Stephen Covey Began with the End in Mind

July 19, 2012 at 10:04 pm

While teaching my very first Skillshare class, I was in the middle of crediting one of my heroes, Stephen Covey, when someone in the class raised their hand and said “Did you know he just died?”

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 and did a symbolic pause and toasted a great human being, now passed.

On my Kindle app on my iPhone I’ve been re-reading Habit 2 from The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, which I pull up generally on a New York subway to pass the time, as well as learn and continue to be inspired by Covey’s teachings.

The greatest impact, though there have been many, from Stephen Covey, for me, was “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.  Like a 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?”

Thus begins your journey.  Always know where you’re going before you get there.  What’s your roadmap – based on your values, your principles, your knowledge of your strengths, and based on 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.  RIP.