How “the 7 Habits” Change Your Business with Austin Clark
“Where you sit today is the accumulation of all the decisions you’ve made in life. People are responsible for how they want to respond to stimulus.” – Austin Clark
I had the delight of speaking with Austin Clark, the owner of Moxie Pest Control, an Arizona-based company honored among the Inc. 5000 Companies in 2022. Since its founding in 2001, Moxie Pest Control has been raising the standard of service in the pest control industry with its mission to improve the quality of life for its customers, team, and community.
- How reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People impacted Austin’s life
- The power of interdependence, synergy, and group collaboration
- Sharpening the saw and the importance of self-care
How reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People impacted Austin’s life
When asked about a book that changed our life, most of us have at least one that comes to mind. We all know the feeling of reading something and experiencing a shift in our perception, our ideas.
Austin had that moment when he was around 18 years old, cracking open The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey for the first time.
“The difference between a good piece of work and a great piece of work is, one, that it's principle-based,” Austin says, “but two, that as you evolve as a human—or an organization, or a business, whatever it may be—the concepts that are taught or illustrated in whatever work it is, they continue to change and adapt and evolve with you.”
Austin put that belief into practice by revisiting The 7 Habits throughout his life and gleaning new lessons from the text as he matured and evolved.
One of the chief lessons he took away from the book was the power of proactivity. At its core, practicing proactivity means taking responsibility for our choices and where we’re at today. Our lives are the accumulation of our decisions and priorities.
“We as humans—unless we're trained, or put effort into that—we're very reactive, we're emotional. So the idea of being responsible, and that we can be proactive, and that we can choose because there's a gap between stimulus and response, is even less popular of an idea today than it was 20 years ago,” Austin shares.
As Stephen R. Covey so well recaps it:
“Between a stimulus and response, there is a space; in that space is the power to choose our response, and in our response lies growth and freedom.”*
Leveraging that way of thinking guides Austin to this day, and has led him to a fulfilling, proactive personal and professional life.
The power of interdependence, synergy, and group collaboration
In Austin’s company, Moxie Pest Control, The 7 Habits are woven into training, daily operations, and the general pathos of his team.
“Our purpose, our mission statement, is to improve the quality of life for our customers, team, and community,” he shares. “We take that seriously. We often say, at Moxie, bugs are what we do, bugs are our business, but people are what we're really about.”
At Moxie, the goal is to serve their internal customers—the employees—by providing the best tools possible in the shape of good training, so they feel equipped to provide world-class service.
When everyone is on the same page, synergy and collaboration flow like water. That doesn’t mean everyone must fall in line the exact same way. We all have strengths and weaknesses—leaning into individual strengths creates a more unified outcome than aiming for symmetry at all sides.
Consistency is not born of flaccid complacency but rather an intentional effort to learn the best way to build interdependence across a team.
Sharpening the saw and the importance of self-care
Our impact is only as big as our ability to take care of ourselves. The classic “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is classic for a reason. This sentiment works in tandem with Covey’s principle of “Sharpening the saw.”
A dull blade cannot perform its work to the same capacity that a well-maintained blade can. It will take longer, more effort, and lead to burn out.
When we take the time to care for ourselves, to find the activities that fill us up and sharpen us, we make deposits into our ability to complete the work we’re meant to do.
For me, that means learning and reading—always making time to explore new ideas and experiment.
Have you taken a proactive approach to your life? What fills your cup? How do you embrace interdependence in your work, if at all?
*Learn more about the origin of this quote at https://quoteinvestigator.com/2018/02/18/response/