One of my heroes passed away on Monday, July 16. Although I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Stephen Covey, he has been one of the 5 most influential people in my life via his writings and speaking.
To honor his life and legacy, here are 5 Keys To Success I’ve learned from Stephen Covey and have strived to apply to my life.
Personal Mission Statement. I was first introduced to the importance of “beginning with the end in mind” by developing a personal purpose statement in 1989 when I read Dr. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. (If you have not read this book yet, drop everything you are doing and purchase it NOW; it’s that outstanding!) I developed my personal mission statement that same year and have continued to tweak it over the years. What’s more, I read my mission statement regularly in order to stay true to what matters most to me. Clearly articulating who I am and what my life is about through a mission statement has been one of the greatest keys to success I practice.
Roles. When setting goals (another one of the keys to success that Dr. Covey was high on), most people slice their lives into “areas” or “categories.” Dr. Covey is the first person I heard speak about organizing our lives and goals around major “roles” we play instead of “areas” or “categories.” In my mind, the “roles” approach is a much more holistic way to think about my life and my goals. In fact, it’s a major ingredient to what I teach through the Live It Forward Goal-Getting System.
Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood. The ability to communicate is one of the most important keys to success in all relationships. Yet for many people, communication means speaking more than listening. And even if we think of ourselves as good listeners, usually our primary agenda is to get our point across more than to hear someone else’s point of view. Dr. Covey teaching on “empathic communication” has greatly impacted my life. This is still a major growth area for me (in other words, I’m still having to work on this principle significantly), but I’ve made huge strides because of what I learned from Dr. Covey.
Sharpen the Saw. I love Dr. Covey’s line: “Have you ever been too busy driving to take time to get gas?” Dr. Covey believed a major key to success was to build habits and routines in our lives that allowed us to grow mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Exercise. Reading. Spiritual disciplines. Rest. Investing in relationships that matter most. These are all keys to success in both our lives and career.
Put First Things First. Of all the keys to success I learned from Stephen Covey, none impacted my life more than his Big Rocks illustration. I am a very intentional, proactive individual, and these qualities stem from Dr. Covey’s teaching on putting the big rocks in our lives first!
Let’s honor the life of Dr. Stephen Covey by sharing the keys to success we learned from him. What keys to success did you learn from Dr. Covey?