In Dr. Stephen Covey’s classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the second habit is: “Begin with the end in mind.”  This builds naturally on the first habit of being proactive and it is based on vision.

Begin with the end in mind means before we begin anything, we have a clear vision of what we want that outcome to be.  Just as the blueprint precedes the building, the vision precedes the reality.

Covey was a strong proponent of having a personal mission statement for our lives.  That mission statement must be based on timeless, personal principles and absolute truths.  By so doing, we can have a personal mission statement (our vision) that sets the stage for every decision we make.  If every decision we make is driven by that mission statement, then the desired end–that which we envision–will ultimately be fulfilled in our lives, personally and professionally.

Some people struggle with yes/no decisions.  Begin with the end in mind makes it much easier to say “yes” or “no.”  It means we do not commit time and resources to those things that will only sidetrack us or defeat us.  It means we commit time and resources to those things that will fulfill our vision of what we are to become.

Personally and professionally, we all ponder where we want to arrive in the end.  Giving careful thought to that today will make a big difference tomorrow.  Unfortunately, the news is replete with examples of people who did not begin with the end in mind.

Begin with the end in mind.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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