Feasting on Commemorating Stephen Covey
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Today’s Training Table fare deviates from our current series, “In Christ…” Becoming What We Already Are” to commemorate the life of Stephen R. Covey.
Way back in the late-1900’s, early-2000’s I had the immeasurably huge opportunity to not only “cut my marketing agency and consultancy teeth” on Mr. Covey’s book, “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, but did so in close proximity to Mr. Covey as he rolled out his new book.
I attended numerous of his speaking engagements, conferences, and personal training seminars. I was trained as a “Seven Habits Trainer”, and I set out into the world of my concern and my influence to “preach the gospel of Seven Habits”!
I was so excited to present the “Seven Habits…” materials to my customer constituencies—and owing much to the patience-testing endurance of my family—I would take flip charts of my presentations on vacation to teach and get their feedback!
As I got to know Mr. Covey better, I would often approach him during breaks and following meetings to compare, discuss, and enjoy the overlap between his materials and the Bible. Unquestionably, I am a different person today, and deeply, deeply appreciative of the influence Stephen R. Covey had upon my life and innumerable other lives around the world.
As I perused all of the Covey content on my bookshelf, and what quote might best represent my offering of his impact on my life, “A Personal Note” from “Principled-Centered Leadership” came to mind. Please take some time to carefully read, and read between the lines, the following quote. It is rich… A feast of the heart for those of us seated at The Training Table, running the good race (1 Corinthians 9:26; 2 Timothy 4:7)!
“In a very real sense there is no such thing as organizational behavior. There is only individual behavior. Everything else flows out of that.
The main sticking point between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung dealt with conscience. Freud believed the conscience or superego was basically a social product. Young believed it primarily to be a part of the collective unconscious, transcending the mortal overlay of culture, race, religion, gender, or nationality.
I believe Jung was right and Freud was wrong. In working with thousands of organizations and individuals around the world in preparing mission or value statements—assuming four conditions are present namely, 1) enough people; 2) interacting freely; 3) well-informed about the realities of their situation; 4) feeling safe to express themselves without fear of censure, ridicule, or embarrassment—then the values or principles part of the mission statement all basically say the same thing, even though different words are used, regardless of nationality, culture, religion, or race.
Gandhi emphasized: ‘A person cannot do right in one department whilst attempting to do wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole.’ John Wesley’s mother taught her son, ‘Whatever weakens your reason, impairs the tenderness of your conscience, obscures your sense of God, takes off your relish for spiritual things, whatever increases the authority of the body over the mind, that thing is sin to you, however innocent it may seem in itself.’
Further, I believe God is the true name and source of the collective unconscious and is therefore the ultimate moral authority in the universe. The daily prayerful study of His revealed word is the single most important and powerful discipline in life because it points our lives, like a compass, to True North—our divine destiny.
It also sets us on a life of service and I fear, unless enough of us capture the spirit of the following conviction of George Bernard Shaw, that the social problems of today will overwhelm the economic machine and discombobulate all of society.
‘This is the true joy in life: Being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one.
‘Being a purposeful force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to make you happy.
‘I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as I live it is my privilege—my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
‘I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I love. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me; it is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.'” (Stephen R. Covey, A Personal Note, “Principled-Centered Leadership”, 1990)
Until we feast again, may God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit live deeply within you and through you to others as Creator-Sustainer, Rescuer-Redeemer, and Supernatural Heart-Changer… galore!