The 9 ‘habits of highly effective’ immigrants!


One of the greatest challenges immigrants face in any country is a lack of direction and strategy to help them settle and excel in their respective professions.

Just like the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen Covey has inspired millions of individuals, groups and organizations globally in their pursuit of success, these habits can be very beneficial in the immigration context as well.  People who feel indecisive about what they want, what they need and how to achieve their goals can learn from these habits, adapt them and practise them in accordance to their needs.

For those unfamiliar, the seven habits are listed below and I can guarantee that immigrants can relate to them with ease and benefit from them.


Habit 1: “Be proactive”

You are responsible for your future and you will decide how to shape it. You cannot wait for things to happen, but instead have to create them to your benefit. Take control and proactively research on areas of your interest so that you are prepared.


Habit 2: “Begin with the end in mind”

“Where do you see yourself in the next five years?” is a very common phrase in interviews to determine your long-term goal, commitment and vision. If you don’t have your end in mind, create one for your new destination both at a professional and personal level.


Habit 3: “Put first things first”

Learn to prioritize your tasks. You have to plan and execute certain phases in accordance to the need of your project so that you achieve your outcomes effectively.


Habit 4: “Think win-win”

Respecting, valuing and accommodating the opinions of other people and aligning them according to your personal objectives is a very effective success model. Immigrants need to understand the feelings of others and develop mutual beneficial interventions especially as plenty of conflicts can arise from within and external factors in a new country.


Habit 5: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”

Most immigrants can become arrogant and ignorant when it comes to change as they find it difficult to leave their comfort zone. I feel this habit is important in understanding the culture, norms and work ethics of a new country and then presenting your skills within this context.


Habit 6: “Synergize”

Working towards your objectives in isolation can be very stressful as it generates lack of openness and inability to understand diverse perspectives. Sharing your passion, ideas and goals with family, friends and new groups through networking helps in constructive results.  “Two heads are better than one” and working cooperatively with others to achieve your goals in a new country can be a very effective habit.


Habit 7: “Sharpen the saw”

Continuous investment in yourself in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude is critical for immigrants in a new country. In today’s world you have to equip yourself with innovative tools and continuous professional and personal development. For example, you may have the technical knowledge but how to present or put your message across effectively may require improving your soft skills.


Habit 8: “Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs”

This habit is important for inspiring immigrants within the context of identity, ownership and pride in oneself. The key to success is in giving and sharing what you have achieved with those who are aspiring to find their way. Helping others find their path and their direction is a sign of greatness and motivation.


Another important habit for immigrants: resilience

Although not part of Covey’s legacy, perhaps the most significant habit for immigrants is resilience. It is vital that you remain positive emotionally and physically during this important change. Leaving a country and adapting to new laws, systems and culture can be very difficult and stressful for yourself and your family leading to depression, demotivation and low self-esteem.

You will have to build your resilience like any other soft skill and develop and acquire a strategy allowing you to bounce back with more zeal and motivation every time you fail or get misguided.

The fate of your success will depend on how well you plan, develop and execute these habits effectively. They say that old habits die hard and developing new ones for immigrants will be not easy unless they are injected with passion, persistence and positivity.


Source: Canadian Immigrant – Ahmed Nabeel Alvi – January 2016


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