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Begin with the End in Mind

This is the second post in a 7-week series covering Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you missed the first week, you can read it here.

The second of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is "Begin with the End in Mind."

I spend a lot of time coaching young, talented students. Most of the time they're at the top of their class academically, played multiple sports in high school, and are leaders in organizations on campus. They have solid work ethic and bright futures. Yet, when I ask them why they are so motivated to do these things or why they spend their time chasing these goals, very few have ever thought about it. They're so caught up in climbing the next rung to success, they don't even know where the ladder is leading them.

We see this in businesses, with relationships, finances, and in almost every other area of human development. It becomes so easy to busy ourselves with chasing after the next achievement, we never truly consider why we're chasing it in the first place.

To begin with the end in mind means to envision an ideal end result for ourselves, then pursue action relevant to turning that vision into a reality. We are essentially creating the blueprint, then beginning to build.

This can occur at a macro and micro level. At the macro level, we can envision our funeral. Who do we want to show up? What will they say? What is the feeling in the room about our life? At the micro level, we can determine the "end in mind" for one area of our life. What will I look like physically at the end of the year? What size clothes will I be? And then take steps to create that reality.

Beginning with the end in mind is a simple, yet practical way to start making progress that matters. Remember, goal setting is not about the destination, it's about the direction. However, we have to know the destination to ensure we are heading in the correct direction.


Create a micro and macro "end in mind" for your life. Write it down somewhere meaningful.


Where are you current accomplishments, accolades, or achievements taking you?


"It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the busyness of life, to work harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it's leaning against the wrong wall." - Dr. Stephen R. Covey

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