Begin With the End in Mind

This blog post was inspired by a Monday e-Newsletter I received from one of my consultant friends who encouraged employers to, “Empower the success of direct reports by asking each what they really want to accomplish as a development goal this year.” Thanks Cyndi Gave (The Metiss Group) for reminding me about Covey’s Habit #2.

So often we begin the new year with every intention of accomplishing a task(s), making a paradigm shift, or changing a habit. We might even play the mind-game of avoiding the word “resolution.” As I approach this year, both personally and with the people I coach, we might do well to dust off one of the principles proposed years ago by Stephen R Covey in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” – start with the end in mind:

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you are going so that you better understand where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”

What strikes me is how Covey begins the chapter. He asks the reader to create a space that is both uninterrupted and alone. That is a bold ask! Given our activity-rich, jammed-packed schedules it almost seems like gibberish. It isn’t just the concept (Why) that is difficult to grasp but also the means (How) to step into it.

What if you decided to embark on two activities this month that would truly enhance your well-being and bring deeper levels of satisfaction? These activities won’t cost you money but will demand the attention of your mind, your heart, and your soul.

  • Take the courageous step to block out 90 minutes of your schedule where you can be alone and uninterrupted; where you can breathe deeply and begin to think clearly. Open your spirit.
  • Begin to ask yourself the questions with the end in mind. My encouragement is to write your answers. Here are just a few to start you off:
                       What would I like to be like at the end of 2012?
                      How can I think more often about things that are good, noble, and right?
                      What relationships would I like to nurture and what relationships should I give more distance?
                      What are my unique talents and how can I serve others more fully with them?


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