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Begin with the end in mind

One of our favourite books at The Collective is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. We know we’re not alone in this, the book is renowned, and has stood the test of time in its importance (it was originally released in 1989!). We find that when our wine bar conversations shift to who is reading what at the moment, this is a book that always gets mentioned. It’s not surprising, as the principles have guided countless individuals and organisations towards greater success and fulfilment. In this blog post, we wanted to discuss in further detail the second habit listed in the book, that is – beginning with the end in mind.

Beginning with the end in mind means you have a clear and vivid vision of your desired outcomes and goals. To begin with the end in mind means, according to Covey, “to begin each day, task or project with a clear vision of your desired direction and destination, and then continue by flexing your proactive muscles to make things happen.” At its most basic, it means having the image of your ventures (be it business, or just life) “end game”. Fundamentally, it’s about mapping out the destination before you actually embark on the journey. This way, you have a guiding light that ensures the decisions and actions you make are aligned with your long-term objectives and ensure you are staying on task.

Beginning with the end also allows you to set meaningful and purposeful goals. We all know the importance of setting SMART goals, but to effectively set SMART goals, they need to facilitate our long term goals, not our short term satisfaction. Rather than setting arbitrary targets, you can define goals that are in true harmony with your values and aspirations. This alignment leads to a greater sense of fulfilment and authenticity in your life. It ensures that you are not just chasing external measures of success but are on a journey that resonates with your inner values and principles.

For business owners, this habit is critical, especially when your goal is to have your business as your most valuable asset upon retiring. Beginning with an end in mind allows you to plan your exit and ensure the enterprise remains profitable even after you’ve left. This allows you to focus on key issues of scalability, consistent growth, a strong team, and a loyal consumer base. Planning with the end in mind allows you to set up your business so that it does not rely too heavily on you, to the point where a buyer isn't confident the business can stand alone.

A key technique Covey advocates for in fulfilling this habit is the implementation of a mission statement. Not only must you have a clear and direct mission statement, but you must lean back and rely on this statement time and time again, to assure that your organisation is moving in the correct direction with the end in mind. Covey states a mission statement “reaffirms who you are, puts your goals in focus, and moves your ideas into the real world. Your mission statement makes you the leader of your own life; you create your own destiny and secure the future you envision”

Covey's concept of starting with the end in mind encourages a holistic approach to life. It prompts you to consider all aspects of your life, from your personal and professional goals to your relationships and overall well-being. By taking a comprehensive view, you can create a balanced and integrated life plan that fosters harmony and fulfilment in all areas.


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