Begin With the End in Mind
“It’s incredibly easy to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success, only to discover that it’s leaning against the wrong wall.” ~Stephen Covey
The 2014 ASBDC Conference officially kicks off today, but yesterday I had the privilege of attending a pre-conference session presented by Franklin Covey. This five-hour session was an overview of the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Signature Edition 4.0, a newly revamped personal leadership system based on the proven principles in Dr. Stephen Convey’s best-selling business book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. While the examples and learning materials have been updated, the habits have remained unchanged, still as relevant as they were 25 years ago when the book was written. Those habits are:
- Be Proactive
- Begin With the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
Normally a three-day class, this fast-paced seminar laid the ground work for how we can shift our paradigms to be better employees, managers, partners, and friends.
The habit I took most to heart is the second, Begin With the End in Mind. This habit charges individuals to create a personal mission statement to shape their future; rather than letting other people, circumstances, or culture determine it. I think as small business owners, this is vitally important! Entrepreneurs are focused, mission-driven individuals, but usually the mission driving them is that of their company. With missions, visions, financial projections, marketing strategies, etc., its incredibly easy for business owners to take on their company’s mission statement as their own. However, this leads to imbalance in life, and other areas such as relationships and health can suffer. While creating a personal mission that ties to career goals is a good idea, it must also address the most important aspects of your life and provide direction and purpose.
So, what steps can you take to develop your personal mission? Much like writing a company mission statement, think about your vision; where you want to be in 5, 10 or 20 years. Next, you need to evaluate yourself, asking questions about what you really love to do and what your natural gifts and talents are. Then you must think about the relationships in your life and the roles you play – spouse/partner, employer, friend, child, parent – what long-term goals do you want to accomplish in each of those relationships? Finally, you are ready to draft your mission statement.
Beginning with the end in mind probably isn’t something you’ll only do once. You should be revisiting your personal mission statement on a regular basis to determine if it is still the guide by which you want to live your life. Just as businesses and companies evolve and change, so will you, and you want to make sure your personal mission is still fulfilling its purpose.