Podcast 967: Live Life in Crescendo: Your Most Important Work Is Always Ahead of You (The Covey Habits Series) with Cynthia Covey Haller

Joining me for this podcast is a teacher, speaker and one of the authors of Live Life in Crescendo: Your Most Important Work Is Always Ahead of You (The Covey Habits Series) – Cynthia Covey Haller.

Cynthia has held multiple leadership positions in women’s organizations, served as a PTSA president, an organizer for refugee aid and food pantry volunteer, and she is currently working with her husband as a service volunteer helping with employment needs. She has also contributed to the writing of several books and articles, notably The 3rd Alternative by Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens and The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, both by Sean Covey.

Among these, the most special is the one she co-authored with her late father Stephen Covey, Live Life in Crescendo. This book happens to be the final book from the late legendary leadership expert which offers inspiration and optimism to live your best life.

If you’re interested and want to know more about Cynthia, you may click here to visit her profile.

I hope you enjoy my engaging interview with Cynthia Covey Haller. Thanks and happy listening!

THE BOOK

Live Life in Crescendo is Covey’s answer to these questions, outlining his vision for every age and stage of life. Taken from his personal mission statement, Covey urges all to “live life in crescendo,” continually growing in learning, influence, and contribution. In the same way that music builds on the previous notes, life too, builds on the past and unfolds in the future. This crescendo mentality urges you to use whatever you have—your time, talents, resources, gifts, passion, money, and influence—to enrich the lives of people around you, including your family, neighborhood, community, and the world.

THE AUTHOR

Cynthia Covey Haller is an author, teacher, speaker, and active participant in her community. She has contributed to the writing of several books and articles, notably, The 3rd Alternative by Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, and The 6 Most Important Decisions You’ll Ever Make, both by Sean Covey.

 

You may also refer to the transcripts below for the full transciption (not edited) of the interview.

Greg Voisen
Welcome back to Inside Personal Growth. This is Greg Voisen and the host of Inside Personal Growth. And we have a special guest joining us. And here's the book. And it's Cynthia Covey Haller h-a-l-l-e-r, she is the daughter of Steven Covey. And there is a new book that we're going to be speaking about, called Live Life in Crescendo: Your Most Important Work is Always Ahead of you. Good day to you, Cynthia, how are you doing? They're Utah. Really great. Nice to see you. I look forward to being on your show. Well, I'm looking forward to having you and talking about this book, because this is a book that everybody should read. This is a book that will inspire and get people to live their life and crescendo, which we're going to be talking about it but we're also going to be talking about what it's like to live life that way. And really like your dad did, you know, it was it was really just part of his DNA. And I think most of the people that knew him and listened to him speak or saw him in person, or whatever, they really recognize that that's the way he lived his life all the way to the end. And so you guys are encouraging both of you, you are writing this together, and is passing occurred kind of in the middle of this and you finish this book up, right? Yes, that's how it happened. We I actually came to him. I don't know several years ago and said, foolishly asked, hey, Dad, you're gonna write anything as good as seven habits. Anything is impactful? Or, you know, have you got anything else coming out? And not meaning to that? This question insulted him. He said, my one and done seven habits all that I have. I've got lots of ideas in my head. In fact, for you saying that you can help me.

Cynthia Covey Haller
It is his personal mission statement the last 10 years of his life live life in crescendo. He said, my most important work still ahead, you know, I want you to help get this book out by interviewing me and writing the stories and creating it. And then we still have important hopefully, I still have a lot more to share with readers and audiences will you do and I'm going to say a little bit about your dad, most of my listeners know your father.

Greg Voisen
But Stephen R, Covey spent his career inspiring millions to make their lives more effective, compassionate and meaningful. Near the end of his life, he felt that there was a final component to his work, how to live your best life, no matter your age. And I think that really kind of sums this buck up. So live life and crescendo is about that. Cynthia, though, on the other hand, is an author, a teacher and a speaker. And she's contributed to several books, including The Seven Habits of Highly Effective teens, the six most important decision job remake, and the third alternative, so it's not like she is a mystery writer. she's there. She's been involved in many of these books. I just wanted my listeners to know that. And, you know, this book in particular, has, it's so rich with stories, all the stories that you guys have included, are phenomenal. And in the preface of the book, you state that your dad taught you the best way to predict your future was to create it. How has your father's Carpe Diem philosophy about life influenced your decision about how you Cynthia live your life?

Cynthia Covey Haller
Well, Greg, I had to live a crescendo just to finish the book. It's taken me 10 years his passing was 10 years ago. And my we, he was excited about it. He felt like that he really wanted to get out the crescendo mentality, which I can speak about later. But he also always taught us that if you want your to create your you know, if you want to predict your future and have a great future, you have to create it yourself. You have to take responsibility, and ownership of that. And you can see that thread throughout all of his other books. And this last one is no exception, that he's teaching that you have a choice to live the crescendo mentality delivering crescendo or the opposite is to live in diminuendo, and this is a musical symbol that he used. crescendo is you know, begins with one point and then stretches out in opposite ways and grows larger. In music. A crescendo grows in volume lower and in strength. The same way that your life should keep being in crescendo keep learning and grow. owing and contributing throughout your life every agent stage where the opposite living in in diminuendo the sign of a diminuendo. It starts out wide and then it comes to a point and it slows down and it lessens and it eventually ends, it stops. And so this book talks a lot about your choices to decide to live in crescendo or diminuendo. And he teaches that it is a conscious choice that you can, you can predict your future by creating it through your choices and taking responsibility for your life. Well, I

Greg Voisen
think the thing about crescendo when you use this as an example versus diminuendo, when you watch any good orchestra leader, take a group of 60 or 70 people in an orchestra, up to a crescendo of the music, you see that the height thinning of a piece, whatever the piece may be that they're playing. And in this case, it's each one of our individuals crescendos, which I think is so important. And you know, many people probably know some of your family story, but you were the oldest of nine children. And I'm not certain everybody knows that. And the family was a top priority for your father. And he really did try to treat all of you equally. And I think this is a great example. And you tell this great story about attending a conference, or he was attending a conference in San Diego and he said, hey, Cynthia, why don't you come along with me? I remember reading that. And so we could ride the cable cars and do the kinds of things that you wanted to do. And your father as actions. Really, when he was at this conference, there's a story I'm gonna let you tell, really exemplified the importance of treating everybody equally and most importantly, you because, you know, he was like a main speaker at this conference in everybody wanted to talk to him, tell the story and tell what happened. And how did it make you feel?

Cynthia Covey Haller
Well, as you said, Greg, I am the oldest of nine, I'm now affectionately known as the mother hand of the group. My parents are both passed. And so I, you know, taking that responsibility of making sure everyone's doing okay, in my family, we have a real close together. And we did have a great childhood. My parents weren't perfect, but more than anything, they tried to live, what they taught, and believed. And so this particular story actually really stands out in my childhood. In many ways. My father decided he was going to this conference, it's actually in San Francisco. And he was, so he invited me as a 12 year old to go with him. And so you can imagine the excitement that I had, and part of the fun was planning it a whole month or two ahead, we talked about all the things we're going to do, right, the famous cable cars that sounded so magical to a 12 year old, we're going to go shop at some of the really fancy stores in San Francisco. For some school clothes, we're going over to Chinatown, we both love Chinese food. So we're gonna go get some authentic Chinese food. And we take a taxi back to the hotel and have a quick swim before the pool closed, and then order a hot fudge sundae while we watch the Late Show. And so we had it all planned, we've gone over it and rehearsed it in our minds. And I was so excited. And the plan was for me to meet after his presentation. So I was at the back of the room, waiting the last 1520 minutes when he was speaking. And as he as he finished, he started made his way back toward me. And on the way he was greeted by one of his best friends in college that he had always talked about, and someone that he hadn't seen for a long time. They were excited to see each other and embraced. And I heard him say I heard the friend say, hey, my wife and I would love to get with you tonight. We could go out to dinner, eat on the wharf and have a great time. And he, he said, explained that I was there with him. And he said, oh, of course your daughter's welcome to join us. And I thought, oh no, I felt betrayed. I thought my Chinese food I didn't, I hated seeing food. We had plenty Chinese food. I didn't want to spend the time with a couple of old people, his friends. So I could see my cable car going down the hill without me and I was I felt bad. And but I heard my dad say, as nicely as possible. That's so nice of you, Bill to invite us to do that. But I'd love to do that. But not tonight. I've got a special day all planned with my daughter, and we wouldn't miss it for anything. And so we were out the door before his friend knew I happened and on our way and I said well gosh, daddy is sure you know you wouldn't be I mean, he's one of your best friends when you want to spend time with him. And he said Horse not you'd rather have Chinese food anyway, would you? Let's go get that cable car, you know. So anyway, it just it just communicates to me my worth and potential to him, as one of nine children taught me first things first taught me that relationships are more important. Your most important relationships are valuable and to him and it created a bond of trust and, and love that I think was the foundation for our relationship. It meant so much to me. And it does now as I look back, this seemingly one incident that taught me so much about relationships and choices and priorities?

Greg Voisen
Well, I think it teaches a lot about leadership and character. I mean, as an individual, you know, when you're a father or a mother of a family, you're a leader as well, right. And when you exemplify your character, which is around trust, and I think the biggest thing that could have happened there is he easily could have broken your trust. And you know, that one, I mean, your brother wrote a book on trust, which I actually interviewed Greg link for, believe it or not, and, you know, trust is such an important thing. And if you would, you know, talk about how living life in crescendo to get to these things to actually go out and do what I would say, exemplary things, for whoever this is listening to kind of stretch themselves to push to that crescendo to do things in their life that they may never think about doing. And the important element there is to, to really have that inspiration to do it. And your dad was so inspiring, you know, and I'm so glad that he did not break your trust. Because that would not have gone over well with you. But also, it just shows you inside the love and compassion they had, which is another thing. You know, when you look at the things like love and compassion and trust and these kinds of things, it's so important. Can you speak with the listeners about what your father called the current shindow mentality? You both worked before his passing on this book. And you made a conscious decision to keep the book in his voice. And you really can tell that when you read this book about the stories and everything, you state that this book represents what your family considers his final contribution. And last lecture, what do you believe he wanted people to know what are these crescendo mentalities?

Cynthia Covey Haller
This was his, we realize now after his pass, he because he always had the subtitle of the book is your most important work is always ahead of you. He believed that he had in his mind and got up every day with the idea that I have more to create, and more to learn and more to share. And that's something that each of us can apply in our own lives. But the crescendo mentality has got to be a conscious choice that we make through life's ups and downs and setbacks and different ages and stages of life. And just to illustrate this, one of my favorite books, one of my favorite examples in this in this book really is about a man named Ray Hinton, and Ray Hinton. Ray Hinton was just a normal guy going about his life at work, when, at the same time, two people were murdered 15 miles away from him. Somehow, he got convicted of this horrible murder and crime he basically got framed, because they couldn't find who did it. And he was a convenient person to frame and he trusted in a legal system. It failed them and the next thing he knew he was this is an Alabama and he found himself on death row. So he is has a choice right now he's, he's miserable. He can't believe that he has been convicted of wrongly convicted of two murders, and he is despairing and despondent. He comes into the jail cell, he throws his Bible under his bed, and decides I'm done. He shuts down. He doesn't speak to his fellow cellmates next to him to the guards to anyone besides family and friends, during their visits for three long, miserable years. He's basically living in diminuendo, not communicating shut down full of despair. His life is going nowhere and he's on death row. He doesn't know what to do. And so he at two in the morning, one night, here's a fellow cellmate next to him who is sobbing and crying out for somebody to help him. He's in such pain and needs and just begging someone to talk to him. And something awakens and RE is His goodness, His character that he's always had. This compassion awakens in him. And all of a sudden he realizes, I can't choose being here on death row, hate and despair or choice, but so is love and compassion. And he chooses to break his three years of silence and speaks to this man and ends up talking to him the entire night. He just found out that the prisoner just found out that his mother had just passed away. And he was so discouraged and despondent about that, that Ray listened to him tell stories about his mother, and it got him laughing and talking through the night about what a wonderful person she was. He decided from that day, that, as I said, I can't choose if I'm on death row, but I have other choices. And I'm going to exercise those. And so he began, he became a light and a beacon for the next 28 years, to all the people around him, even the guards and people his fellow cellmates, and those who was in contact with, he was able to start a book club with his fellow prisoners, to help transport them out of their dreary circumstances and to talk about ideas. And he even though it was so close to where they executed people, he exercised all those choices that he had to be a kind decent person and to give hope and light to those around him. He finally was able to get the

Cynthia Covey Haller
legal help of Bryan Stevenson, who works for Equal Justice Initiative, he started this, you may have heard of justice, mercy for movies, and his powerful work and helping people that are unjustly imprisoned. And so anyway, after it literally took almost 30 years, and Bryan Stevenson finally got him released by going before the Supreme Court of the United States, where they found Yes, he was unjustly imprisoned, and he was released. And so he comes out of jail after almost 30 years, and says to his family and friends, the sun does shine. And this was the title of a book that he wrote four years later became a New York best time selling book. And he basically tells about his journey, is describing living in Diminuendo and then choosing delivering crescendo, exercising the few options and the choices that he had to enlighten and help other people. And now he works with Brian trying to as an advocate, and as a speaker, as an author, his circle of influence, which was very small, has now spread all over the world, all through the United States. And he helps those people who have obviously been imprisoned. And so this is just an example of the crescendo mentality, the power that it has in your life, if applied, if you're able to act on those to realize I do have some choices, I may not be able to choose all my circumstances, but I can definitely choose how to respond to what's happened to me.

Greg Voisen
Well, it's, that's a great story and a great example of somebody who was wrongly convicted, but then turned their life around and used it for good. And I think what happens is one of the main things that comes out of that for me, and hopefully for the listeners is if you can expand your reach to help other people more than just helping yourself because what he did that one night, when the sale cellmate was sobbing, was he woke up he awakened to reach out and help a fellow one person in this case, now he's helping hundreds of people kind of get justice for themselves in this book has spread like wildfire, I'm sure. And I think it's important to note that when you have something outside yourself, that you're working toward, whether it's like my cars, the homeless are your cause, or anybody's cause that keeps you inspired to do crescendo work. Life in crescendo is divided into four stages, and you'd speak to listeners about the stages and the key principles that guide them through each of the stages if you would, because it the book is very carefully crafted. I really enjoyed that. And we know what the crescendo mentality is because you just explained it with that story. You know, that's probably the best way you could have done it. But talk about these four stages if you would.

Cynthia Covey Haller
Yeah, there's well it really is something that you can apply through all through your entire life. It originally began with my I think with my dad, thinking people kept asking him So Steven, you're 20 you're 65 you're about ready to hang it up for you gonna still keep speaking and writing. Are you going to take time to relax? What's your plan? And he thought to himself, you know what, I'm, I'm not finished. I still have passion for my work. I still feel like there's a need he'd feel a desire to get some of these ideas out. And so there's different ages and stages. And the first one is, is the midlife stage. And you mentioned we talked a little bit about midlife how sometimes people wonder during this stage, okay, I'm 45, I'm 50 years old, I'm not where I thought I would be. At this stage, I thought I would be further down the road, I thought I'd be more successful. Right. And the example I gave one of them in there is George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life. Yeah. You know, I

Greg Voisen
have a question about that. In our thing. Yeah, that's

Cynthia Covey Haller
right. Do you want me to go into

Greg Voisen
that we know you also tell a story about a friend of yours whose father divorced her mother and married the secretary. And you know, the grass is always greener kind of thing. And I could, I could tell through the words that that really impacted you. That might be a great story. And then we'll go on to the Bailey's story, because everybody knows about George Bailey and his attempt to commit suicide and the angels and so on. But yeah, tell that one because I think it was really good.

Cynthia Covey Haller
Well, this is just a story of a friend that who tells he tells looking back later about how his father pretty much plummeted them into living in diminuendo until they were able to get control of it. But he left his wife and his marriage and his family. For some, you know, the old young secretary. And we've moved away, started a new life and divorced and his family is devastated left to pick up the pieces. And so I was talking to him, he just said how much it impacted him and his mother and his siblings. And yet, while I'm speaking to him, he's he, he totally took control of his life, he didn't choose to Father is following his father's footsteps he has created he now has four or five children as create a totally different family culture for them becoming a transition person, in that he didn't let that totally destroy him, although it was so hard for him while he was growing up. But when he had the opportunity to be faithful to his wife, and to have this family and to create this, he chose, he chose to do that instead of repeating the past, which is a lot of times what people will do. So in the middle life stage, we talk about two different things. One, that you may be more successful than you think you are. Success, as it's defined out in society is different than what true success is. And the George Bailey example is, is evidence of that Georgia actually was very successful, not as the world is, as defines it. But it was successful in that what you're doing, Greg, he cared about others, he, he expanded his circle of influence and blessed other people in that small town, so that they could have a decent house that was a friend to all and help contribute in that way. And so that's the first perspective that, you know, true success actually is being true to your most important roles. That's what my father was to me when that San Francisco story, who was true in his most important roles, which was that time of being a father, other people are true, important roles to them. I use another example in the book about a man who's a who's a doctor who was single and went over to third world country in Africa and was able to be the doctor for 1000s of people the closest one connection to any medical health anywhere. And he had no you know, he that was his family. That was his most important role. And then the second, the second point of perspective of midlife, is that if there are things in your life that need changing, if you do have a dead end job, if you're in a don't have a relationship with your teenage child, if you're feeling like you are failing, take responsibility and act, you have the power to change to change that by doing what you can to increase your circle of influence, and make good choices so that pretty soon your life is expanding instead of diminishing. So that's just kind of one example of live of a midlife

Greg Voisen
story. So what's the next stage their

Cynthia Covey Haller
next stage? Yeah, is pinnacle of success. And everyone may not rich that but that is that is somebody who, who is very successful in their life, such as, think of Jimmy Carter, he was president the United States, you think Well, that's the highest, you know, that's a high position. That's a great career to have, that you're the president but he didn't get reelected. He didn't have that second term. And so what does he do now? Does he just go back to Georgia and build his library like they all do? And, and just kind of relax and give speaking tours, knowing Jimmy Carter and what he's done ever since he is he was not known as our most prolific president, but he is our best post President United States has ever had. You came back within a year of losing the presidency for the second time, he started the Carter Center for peace. He's involved with Habitat for Humanity. He and Rosalyn are the face of Habitat for Humanity across the whole world. So his literally quite literally his most important work was still ahead of him, which was this humanitarian work.

Greg Voisen
I agree. I agree with you. Yeah. And so what's the next stage after that?

Cynthia Covey Haller
Okay, so just to summarize that last one, if you are successful, what are you going to do now? What do you choose to do? You're going to just rest on your laurels and do nothing else or what else is ahead of you? Then the next stage is live set changing setbacks. That would be something like a Nelson Mandela, that, you know, he's imprisoned for 28 years and comes out at 71. Can you imagine being released at 71 years old and thinking, you know, you think to yourself, I guess his life is over liquid. You know, he's 71 years old, and he's out. He's finally out of prison. And yet, his life was also just expanding his most important work was definitely ahead of him. Four years later, he's the President of South Africa, with de Klerk, who was the president before him as his vice president. He is dismantling apartheid. He's making enormous contributions all across the world that have affected everyone, especially South Africa. And so life changing setbacks, think of things that somebody gets cancer, someone gets divorced, someone's parent or child dies. Someone is kidnapped like Elizabeth smart. What do you what are your choices? What are you going to do? Are you going to choose to live in crescendo or to live in diminuendo. And I've got lots of stories about people that choose, despite their circumstances and their setbacks to expand and live in crescendo. And then the last that's

Greg Voisen
what you find a lot of time in adversity, because that's Was that was that what this is about? You know, something, somebody has something adverse happened to them. And if their consciousness their spiritual awakening is big enough, they try and do something good with that negativity, in other words, turn that negativity into something positive, I help the world with it. And that is living life in crescendo. Most definitely

Cynthia Covey Haller
that Michael J. Fox did just that. You know, he diagnosed with Parkinson's when he's a young actor, and he's at the height of his career. And yet, he's told he has Parkinson's disease, and it will eventually, you know, become more and more a factor in his life. He says at first he, he shut down, he drank, he didn't accept it. He was in denial. And he realized that didn't help him. And so he was starting to live in diminuendo. And then he decided, he said, I decide I found out that I have many choices. The only choice I didn't have is whether or not I had this disease. Everything else was up to me. And if I chose to educate myself about it, in eating and exercise and what I could do, I felt better and had more control of it. So little by little he exercises these choices. And you can see his impact throughout the world for Parkinson's. He one time testified before Congress is subcommittee hearing, without his medication, to show them what the effects were physically on his body and his language and his and everything in his speech. Because not being able to take that medication, trying to convince them to be able to pay for medication for people that couldn't afford it. And he was brave enough to do that. And then, you know, just through the years, his most people would say, his most important role was really not as an actor, but as this advocate for Parkinson's.

Greg Voisen
Yes, it's so true. I mean, I remember seeing him as you were saying that I remember seeing that testimony. So and he was shaking and having a tough time speaking and it was really quite something. Now, what's that fourth stage?

Cynthia Covey Haller
fourth stage is what I was talking about with my father. The fourth stage is the second half of life. You're getting older, maybe you are approaching retirement or not working anymore. He talks about a false dichotomy that you either choose between keep working or retire. He said the third alternative is to keep contributing. So you may still you still may work in a job and a career and you may have passion for it and still have a lot to produce. And you should keep doing that. But if you do choose to retire and step away from your career, what are you going to contribute? Now, instead of thinking I talk about people who are advised to go to Florida and relax and not do anything and talking about your stress versus de stress, but your stress you need in your body, you need to have some, some feelings of I need to get up in the morning I need to produce, I need to have some meaning in my life to keep you vital. And so this last stage talks about, you may retire from a job or career, but never retire from making meaningful contributions to others around you, beginning with your own family, and then spreading into your neighborhood and your community. Kind of what you're doing. Greg, I really admire your work. That's, you know, my father talks about life is a mission, not a career. And you're an example of that. Well, thank you. You're using this podcast, your job and having some speakers to create interest for listeners, but you are contributing to our problem with homeless homelessness.

Greg Voisen
Yeah, and it's such a big factor. And you know, those were, all those stages are so important. But you know, we talked about this, you talked about a little bit earlier, that chapter life is a mission, not a career, just like what you just said, and you referenced that movie. It's a Wonderful Life with George and coming to a point of desperation that he wanted to commit suicide and jump off the bridge. You if you would speak with the listeners, we spoke a little bit about this midlife crisis. And this is, you know, one of those things that despair that the gentleman who was wrongly convicted for three years in the prison. Now you're, you know, we're correlating that kind of like, George, he was in despair, because all that money had gone away, right. And he thought he'd lost all the towns. What do you want to call it trust again? What can you do to shift the mindset and the attitudes to live a life and crescendo? I think that's the most important point of that question. Whether we use George or we used the guy in prison, or we use to anybody, it's really about what is it that I can these listeners out there that are listening today can do to shift this mindset and our attitudes and our beliefs about the position we're in so that we can get out of the Diminuendo and get into crescendo?

Cynthia Covey Haller
Right? That's a great question. I think a lot of it has to do with service and contribution Gregg. Pablo Picasso, once said, the meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away. I talk we talk in this book a lot about everybody finding their individual mission, that life is a mission, not a career. And my father like to quote Viktor Frankl who said that you don't invent your missions, you detect them. You detect them through analyzing thinking deeply about your own unique skills and talents. What are you good at? What can you share with others? Where do you see a need around you? Where you see, maybe you've got a daughter who's just going through an awful divorce, it's really hard and you see grandkids that are, are having a difficult time? What can you do to expand not only your, your circle of influence, but also hers when reaching out through service. And so service and contribution are huge throughout this book, because it causes people as they start to live outside themselves, kind of what you're doing with your with your mission, that it blesses other people and they find it also blesses themself. As they take responsibility for themselves. It also blesses others. I'm thinking of a man that I wrote about in the book, who is a junior high teacher, everyone knows what it's like to teach junior high or what Junior High ages kind of like, but this man was a brainless starch was so beloved, because he individually cared about each person that he met, he knew their name, he had a great relationship with them. And he taught science. And he knew that if he could just create a spark and the kids to look past the rules and the tough stuff in science, that they would love it that they would be excited about it. And so he took that on by doing fun things like they have experiments where they could blow things up in their in the lab that he had the end of the year that they would shoot off these bottle rockets and give prizes to those that went the furthest. So we had all these fun things to engage the kids in in his in his career trying to get them excited about Science? Well, he's in a middle life stage. And when struggling, like you're saying about how do I choose to keep living this, he doesn't feel like I don't know if they really I'm making I'm making a difference in these kids life, I don't know if I'm making an impact or not. Well, unbeknownst to him, there's a committee that has nominated him for an Educator Award, which he eventually wins. And he does this because these, these people on the committee found students that had gone on, and because of Brian was starch and his influence in their life and caring about them and opening up a science to them and excited way that because of that, they went into careers. And they find some of these people that have become engineers, and doctors and scientific backgrounds who come back to tell him, you were the spark, you were the reason that I went into this. And he had kind of like, lost a little sight of it, and was even thinking of going into something else, when all of a sudden he won this award, and it kind of renewed in him. This is my meaning and my purpose. Life is a mission. And besides teaching science, and building these young kids, and inspiring them with that, and then he later found out that many of them chose similar careers, because of what he had done. And so his life expands as well, as well, there's,

Greg Voisen
well, I think it's just like writing this book. Right? You know, you said 10 years. Yeah. Additional you spent on this, you know, this is a message that in this is a contribution. Know, people who write books are contributing based on their stories based on their experiences based on their research about what their perception of the world is. And I think, when we take time, and we're continual learners, we're always curious about, what are these perspectives? What are these things that could help change something? What could I invent? What might I be able to do that could help other people. And you know, in your chapter, people are more important than things you tell a really good story about this contractor chip that worked on the building where your parents cabin was in Montana. And I loved this story, because my brother had a house in Whitefish, Montana, that we used to go to all the time. And there was always something going wrong with it, because of the weather conditions and things. You know, it just gets extremely cold, the pipes, the issues, whatever. Can you tell the story and the lesson, that contribution brings light to the eye and meaning to the soul? Because this, this gentleman in particular, really exemplified how your father treated people. Right. And I think it was so important. I think if there's any one thing in the book, make sure you get this book, read this story, because it's just such a great story. Well, yeah, I

Cynthia Covey Haller
think so too. And we didn't know about this until both my mother and father had passed away involve both of them. And so chip was a builder up in Montana. And we needed to speak to my parents about some issues with the cabin and really needed them important planning meeting, it was the middle of winter. And they live in, in Provo, Utah, which is about 600 miles away from where they were going. So they drove on kind of some icy roads and up there to meet with him. And the whole purpose was to, to figure out to some different some major questions he had about their cabin. And so in the meantime, this chap had just been going through a really awful divorce and was devastated and his life was upside down. And they had heard that, but they hadn't spoken with him. So when they got to the restaurant, they were supposed to just meet for a couple hours. And then they'd go back to their hotel. My father had to travel out first thing in the morning to get home to fly out that day. So they just had a couple precious hours. And so they met over dinner to discuss the cabin. And as they started, my mom said to chip, you know, we understand you're going through a really hard time right now and just wanted to see how you're doing. And he dismissed it and said, Oh, I'm fine. I, you know, it's okay. I was just a divorce. And I, let's just talk about your cabin. Well, two other times, my parents interrupted him and said, ship, what you're going through right now and the hard time that you're facing, he said is more important to us than building our cabin right now. Let's just talk about you and how we can help you. And Chip said he told us in an email after they passed away. Needless to say, I broke down and cried and told them what I was going through. And it was the darkest time of my life. And they cared about me instead of just thinking of their cabin, that we discussed it for the entire couple hours that we had. He said I was so embarrassed that they'd come this far in the in the cold and the end and then that icy roads and just talked about that. But they communicated to me that my worth and potential was much more important to them than building their cabinet at that point. And that was such a great lesson that we read that in the funeral. That story and then that he also went after my father had passed away. This happened after my mother passed away, he sent this. And after my father passed away, we went up to the cabin, and it was full of bats. As you say you that you have to deal with all sorts of things in a cabin, up in Montana, well, there it would have been taken over by bats. And we were devastated. Our father just died a year a week earlier. And there we were, and we didn't know he always took care of these things. And so we call chip, he came over immediately, he cleaned up, he brought a crew, he didn't take any compensation. For his work. He said, it’s my chance to pay back what your parents did for me the darkest time of my life.

Greg Voisen
It's just the story, again, is a good story. But more importantly, about people are more important than things. Yeah. Where are your priorities? And I think that's a part of this is where people's priorities Where are you going to actually take your actions and your steps? And it doesn't matter what age you are, whether you're 40? Or you're 80? Well, how are you going to live life in crescendo? And you know, you have a great story about your father in this book. I didn't know this. And I'm sure there's a lot that's going to be revealed to people that didn't know in this book. One was at that was so sweet. But how he lacked these mechanical abilities, and he used to call John newness, newness? Who was your father relied on for the years of these mechanical things around the house? And I didn't realize your father was so unlucky. Can you tell the story and more importantly, how John told you about your father after his death? What it was so important about the worth and potential that key felt as somebody who changed the light bulb?

Cynthia Covey Haller
Yeah, Greg King, really, I guess we all have our talents, right? And our strengths and weaknesses. And his was not being mechanical, as they as you as you read. He once hired when he was first married, someone to see what was wrong with the light. And the electrician said, Sir, you just need to put in a light bulb. And he said, how much would you charge to install one? We always got

Greg Voisen
I'm still laughing.

Cynthia Covey Haller
We got a good laugh over that when he points out. You got I was just married. I never did things like this before. But he was not he was very inept when it came to mechanical things. And so this John Nunez was someone in town that he hired to help maintain his boat and Jet ski. And just anything that was mechanical at all, he relied on him so much, and John reciprocated, because he showed such belief in him and put so much trust in Him, He would come out at night and fix the boat and fix it, you know, anything mechanical, he would go the second mile for him because of that. Well, when he passed away, he continued because of his loyalty. And that he received from my father to help us even though he had retired during it took for other people, but he still kept on with us. And I asked him why one day you're so you're so loyal, why? Why do you keep doing this to help us? And he said, he said, you know what your father was the only one I ever knew who really truly appreciated what I did for a living. He valued me and made me feel so important, because I was a mechanical help to him. And that meant the world to me. My father defined leadership as communicating worth and potential so clearly, that you are inspired to see it in yourself. And I think that in these two examples of chip and John, that, that he did communicate their worth and potential to them through actions through caring about them and, and valuing them so that they, they felt that genuinely, and it affected them impacted them enough that they did extra things for us, which we really appreciated.

Greg Voisen
Well, the book is filled with great stories like that. It really is. And you tell another story. And I think the reason that these stories mount up in this podcast is because it just shows you how Steven Covey lived his life. And I think that it needs to be told because he was constantly living his life in crescendo. And I think most importantly, you can tell by the stories that Cynthia's telling how what people thought of him as a person, as a soul as somebody walking on this planet. You tell a great story about someone who chooses to live their life and can share No, and that is Dr. Shandra. You tell how he lost his way for three years after the death of his wife and children in flight 182. and Ireland. And, you know, that was a, that was a tragedy beyond belief. I remember reading this in the book about, you know, here this guy is his kids are gone, his wife is gone. It's just him. Can you tell the story about Dr. Chandra, and on top of this, this native India, Indian at the age of 63. Right, so we're saying, here’s somebody that went through this tragedy when you talk about tragedies in these stages, but really did something good with it.

Cynthia Covey Haller
Yes. And the reason we put these inspiring stories, some are famous people well known, some are non-famous, is the hope that the listener and reader couldn't see themself doing something similar. inspire them to think you know what, I'm going through this hard thing, maybe I can do this. And inductors Shandra is example. He puts his wife and children on a plane. And I don't know if he's going to join them later. But they were going from India. I mean, from Canada, where they live to London. And this is when it was it was the largest murder in Canadian history. The bomb blew up, it blew up the plane, and over 300 people died, including his entire family is wiped out. So here he is a successful person that sorry, he's successful at 6364 years old. In his career, he's reached the pinnacle of success, he does well, but yet he has no purpose left in his life, his entire family is wiped out. He said for three years, he kind of wandered around blindly, and was in diminuendo did nothing couldn't function kept thinking maybe somebody maybe they got out earlier and they were rescued, maybe I'll still find them. He didn't know what to do for three years. And then he decided, he decided I wanted to do something useful with my life. He said I wanted a purpose. And it said Life has no purpose if you don't have meaning, and you don't have something that you can bring about some good. And so he did quit. Greg, like you said, his job up in Canada, and he moved to India. And he decided he was going to do something in their memory, the memory of his mother and his two children to help his native country of India, and he found two glaring problems is one that terrible eyesight, because so many millions of people worked in the fields, in the rice paddies that they had, they were blind, they either had blindness, or they were suffering from terrible eyesight. And then the second thing was schooling is that they had, they didn't, they had very low education, lack of education. And so he went to work at these two things. And he created, He created hospitals that would eye hospitals that would treat people free of charge, or what little they could afford. He they've treated over three and a half million people since then have gone to these eye hospitals. And they've become very well known in India. And they're the buses that take these students, these people to the eye hospitals during the day bring them to school, he established schools in the names of their children. And these kids, who a lot of times would not get an education would only be working following in the footsteps of their fathers in these fields, where they go blind from the from the rice from the rice work, he established the schools so that they could go free of charge to all the schools. One boy said if who gained the scholarship for the prestigious engineering school said if it hadn't been for Dr. Chandra, I wouldn't be following the footsteps of my father in poverty. And this cycle would continue. So he took a really hard thing that was personally hard for him and turned his greatest challenge and setback in life. And he, he turned it into something that blesses other people. And it's true that Dr. Chand, his most important work was still ahead, which is creating these great opportunities for native Indians in his native country that he loved so much in the memory of his family that he lost. What an inspiring story that was to me,

Greg Voisen
ya know, I'm very familiar with the story. And I think the issue that they have is that people they're getting a lot of cataracts and they weren't doing cataract surgeries. So they've really accelerated the pace of those surgeries. And it was interesting that you notified or told me that that was from working in these rice fields. Now to wrap this up, because life and crescendo has lots and lots of great stories in it. It's an opportunity for everybody who's listening out there today to be inspired to live life in crescendo, I think if there's one thing that Cynthia and I would like to do is inspire you who are listening to look at your life a little bit deeper, and determine what is it that you potentially could do or act upon, that would have you living in crescendo and not diminuendo. And so with that, you state in the book, that there's this damaging misconception, our society that as you grow older, there are only two choices work or retire. And obviously, your father didn't choose any of those. He chose to live in crescendo, which was work, but work applied specifically toward helping others. But there all sorts of choices. And the third one is contribution, as you said, and can you leave our listeners with three things that they may want to consider about contributing and living their life and crescendo? Through contribution?

Cynthia Covey Haller
Well, yes, we have the whole point of this book was, like I said, to inspire you to think what resources I have, what knowledge what talents, you don't have to have a lot of money to do good. You have to you've got great connections that you've made your whole life, you've got a lot of skills, if you look around you and see a need. And so the first the first thing would be to challenge you whatever age or stage you're at, in your life, to consciously choose to live a crescendo, rather than in diminuendo. Identify, what am I doing right now? Or am I stagnant? Am I Am I at a stage where I feel like I'm not growing and learning? Do I need to keep contributing? What do I need to do and choose? Just like Radiohead, and some of those other people that had a choice had a choice to consciously choose a crescendo mentality. And second is we'd like to instill the hope in listeners that no matter what you have been through, your most important work is still ahead. You don't know. How do you know when you've accomplished your greatest, your greatest work. I talked about Garth Brooks, in this book, also, who was so successful at the height of his career, he stepped away from it for 12 years, because he felt like he was losing his children, his girls, he didn't know them, someone else was raising them. his important work that was important work to him, they stepped away from his career to raise them for 12 years and did that and then resumed his career and was able to pick it up immediately. So you can choose, you can't always choose your circumstances, what's happening to you, but you can choose to have the hope that I still have important things to contribute, I may have this disease that I was just told I have, I may have gone through a huge setback, but what my most important work could still be to come, my contributions are still to come. And then the last part is just to teach the idea that life is about contribution, not accumulation. We haven't talked about this so much. But life is about contributing not just, you know, not just adding to the money into the wealth and the prestige we have but contributing to the lives of others. So what can you do? In your circle of influence? Can you cross the street and help a neighbor that is lonely that's older that never gets out? Can you take them to the store? Can you help do their yard? Can you be a friend to them? Do you see a need in your community where there's maybe there's certain schools that don't have a lot of readers, people that help read in first and second grade that's so valuable? Can you donate an hour or two there? How can you contribute with just what you have your own resources and your own skills to increase a great life for somebody else and live in crescendo as well as helping others to do the same. So these are kind of our challenges Greg in and something that my father, this was his last big idea, important message that he wanted to get out that life is about contribution. And the more that you do that in every stage of life, despite what you're going through the greater meaning and purpose you will find in your own life.

Greg Voisen
Well, it is such important work, you know, and it is work. And I think the most important thing is that if you have an attitude of gratitude and compassion and love, and humility, you can take these characteristics, so to say and do almost anything. And I think the other thing people need to understand and there's been lots of research done on this, that the greater the amounts of love and compassion that you can get Put out into the world, the longer your lifespan. And there is a correlation between you giving or contributing, however you want to look at this. And what we're saying here is not so much, just giving up your money is giving up your time and giving of yourself. It's, it's easy to write a check. It's challenging to actually go out and do the work. And it all starts with one step. And the first step is your choice to go do it, and then get the feeling of what that feels like to have some, you know, in my case, I go out and I give away gift cards to the homeless. The feeling is wonderful that you're helping someone, go get a meal, or get themselves cleaned up or get a hotel room for the night or whatever it might be. It doesn't really matter. The fact is, is that you've made the opportunity to contribute. So, Cynthia, kudos to you, kudos to your dad and your family. Again, this is the book. I hope everybody can see it. Live life in crescendo. Your most important work is always ahead of you. Thank you for being on inside personal growth and spending time with my listeners. Thank you for what you're doing. This is your gift because you're going to uplift so many people to do good work in the world. I really appreciate you I appreciate your dad and your whole family.

Cynthia Covey Haller
Thank you, Greg. It's been a pleasure to speak with you and I'm inspired by your work and what you're doing and hope others can take this idea and do it in their own lives. Thanks for having me on.

Greg Voisen
Thank you, Cynthia.

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