Welcome to Habit 2, Begin with the end in mind.*
Stephen Covey writes that all things are created twice – first mentally, second physically. Individuals, families, teams, and organizations shape their own future by creating a mental vision and purpose for any project. They don’t just live day to day without a clear purpose in mind. They mentally identify and commit themselves to the principles, values, relationships, and purposes that matter most to them.
A mission statement is the highest form of mental creation for an individual, a family, or an organization. It is the primary decision because it governs all other decisions. Creating a culture behind a shared mission, vision, and set of values is the essence of leadership.
Napoleon Hill had a lot to say on this subject long before Stephen Covey wrote the 7 Habits. He said:
“Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement, and its lack is the stumbling block for ninety-eight out of every hundred people simply because they never really define their goals and start toward them.”
Study every person you can think of who has achieved lasting success, and you will find that each one has had a definite major purpose. Each had a plan for reaching that goal, and each devoted the greatest part of his or her thoughts and efforts to that end.
What you have just read are words that can change your life for the better. I have spent a lifetime developing and working with leaders, and have never known one who didn’t have an “end in mind,” that is, a well thought out set of goals.
Goal setting, like anything else worth doing, takes some time and effort. But, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are six steps to establish your end in mind.
- Decide what it is you want, and it must be a BURNING DESIRE. Don’t be afraid to dream big.
- Determine what you are prepared to give up or do to accomplish this WANT.
- Set a date to accomplish your goal. This is where your dream transforms from an idea into reality.
- Develop a plan to accomplish your goal.
- Write out the plan.
- Read the plan twice a day. Best times are early in the morning and just before you go to bed. This helps burn it into your subconscious, which is working 24 hours a day.
Get excited about your goal planning. Start dreaming.
- Who do you want to be?
- What do you want to do?
- Where would you like to live?
- What do you want to have?
Pour some passion into that thinking. Then begin with the end in mind. Set your goals and don’t look back.
*7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey (Simon & Schuster)