While teaching my first Skillshare class, I was in the middle of crediting Stephen Covey (one of my heroes) when someone in the class raised their hand. I called on them, and he said, “Did you know he just died?”
I freaked out, and immediately checked pulled up Google. It was true. The day before class, Stephen Covey had passed away at age 79, due to complications from a bike accident in Utah a few months prior.
We all stopped mid-class , which is unusual for me. Together, we all did a symbolic pause and toasted a great human being that had passed.
I’ve been re-reading Habit 2 from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change on the Kindle app on my iPhone. I like to do this whenever I’m on a New York subway (or an international equivalent). It helps me to pass the time, as well as learn and continue to be inspired by Covey’s teachings.
The greatest impact on my life from Stephen Covey’s writings (though there have been many) was this principle: “Begin with the End in Mind”.
Covey said to imagine yourself at your own funeral (we did this in class, just after the news, and it was powerful). There you are, at your funeral, lying in your casket. There are people around you, but you can still hear them. Like a ghost-fly on the wall, you can buzz around the room and hear what each person is saying.
Covey asked “What are they saying about you?”
The question then becomes… “What do you want them to say about you?”
Thus begins your journey. Always know where you’re going before you get there. You have to think about your internal road map, wholly based on your values, principles, the knowledge you have about your strengths, and your own imagined script.
Who do you want to be? Really think about it. Any one of us could be in that casket tomorrow and it’s never too late to think about how to make a change today that can impact your own life and the lives of others.
Begin with the end in mind.
Thank you, Stephen Covey, for touching my life and the lives of so many others. No doubt that as people are talking at your funeral, they are giving thanks. Your legend will live on for many years to come. Rest in peace.
Did Stephen Covey and/or his writings affect your life? Please share in the comments.