Since they were penned and published in 1989 by Dr. Stephen Covey and his research team, I've always been a believer that the original 7 Habits of Highly Effective People formed a mighty respectable set of guiding principles, easy to grasp, tougher to live. They were called at the time, universal and timeless principles.

Do you remember the first? Habit #1 -- Be Proactive.

Last week a successful software company CEO, Founder and dear friend mentioned to me that he sure wished he'd been... yep, more proactive. He was justly proud of his successful vertical software outfit but realized after 13 years at the helm of his business, the timing and value of an exit were highly uncertain. His tech savvy sons weren't up for taking over the business after he put them through great schools, and they decided to follow their own calling. Certainly, he'd had some expressions of interest while building his business these many years, but had always dismissed the queries as wrong partner, wrong time, maybe next year after the new software version is released.

We fully expect he'll wind up doing just fine now that he is deciding to "be proactive" and prepare for his future as his 2012 year-end resolution--but the stress of not being proactive, watching the competitive landscape shift by unproven yet well-funded new entrants, reading about other lesser rivals inking M&A deals smack dab in his segment, has sure created a tad more anxiety than was really necessary.