139+ Best Stephen Covey Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Stephen Richards Covey was an American educator, author, businessman, and keynote speaker. He is credited for writing one of the most influential business books of twentieth century, titled “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. Inspirational Stephen Covey quotes will change your life by getting your thinking straight on character, teamwork, ethical leadership, management and success.

If you’re searching for life quotes and sayings that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of greatest Peter Drucker quotes, inspirational John C. Maxwell quotes, and empowering Oprah Winfrey quotes.

Most Famous Stephen Covey Quotes

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships. – Stephen Covey

Every human has four endowments – self-awareness, conscience, independent will and creative imagination. These give us the ultimate human freedom… The power to choose, to respond, to change. – Stephen Covey

To achieve goals you’ve never achieved before, you need to start doing things you’ve never done before. – Stephen Covey

I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions. – Stephen Covey

Live out of your imagination, not your history. – Stephen Covey

The amateur salesman sells products; the professional sells solutions to needs and problems. – Stephen Covey

What you do has far greater impact than what you say. – Stephen Covey

We immediately become more effective when we decide to change ourselves rather than asking things to change for us. – Stephen Covey

It doesn’t really matter how fast you’re going if you’re heading in the wrong direction. – Stephen Covey

Begin with the end in mind. – Stephen Covey

You can retire from a job, but don’t ever retire from making extremely meaningful contributions in life. – Stephen Covey

We must never be too busy to take time to sharpen the saw. – Stephen Covey

See every problem as an opportunity to exercise creative energy. – Stephen Covey

The problems in life come when we’re sowing one thing and expecting to reap something entirely different. – Stephen Covey

Be a light, not a judge, be a model not a critic. Little by little, your circle of influence will explode, and you will avoid the emotional metastasizing cancers of complaining, criticizing, competing, comparing and cynicism, all which reflect victimization, all of which are the opposite of being proactive. – Stephen Covey

It is possible to be busy-very busy-without being very effective. – Stephen Covey

Don’t get buried in the thick of thin things. – Stephen Covey

Seek first to understand, then to be understood. – Stephen Covey

You always reap what you sow; there is no shortcut. – Stephen Covey

Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant. – Stephen Covey

Look at the word responsibility-response-ability-the ability to choose your response. Highly proactive people recognize that responsibility. They do not blame circumstances, conditions, or conditioning for their behavior. Their behavior is a product of their own conscious choice, based on values, rather than a product of their conditions, based on feeling. – Stephen Covey

You can’t change the fruit without changing the root. – Stephen Covey

Improve relationships with others by assuming that they can hear everything you say about them – Stephen Covey

You can learn great things from your mistakes when you aren’t busy denying them. – Stephen Covey

When parents see their children’s problems as opportunities to build the relationship instead of as negative, burdensome irritations, it totally changes the nature of parent-child interaction. Parents become more willing, even excited, about deeply understanding and helping their children… This paradigm is powerful in business as well. – Stephen Covey

Prepare your mind and heart before you prepare your speech. What we say may be less important than how we say it. – Stephen Covey

I am personally convinced that one person can be a change catalyst, a ‘transformer’ in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader. – Stephen Covey

Beginners are many; finishers are few. – Stephen Covey

If you can hire people whose passion intersects with the job, they won’t require any supervision at all. They will manage themselves better than anyone could ever manage them. Their fire comes from within, not from without. Their motivation is internal, not external. – Stephen Covey

Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. – Stephen Covey

Make small commitments and keep them. Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be a part of the solution, not the problem. – Stephen Covey

Link yourself to your potential, not to your past. – Stephen Covey

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels. – Stephen Covey

Almost every significant breakthrough is the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking. – Stephen Covey

The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. – Stephen Covey

In the absence of wake-up calls, many of us never really confront the critical issues of life. – Stephen Covey

We must not let the actions or words of others determine our responses. Magnanimous people make the choice to respond to the indignities of others based upon their own principles and their own value system rather than their moods or anger. – Stephen Covey

We judge ourselves by our intentions. And others by their actions. – Stephen Covey

It’s better to be trusted than to be liked. – Stephen Covey

We are free to choose our actions, but we are not free to choose the consequences of these actions. – Stephen Covey

There are three constants in life… change, choice and principles. – Stephen Covey

When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen. – Stephen Covey

Live your life by a compass, not a clock. – Stephen Covey

Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important. – Stephen Covey

The reality is that everybody makes mistakes. The issue isn’t whether you will make them, it’s what you will do about them. It’s whether you will choose the path of humility and courage or the path of ego and pride. – Stephen Covey

Always treat your employees exactly as you want them to treat your best customers. – Stephen Covey

The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. – Stephen Covey

We see the world, not as it is, but as we are──or, as we are conditioned to see it. – Stephen Covey

Leadership is a choice, not a position – Stephen Covey

It’s not what people do to us that hurts us. In the most fundamental sense, it is our chosen response to what they do to us that hurts us. – Stephen Covey

Unless you’re continually improving your skills, you’re quickly becoming irrelevant. – Stephen Covey

Effective leadership is putting first things first. Effective management is discipline, carrying it out. – Stephen Covey

Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall. – Stephen Covey

A mission statement is not something you write overnight… But fundamentally, your mission statement becomes your constitution, the solid expression of your vision and values. It becomes the criterion by which you measure everything else in your life. – Stephen Covey

Synergy is better than my way or your way. It’s our way. – Stephen Covey

When you show deep empathy toward others, their defensive energy goes down, and positive energy replaces it. That’s when you can get more creative in solving problems. – Stephen Covey

If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting. – Stephen Covey

Synergy is what happens when one plus one equals ten or a hundred or even a thousand! It’s the profound result when two or more respectful human beings determine to go beyond their preconceived ideas to meet a great challenge. – Stephen Covey

There’s strong data that, within companies, the No. 1 reason for ethical violations is the pressure to meet expectations, sometimes unrealistic expectations. – Stephen Covey

Between stimulus and response, there is a space where we choose our response. – Stephen Covey

It’s a fact that more people watch television and get their information that way than read books. I find new technology and new ways of communication very exciting and would like to do more in this field. – Stephen Covey

How can you possibly reconcile the justice of God with the idea that only through Christ can you be saved? Most of the world lives and dies and never even hears of Christ. There has to be some mechanism set up for all those who have ever lived to have an opportunity to hear of Christ. – Stephen Covey

The more people rationalize cheating, the more it becomes a culture of dishonesty. And that can become a vicious, downward cycle. Because suddenly, if everyone else is cheating, you feel a need to cheat, too. – Stephen Covey

Listen with the intent to understand, not the intent to reply. – Stephen Covey

Both times I was in India, I could not get people to listen to each other. I had to literally tell people to listen to each other and tell them that they can’t get creative and find alternate solutions if they don’t listen to each other. There’s a lot of arguing and justifying. – Stephen Covey

People and organizations don’t grow much without delegation and completed staff work because they are confined to the capacities of the boss and reflect both personal strengths and weaknesses – Stephen Covey

There is a heavy emphasis in Mormonism on initiative, on responsibility, on a work ethic, and on education. If you take those elements together with a free-enterprise system, you’ve got the chemistry for a lot of industry. – Stephen Covey

Just as we develop our physical muscles through overcoming opposition – such as lifting weights – we develop our character muscles by overcoming challenges and adversity. – Stephen Covey

We are the creative force of our life, and through our own decisions rather than our conditions, if we carefully learn to do certain things, we can accomplish those goals. – Stephen Covey

It’s amazing how confused and distracted and misdirected so many people are. – Stephen Covey

The bottom line is, when people are crystal clear about the most important priorities of the organization and team they work with and prioritized their work around those top priorities, not only are they many times more productive, they discover they have the time they need to have a whole life. – Stephen Covey

The true identity theft is not financial. It’s not in cyberspace. It’s spiritual. It’s been taken. – Stephen Covey

When it comes to developing character strength, inner security and unique personal and interpersonal talents and skills in a child, no institution can or ever will compare with, or effectively substitute for, the home’s potential for positive influence. – Stephen Covey

If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. But if you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm. – Stephen Covey

Our character is basically a composite of our habits. Because they are consistent, often unconcious patterns, they constantly, daily, express our character. – Stephen Covey

I believe in this concept that you learn by teaching. – Stephen Covey

To learn something but not to do is really not to learn. To know something but not to do is really not to know. – Stephen Covey

Moral authority comes from following universal and timeless principles like honesty, integrity, treating people with respect. – Stephen Covey

The proactive approach to a mistake is to acknowledge it instantly, correct and learn from it. This literally turns a failure into a success. – Stephen Covey

My parents were just constantly affirming me in everything that I did. Late at night, I’d wake up and hear my mother talking over my bed, saying, ‘You’re going to do great on this test. You can do anything you want.’ – Stephen Covey

You can’t talk your way out of problems you behave yourself into. – Stephen Covey

It takes a great deal of character strength to apologize quickly out of one’s heart rather than out of pity. – Stephen Covey

When one side benefits more than the other, that’s a win-lose situation. To the winner it might look like success for a while, but in the long run, it breeds resentment and distrust. – Stephen Covey

Outsourcing is inevitable, and I don’t think it’s necessarily treating people like things. – Stephen Covey

Life is not accumulation, it is about contribution. – Stephen Covey

Remember, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience. – Stephen Covey

In school, many of us procrastinate and then successfully cram for tests. We get the grades and degrees we need to get the jobs we want, even if we fail to get a good general education. – Stephen Covey

Instead, I have an abundance mentality: When people are genuinely happy at the successes of others, the pie gets larger. – Stephen Covey

Studies have identified a significant ‘skills gap’ between what students are currently being taught and the skills employers are seeking in today’s global economy. Our children must be better prepared than they are now to meet the future challenges of our ever-changing world. – Stephen Covey

Stop setting goals. Goals are pure fantasy unless you have a specific plan to achieve them. – Stephen Covey

Every time you think the problem is ‘out there,’ that very thought is the problem. – Stephen Covey

You’re not a product of your nature. That is your genetic makeup or your nurture, the things that have happened to you. Of course, those things affect you powerfully, but they do not determine you. – Stephen Covey

Your most important work is always ahead of you, never behind you. – Stephen Covey

An empowered organization is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organisational success. – Stephen Covey

Employers and business leaders need people who can think for themselves – who can take initiative and be the solution to problems. – Stephen Covey

The roots of the problems we face in the world, in our national life, and in our family and personal lives are spiritual. – Stephen Covey

The deepest desire of the human spirit is to be acknowledged. – Stephen Covey

When we value correct principles, we have truth – a knowledge of things as they are. – Stephen Covey

I believe in Coach Louis Wong. He is so much more than just a football coach. – Stephen Covey

Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs. – Stephen Covey

I affirm to you the tremendous potential you have, not beyond anything you could ever imagine. – Stephen Covey

A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships. – Stephen Covey

Reactive people… are often affected by their physical environment. They find external sources to blame for their behavior. – Stephen Covey

Principles are guidelines for human conduct that are proven to have enduring, permanent value. – Stephen Covey

Trust is central to an economy that works. – Stephen Covey

Every time I see high-trust cultures, I see a lessening of adversarialism. – Stephen Covey

Most negotiators are trying to get their way. – Stephen Covey

The spirit of America has nurtured responsibility and community unlike any other country. – Stephen Covey

If you have a family mission statement that clarifies what your purpose is, then you use that as the criterion by which you make the decisions. – Stephen Covey

Want balance in your life? Then sure, get your own act together, but don’t forget four powerful disciplines of execution in your team and organization. – Stephen Covey

The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man. – Stephen Covey

Family home evening is more for the purpose of teaching values and gospel principles, displaying talents and enjoying different kinds of family fun and activities. – Stephen Covey

If there’s one thing that’s certain in business, it’s uncertainty. – Stephen Covey

Everyone must be proactive and do all they can to help themselves to stay employed. – Stephen Covey

But with the steady disintegration of the family in modern society over the last century, the role of the school in bridging the gap has become vital! – Stephen Covey

In the last analysis, what we are communicates far more eloquently than anything we say or do. – Stephen Covey

If you carefully consider what you want to be said of you in the funeral experience, you will find your definition of success. – Stephen Covey

The average family spends 30 hours in front of a television, and they say they don’t have the time to have a balanced, integrated life. – Stephen Covey

Despite all our gains in technology, product innovation and world markets, most people are not thriving in the organizations they work for. – Stephen Covey

One of the things that I have admired about India is the spiritualism of the people. – Stephen Covey

For me, the essence of the great American Dream is spiritual. I believe that our Constitution is inspired and that it is based on principles that are timeless and universal. This is the reason why 95% of all written constitutions throughout the world are modeled after our Constitution. – Stephen Covey

Light is the greatest disinfectant in nature and also in organizations. – Stephen Covey

The world has entered an era of the most profound and challenging change in human history. – Stephen Covey

We need to have business leaders who live by deep, strong principles. – Stephen Covey

The solutions to our problems are and always will be based upon universal, timeless, self-evident principles common to every enduring, prospering society throughout history. – Stephen Covey

Some habits of ineffectiveness are rooted in our social conditioning toward quick-fix, short-term thinking. – Stephen Covey

We are not animals. We are not a product of what has happened to us in our past. We have the power of choice. – Stephen Covey

Public behavior is merely private character writ large. – Stephen Covey

Most people are basically a victim of the circumstances of their life. They have things like 9/11, they have terrorism threats, they have new war threats, they have economy problems, and they think, ‘What can I do? I’m basically a victim.’ – Stephen Covey

When the external factors over which one has no control in a way start to become negative, it starts to affect our creative juices. – Stephen Covey

A little over 5% of the world’s population produces almost 29% of the world’s goods and services. – Stephen Covey

What air is to the body, to feel understood is to the heart. – Stephen Covey

Historically, the family has played the primary role in educating children for life, with the school providing supplemental scaffolding to the family. – Stephen Covey

In this knowledge-worker age, it’s now increasingly tied to doing well in school so you can get into better grad schools so you can get better jobs – so the pressure to do well is really high. – Stephen Covey

Listen, involve, synergize at work. Then you will bury the old and create an entirely new winning culture which will unleash people’s talents and create complementary teams where strengths are made productive and weakness are made irrelevant through the strengths of others. – Stephen Covey

Most learning is social, or what I call the cultural DNA. Everyone knows that word of mouth advertising is the best advertising. That’s social learning. – Stephen Covey

I believe that God is the source of all the universal, timeless principles. And to Him, I give all the credit and the glory. However, to a person who is not religious, I believe they can live to the highest level of their conscience and develop spiritual intelligence that surpasses most people, including many religious people, who profess but do not practice. – Stephen Covey

People are social beings and want interaction and social learning is the primary form of learning, just as word of mouth advertising is the highest form of advertising. – Stephen Covey

I keep my phone number unlisted and rely on my associates to handle all voice mail, e-mail, faxes. – Stephen Covey

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