By BRENNA GRITEMAN
Sean Covey grew up immersed in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” They just weren’t called that back then.
His father, Stephen Covey, wrote the widely popular book, originally published in 1989, after having spent decades living the principles outlined therein and testing them in various scenarios, as a college professor and as a business and organizational consultant. Outlining simple, timeless habits like “Be Proactive,” “Put First Things First” and “Sharpen the Saw” helped ensure over 25 million copies of the book would go on to be sold. And it assured his nine children grew up to be highly effective, principled, goal-oriented adults.
“He was always teaching us as kids, long before the book was written,” things like taking accountability, goal-setting and responsibility. “We kind of grew up with this,” Sean said.
Sean will visit Findlay this week as the featured speaker for the Findlay-Hancock County Public Library’s annual CommunityREAD program. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” is this year’s featured title, with the accompanying YouthREAD books “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens” and “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids,” both by Sean. Stephen Covey died in 2012.
A special 25th anniversary edition of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” was released in 2013. The teen edition was published in 1998, with “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids” being released in 2008. Sean said the followup books he authored both outline the same seven habits as the original, just for younger audiences.
Library director Jeffrey Winkle acknowledged this year’s CommunityREAD is “not our traditional book discussion group-type book” and said, in choosing the novel, the library sought to attract an audience of teachers and business professionals. He also noted that this year’s selection represents a partnership between the library; the workforce coalition Raising the Bar Hancock County; and city and county schools.
Further, educators throughout Hancock County either have read or are currently reading “The Leader in Me,” co-authored by Muriel Summers, who incorporated the seven habits into developing and implementing a leadership model for her school in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Summers visited a group of local educators last fall, and other schools in the county are currently becoming affiliated as “Leader in Me” schools.
Winkle said not as many copies of the CommunityREAD book have been loaned as in years past, adding, “so many people have read it” either in college or upon taking on a role as a new business manager.
“It’s one of those books that when you’re done, you feel better for having read it,” Winkle said.
Even though the book was originally published two decades ago, Sean said it remains relevant because it’s based on “powerful, timeless” principles like taking responsibility for your own moods and reactions despite external factors. And, as the world gets more chaotic, loud and collaborative, the interpersonal skills outlined in the book are needed now more than ever.
Based on surveys of more than 1 million readers, Sean said the “habit” people struggle with the most is Habit 3: Put First Things First. This habit deals with managing your time and prioritizing, and not confusing what’s most important with what seems the most urgent.
“We’re so urgency-addicted,” Sean said, citing the instant nature of our plugged-in society as an example. Still, if we take the time to focus on what’s really important, things like planning, goal-setting and building relationships, we won’t be bogged down by life’s crises.
This concept and much more will be outlined during Sean’s visit to Findlay, during which he’ll talk about the seven habits in relation to our lives, our families and our careers. He’ll also answer audience questions and show a few short videos to help reinforce the principles. He said attendees will come away with ideas of how to implement the habits and their principles in all aspects of their lives.
Sean Covey will speak at 7 p.m. March 16 at Marathon Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $8 apiece and are available at the MCPA ticket office, online at www.marathoncenterarts.org or at the door the night of the event.