I’ve started to write this post several times since I received the news of Stephen R. Covey‘s death. I don’t handle death well for my intimates, how can I handle it for someone whom I’ve never met but who changed my life? I suppose I shall just go with my thoughts and feelings, top of mind.
Mr. Covey, you changed my life. I know it sounds trite, but the Seven Habits helped me to see that I have the power to determine my own future in accordance with my will and that of the Universe, rather than my culture or family of origin. Your ideas of the Emotional Bank Account, Seek First to Understand, and Be Proactive are things which I use everyday as mantras as I wind my way through the thickets of interpersonal relationships. I have your book The Eighth Habit and have not finished it, because I’m taking it slow and digesting it.
I remember when I first read your biography about your doctoral thesis, how you set about to discover how men lived and thought about success and personal accountability. I never knew that one could write such a relevant doctoral dissertation. I thought it had to be something untouchable, abstruse, not something so useful to everyday people. Further, your syntopical reading list intrigued me and I wandered around some of the books you mentioned reading, awed by your decision to study them and by what you gleaned from their wisdom.
I’ve taught your material, defended it from others of my generation who felt it ten years out of date and laughed at my usage of your jargon. I’ve worked for your company, even, over a decade ago and in another state. I’ve used the Franklin Planner since 1995 and watched as you and Mr. Smith battled it out for understanding as you merged the two philosophies of time and life management.
Mr. Covey, I never met you, but as I read of your bicycle accident and death I want to cry. I want to cry because it feels like I know you, like you are a mentor for me. I want to cry because the world has lost one of its luminaries today, one of those rare souls who touched the lives of those around them and made them better for it.
Requiescat in pace, Mr. Covey. Go with God.