Early in my career, I became obsessed with personal growth and building my career beyond the limits. I was determined to have no regrets in retirement, never to look back across my legacy, and feel that I had failed to accomplish every goal and objective in my life.
I began looking for that perfect book, that perfect mentor, something to help guide me along the way, coach me to be better each day, to stretch beyond my limits and be different from all those around me. What i found was “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey. What I didn’t realize was the tremendous power of the teaching of this great leader. Little did I realize the impact this would make on my life, my career growth, and how I not only set my goals and objectives, but also how that I coached and mentored those who worked with me to grow in their own careers and personal development.
Today I was saddened to hear that we lost Mr. Covey at the age of 79. He left us with not only this wonderful book which sold over 20 million copies in 30 countries, but many other books on leadership and management principles. While his book gave step by step details on how to live and practice the seven habits, simply reading them can give you insight to the simple steps to personal development. I want to share those 7 habits below for the readers:
Independence or Self-Mastery
- 1. Be Proactive
- 2. Begin with the End in Mind
- 3. Put First Things First
- 4. Think Win Win
- 5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
- 6. Synergize
- 7. Sharpen the Saw
Throughout my career, I have quoted this great man to peers, managers, subordinates and friends. I have read the Seven Habits more times than I can count. And every time I do, I learn something new each time. Some of the most memorable quotes are listed below:
- “Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out”
- “Live out your imagination, not your history”
- “Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall”
- “The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities”
- “Most of us spend too much time on what is URGENT and not enough time on what is IMPORTANT”
- “The way we see the problem is the problem”
- “Strength lies in DIFFERENCES not in SIMILARITIES”
- “…to learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know”
- “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant, and effective”
- “Two people can see the same thing, disagree, and yet both be right. It’s not logical, it’s psychological”
- “Happiness, like unhappiness, is a proactive choice”
- “People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them”
I owe the motivation to become a writer, a motivational leader, a mentor, a coach, and someone that others looked to for support to this great leader, Mr. Covey. His teachings and guidance helped shape so many aspects of my career, personal growth, and leadership principles.
I urge you, readers, to read the works of this great author and leader. While he has left us, one thing he always said in his teachings was that his desire was “..To Live, To Love, and to Leave a Legacy”.
Stephen, you have left a legacy. You will be missed.