He saw creating the 7 Habits not primarily as a means to his own success, but as an act of service. [The sentence is referring to the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People]
In English, you can construct a sentence containing the reason for something by using the the word as in a phrase to mean having the purpose or function of:
- He did that as a favor to his brother.
That utterance can be put in the negative like this:
- He did that not as a favor to his brother but as a favor to his father.
It could also be put in the negative like this, in a shorter form:
- He didn't do that as a favor to this brother but to his father.
As a means to his own success is an example of a noun phrase using as to mean for the purpose of.
Also, in the sentence above, the noun phrase "as a means to his own success" is preceded by: to see creating the 7 Habits is standard English.
transitive verb + gerund noun = He sees playing tennis as a type of endurance sport. They understand being politically involved as a vital necessity.
The verb see here means: to understand.
Transitive verbs may be followed by gerund nouns.