‘7 Habits’ author Stephen Covey dead at 79, My Inspiration For Why I Became An Author and Speaker

Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, died yesterday at age 79.

Those of you who’ve heard my story know that Dr. Covey was my #1 inspiration for becoming an author, speaker and coach.

The year was 1993. I was browsing through my church’s bookstore when – and I swear I am not making this up – something fell off the shelf and hit me on the side of the head.

I bent down to see what it was. A tape set (yes, this was in the days of CASSETTE TAPES) entitled “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”.

Hmm, I said to myself. Sounds interesting.  (I’d never heard of it before.)

I listened to it in my car… four times in a row.

By the time I got home, tears were streaming down my face.

Because I knew that I had been living “The 7 Habits of Highly IN-effective People”.

I made a decision then and there that I would somehow learn how to make a difference in the lives of others, and stop living such a selfish, self-centered life. That I would write a book someday. And maybe hope to influence others the way Dr. Covey had influenced me.

Fast forward to 1996. I was back in college studying Leadership and decided to write a paper on highly effective leadership principles. Wouldn’t it be amazing, I thought, if I could interview Dr. Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – the book that had started my journey on this path?

So I decided to take a chance and call his office. (This was before Franklin Planners had merged with Covey Leadership Center.)

I spoke with one of Dr. Covey’s assistants and told her about my paper. She said, “Can you hold please?” and a minute later got back on the line and said, “How is next Thursday for you?”

My jaw hit the floor.

And that’s how I got 20 uninterrupted minutes with Dr. Stephen Covey. I’ll never forget our interview. (Unfortunately, I didn’t make a recording; all that remains is my memory of that remarkable conversation.)

When I spoke with him, he was exactly what you would want Stephen Covey to be – humble, self-effacing, brilliant and forthright.

At the end of our interview, he said, “Thank you, Noah – I’m sorry I have to go now, but there are some TV people here waiting to talk to me.”

Here I am, this “no-name from Maine” talking with Dr. Stephen Covey… for all I know, it could be Diane Sawyer waiting in the other room… and he’s talking to ME???

It was an experience I’ll always treasure.

A few years later, I was again humbled and honored when Dr. Covey gave me a testimonial for my book The Secret Code of Success. He read my manuscript and wrote a personal endorsement that proudly appears on the back cover. For years, I had dreamed of having Dr. Stephen Covey endorse my work; for it to finally happen was a dream come true.

I’m truly saddened by the fact that I didn’t get to spend more time with this great man. I had been planning a trip to see him, but for some reason, “never got around to it”.

Let that be a lesson to all of us: If there’s someone on your “bucket list” who you want to spend time with, don’t delay. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t put it off.

Do it today.

Make that phone call.

Write that Thank-you note.

Reach out and touch someone you admire.

The world has lost a great man and a true hero.

Thank you, Dr. Covey for reminding us of what greatness really is.

PS. Drop me a comment below if something in today’s message resonated with you.

I believe in you!

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Noah St. John, Inventor of Afformations

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About Noah St. John

NOAH ST. JOHN is the founder of SuccessClinic.com, an international success training company. Noah helps people make money: Since 2009, Noah’s coaching clients have added more than $2 billion dollars in sales using his methods.

As the #1 bestselling author of 14 books published in 18 languages, Noah is the only author in history to have works published by HarperCollins, Hay House, Simon & Schuster, Mindvalley, Nightingale-Conant, and the Chicken Soup for the Soul publisher.

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