Jim Stovall Remembers Dr. Stephen Covey

A Highly Effective Person
by Jim Stovall

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This morning, I was mourning the death and celebrating the life of Dr. Stephen Covey.  He will always be remembered for his groundbreaking book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  Other than possibly Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich!, Dr. Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has probably impacted more business and world leaders than any other book.

I was privileged to sit in his audience several times and even more privileged to work with him on the same stage.

When I wrote the sequel to The Ultimate Gift book and movie entitled The Ultimate Life, Dr. Covey provided me with an insightful endorsement saying, “I remember once trying to free a struggling butterfly from its cocoon by cutting the last remaining threads with a knife—all the time thinking I was helping it, unknowingly destroying any chance it had to fly.  This inspiring book clearly distinguishes between primary greatness (character and contribution) and secondary greatness (prestige, wealth, position, etc.)”

The Ultimate Life  is the story about a wealthy young man who has to learn the difference between values and valuables.  I wrote a book of nearly 200 pages to try to illustrate this principle, and in one quick quote, Dr. Covey captured the essence of the message.

Among personal development and success writers and speakers, there are a few thought leaders that occupy a place of prominence.  Among the giants in our industry, I heard Dr. Covey quoted more than virtually anyone else.  Instead of striving to introduce something his audience didn’t know, Dr. Covey sought to explain the importance of things we already know and need to implement.

Dr. Covey understood that results come not from what we read, hear, think about, or even understand.  Results come only from the things we do.

Many writers seek to make people more wealthy, more famous, or more powerful.  Dr. Covey helped us all define our own success, and then he helped us become more effective.  Being effective is a concept that not only impacts one individual but can change a whole corporation or community, and in Dr. Covey’s case, his effectiveness has and will continue to change the whole world.

When I look at people’s personal problems, organizational challenges, and the issues that face the entire globe, they can all be improved by remembering Dr. Covey’s simple admonition, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

As you go through your day today, define what really matters in your world, and follow the giant who taught us all to be more effective.

Today’s the day!




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