” and “Important and not Urgent” first. Keep in mind that importance is based on your Mission Statement. Some people might mean they’ll get fired because they don’t think emails or meetings are important, but Stephen argues that if someone who is important to you asks you to do something then the task is proportionally important to you. And if part of your mission statement talks about health or well-being of you or those in your life, keeping your boss happy might keep you on the right path! The main thing I got from this habit was scheduling time for your relationships and personal growth. Once you have those “Important and not Urgent” things scheduled you will be more able to say no to things that would get in the way even if they seem important just because they’re urgent.
  4. Think win-win
    A win-lose or lose-win attitude eventually results in a lose-lose situation every time. Instead, we should push for a solution that allows all parties to win. This is not always possible, which is when we will agree to disagree and not make a deal together. Lose-win and win-lose situations are worse than parting ways for the time being. This concept is not about being a push-over, but it’s also about not stepping on people.
  5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
    Use empathetic listening to genuinely understand a person, which will likely lead them to reciprocate the listening and take an open mind to being influenced by you. This does not mean that the listening can be done just with the end goal of being listened to in mind. Genuinely caring creates an atmosphere of caring, and positive problem solving.
  6. Synergize
    Combine the strengths of people through positive teamwork, so as to achieve goals that no one could have done alone. This is not about compromise, but instead about working together to accomplish all goals and then some.
  7. Sharpen the Saw
    This last habit touches on self-care and the fact that we cannot infinitely continue Habits 1-6 unless we continually improve and reinvigorate ourselves. This is when we realize how important it is to reevaluate your Mission Statement(s) on a consistent basis, to keep up with your physical health, and stay on top of your mental health.



A concept I greatly enjoyed that Stephen spoke about was the Abundance Mentality. He coined the idea of abundance mentality, a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others. This is contrasted with what we see often in the professional world: fighting over happiness and success. People seem to think that by making someone else miserable will lead to more happiness coming their way which is much the opposite. Success and happiness are both increased when shared! We strive to be able to celebrate the success of others rather than feel threatened by it.

I wrote my Mission Statement assuming it will stay with me for the rest of my life, but also acknowledging that I am a living, breathing being so my Mission Statement will be a living, breathing document so it may change along the way!

My overall well-being is my first priority; closely following are my connections such as family and friends.

I don’t want to just listen; I want to hear.

I don’t want to heal the people; I want to teach the people how to heal themselves.

I don’t want to just band together to save the Earth; I want to do so much that the Earth will never need saving again.

I want to share so much and so much knowledge that when I leave this Earth I wouldn’t have any more to give if I stayed a second longer.

Do y’all have a mission statement? If so, what’s in it?

Shatter the Silence

Yesterday, I went to Take Back the Night at my university. This was my fourth Take Back the Night! The event included a march throughout campus, an opportunity for survivors to speak out about their experiences with sexual assault, a glow stick vigil, and many opportunities for education about sexual assault and the resources available on my campus.


Sadly I don’t have any pictures from my first Take Back the Night in 2013


The crowd at Take Back the Night 2016 in Oxford, MS.


The chancellor of the University of Mississippi and I at Take Back the Night 2017 in Oxford, MS


Executive members (past and present) of Rebels Against Sexual Assault at Take Back the Night 2018 in Oxford, MS


It is empowering to march down the streets chanting:

Shatter the Silence! / Stop the Violence!

People Unite! / Take Back the Night!

What do we want? / Justice. / When do we want it? / Now!

The people united / will never be divided.

We have the power. / We have the right. / We are here / to Take Back The Night.

I won’t be shamed. / I won’t be blamed.

Take Back My Life.  /   Take Back The Night.

This year I participated in the speak out portion of Take Back the Night. This can be difficult, but it was definitely worth it.

You can read what I said below: