A Tribute to Stephen Covey

07/25/2012 04:27 pm ET | Updated Sep 24, 2012
  • Larry Benet CEO, Speakers and Authors Networking Group

The world has experienced a great loss with the passing of one of humanity's most legendary thought leaders of our time, Stephen Covey. In 2011, Time Magazine named his book one of the twenty-five Most Influential Business Management Books of all time. He was the author of one of the best-selling books in history, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which sold over 25 million copies and was translated into 38 different languages during his lifetime... and his legacy will go on for decades. I would like to share some of the thoughts and insights that I took away from attending his funeral.

Sharing the stage with Covey at the Thought Leader Summit at the Sundance Film Festival was one of the highlights of my career. What an honor. I will never forget it. I invite all of you to look again at how you might make greater use of Covey's 7 Habits, as a way of carrying on his legacy in your own life:

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

Some of my observations from attending the funeral of Stephen Covey are these:

There are many speakers who have amazing messages, but not many who always practice what they preach. Stephen Covey really lived his message, on stage and off.

The acorns didn't fall very far from the tree -- the Covey kids are amazing speakers and doing great work in the world.

Stephen Covey even had a family mission statement that he handed out on wristbands to his entire family.

Stephen never let his fame or fortune go to his head; he was very humble, and had a great sense of humor.

One of his children shared how he would break out in song, out-of-pitch, they added, singing, "I LOVE MY FAMILY!" He didn't care what others thought. What if we all did this?

One time in Ireland while on a train, en route to a speaking engagement, he laid down on the train in the middle of the aisle. Others around him thought he was a homeless man. Little did they know he was one of the world's most sought after business thought leaders.

When his brother was graduating college, he asked a young Stephen Covey what he wanted to do with his life. The answer: "Help others realize their HUMAN POTENTIAL!" Well, 65 years after he uttered that statement, Mr. Covey had done just that -- he had helped MILLIONS to realize their human potential.

Mr. Covey really valued family and faith, and he put those first in order of his priorities. He always joked that he wanted all nine of his children around him when he passed on, and as luck would have it, every one of his nine kids were with him at his bedside when he passed, and they all had a chance to speak with him when he briefly woke up from his coma.

Last but not least, Mr. Covey inspired others to be A LITTLE KINDER and a LITTLE BETTER.

A poster outside the funeral said:

Stephen Covey certainly left a legacy. I would love to hear your favorite Stephen Covey quotes or memories, as well as your ideas for how we can honor him at this SANG this year. Email me your ideas at larry at larrybenet dot com.

I think one of the best ways we can honor Mr. Covey is to remind our customers and our fans of his amazing body of work, to help drive them to the top of the BESTSELLER LISTS.

Mr. Covey's favorite song was "To Dream the Impossible Dream." No surprise. He dared to dream of helping millions, and he realized his dream.

Thank you Stephen Covey for inspiring me and so many others to dream the impossible dream, to become better leaders, and to reach our human potential.


Stephen Covey Being Welcomed to the SANG Stage by Larry Benet
Photo by Alannah Avelin

Cross-posted from SANG Newsletter.