Cynthia's father was an author and speaker and when she was 12, she accompanied him on a business trip to San Francisco. She was so excited. She dearly loved her father and couldn't wait to get one-on-one time with him. They made plans that she would meet him backstage after he finished speaking and then do it up on the town.
They would catch a trolley car to Chinatown, eat Chinese food (their favorite), shop for a souvenir, see the sights for a while and then “catch a flick” as her Dad liked to say. Then they would grab a taxi back to the hotel, jump in the pool for a quick swim (her dad was famous for sneaking in when the pool was closed), order hot fudge sundaes from room service, and then watch the late, late show together. They discussed the details over and over before they left. The anticipation of what they were going to do was the best part for her.
This was all going according to plan until, as her father was leaving the convention center, he ran into an old college friend and business associate. It had been years since they had seen each other and Cynthia watched as they embraced enthusiastically. He said that he and his wife Lois would love to take both of them to this great seafood restaurant on the Wharf. Of course thinking it would be rude to turn down his friend’s generous offer, Cynthia’s father replied, “Dinner sounds great!” Cynthia said her heart sank. She knew her dad was in a bad position but couldn't help but think about what she was going to miss out on especially after having been so excited about it.
But, after a brief pause while looking over at his daughter, he told his old friend that he couldn't do it that night because he and Cynthia had planned a father-daughter night out on the town together. With that he made arrangements for the next night and then put his arm around Cynthia and they hit the town.
No doubt you're thinking what a great father this man is and you're right. He's the famous author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.," - Stephen R. Covey. Cynthia shared this story with Greg about two weeks before Steven died. You can imagine what a profound impact he had on her not only throughout her life, but with just that one night in San Francisco. where chose her.
Greg was already working on a book about what he calls: "Essentialism," but it was Cynthia's story that really lit a fire. He covers so many issues in the book but at its' core it reminds everyone that we make tradeoffs by the decisions we make every day. That we can't do it all but what is the best choice for the greatest return on investment and it's not always about a financial return as it's more often than not about personal and spiritual matters. Essentialism is knowing what matters most and not just making life decisions on the fly.