Monday Motivation - The 7 Habits of a Highly Successful Startup

In this week's Monday Motivation, YuLife CEO Sammy Rubin shares how startups can apply the learnings of Stephen Covey's "7 Habits of Highly Effective People"

Yugi the Giraffe - 11 May 2020

“I wanted to talk to you today about one of my favourite books that has inspired me for the past 30 years. It’s a book I have come back to time and time again to help me both professionally and personally. Let’s apply the lessons from Stephen Covey’s book: “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” to our startup.

“The book contains timeless universal principles - there is a reason it has remained on the list of best selling business books over the last 30 years. The habits written about apply to individuals, but how do we apply these same principles to a start up? Covey explains in the book the framework of a maturity continuum, the habits we create as an individual matures.

“When we are born, we are dependent; dependent on parents, teachers and mentors. Then, we go through a process of independence and we start to realise who we are and what we want to build in the world. Dependence leads to independence and, finally, to interdependence. We realise we can go so far alone, but real sustainable success is achieved when we work with others and realise we are all on the same journey together.

“Covey breaks up these seven effective habits into three parts, with the final habit standing alone. The first three habits are all about gaining independence:

  • Be proactive - no one is going to do it for us. We need to take control of our lives and make things happen for ourselves.
  • Begin with the end in mind - what is our vision and mission? Where are we going in life? What is our end goal?
  • Put first things first - We can have a great goal in mind, but if we don’t prioritise what’s important we can’t become independent.

“As entrepreneurs and people building something new, these habits are crucial in the first stages of a start up. We want to go out and build something, and having a really clear vision helps us in this. YuLife’s vision from the beginning was to inspire people to live their best lives. Learn to execute according our mission and don’t lose focus. These are the ingredients of a successful “independent” startup.

“The next three habits show the transition from independence to interdependence. Deeper growth happens when we realise we are part of a bigger universe:

  • Think “win-win” - interdependence means that we win not at the expense of others, but by crafting partnerships that benefit both parties. There is room for everyone to succeed.
  • Seek first to understand before being understood - We spend so much time talking and we want people to understand us, but you should take a step back and understand others first. What are their motives and where are they coming from? There’s a reason we have two ears and one mouth. Listen.
  • Synergise - Create a synergy in people we are in partnership with. This is where we can build and grow together and build on the strengths. Find others where you are weak and others are strong and create synergy and this is where real magic happens.

“This also applies to the journey from a startup to a scale-up. It’s one thing to come up with a product and come up with a vision, but one can do that at the expense of others and not make a good mark in the world. We need to think “win-win” with all of our partners: they should win and we should win. Similarly, we should seek first to understand why we’re going out into the market and who we are talking to. Empathetic communication and synergies are also vital - create synergies with all of our universe and work together in harmony with our partners. These are the the ingredients for a successful scale up. We are growing, with the potential to combine startup and scale-up to build a global force that makes a difference in the world.

The seventh and final habit is called “sharpening the saw”: We need to continually renew ourselves as individuals. Keep on top of things as individuals and make sure we are renewing ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally. As a startup, we need to remind ourselves of our purpose and how crucial it is that all of us are on this journey together. When we do this, we lay the foundations for a successful and sustainable start up.

As a start up, we need to progress across the maturity continuum, wielding these habits that move us from dependent to an independent and finally interdependent business. There is a reason this book impacted so many people for so long; we can achieve great things by combining these energies and having a clear vision on what we are doing from the outset.

Ultimately, with these habits in mind as individuals and a collective, we will succeed and continue to positively impact the lives of millions of people.”

As a company that inspires life, YuLife's Founder and CEO, Sammy Rubin, inspires YuLife's team every Monday Morning with a virtual kickoff filled to the brim with new insights and ideas. To find out more about YuLife, email us at

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.