Stephen R. Covey Still Changing the World

Stephen R. CoveySimilar to many others, I was saddened to learn of the passing of Stephen R. Covey. He was an author, leadership authority, organizational consultant and co-founder of FranklinCovey, the multimillion-dollar business and leadership-consulting firm.

I have a deep gratitude for Covey’s life and work. His book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, published in 1989, helped me change my life. For me The Seven Habits was my field guide to reinvention. I read The Seven Habits all the way through several times, as a way to ensure the principles would permeate my Being.

I was like a sponge and The Seven Habits was the water I lived in. There was a time when I had the book memorized and I would share with friends what page specific quotes were on. Even though I don’t spend as much time with this book as I used to, the change it instilled continues to point me in the right direction. I believe the lasting change that I enjoy came from this book’s overarching message of success with Self first and then and only then success as a professional.

Private Victory leads to Public Victory That message spoke to me and I thought that if I harnessed the tools of Habits: 1 (Proactive), 2 (Begin with The End in Mind) and 3 (Put First Things First), then the success with Self meant that I could begin thinking about a promotion at work, being selected for special, “meaty assignments,” leadership team work and more. Covey demonstrated that it’s not about me it’s about WE. Ultimately I was growing and evolving myself to be of better service to the world—offering a contribution larger than Self.  That is exciting! Covey was right when he said, “You are your most valuable asset.” The other four Habits: Think Win/Win; Synergize; Seek First to Understand Then to be Understood; along with the principles in the book, are timeless and easy to understand. Implementation is another story that could be titled….Challenging.

As Covey said himself, “The habits and principles are common knowledge but not common practice.” We often know things intellectually; the snag seems to arise out of application or implementation. But if we go back to what Covey wrote: that building a foundation of character and integrity is not a quick fix nor is it easy but it is possible. We tend to feel uncomfortable out there at our edge, doing things differently and doing different things.  It helps us to be reminded that when we are uncomfortable we are growing. We are extending our reach and ourselves to ultimately serve others. Begin  Stephen R. Covey wrote, “Beginning with the Daily Private Victories and working from the inside out, results will follow for sure.”  We can find inspiration in that message and throughout the book.

I especially appreciate the message on page 319 where Stephen R. Covey writes A Personal Note. “I personally struggle with much of what I have shared in this book. But the struggle is worthwhile and fulfilling. It gives meaning to my life and enables me to love, to serve, and to try again.” Stephen R. Covey’s legacy of releasing human potential will undoubtedly live on. I, myself, pledge to continually examine and test my paradigms and listen to other perceptions in service of a larger more objective lens of which to view the World.  I hope you choose to join me too. We can all create an impact!

As a manager, reinvention helped me become stronger, more resourceful and more powerful. Subsequently, all the team members I worked with benefitted from my development. 

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