Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Begin with the End in Mind

Setting goals is supposed to be a way to begin with the end in mind. But for many people, setting goals is an exercise in making a wish list or taking whatever they did last year and adding a few percent. That's more like ending with the beginning in mind.
Photo credit: Jaynneandd, Flickr
What does "the end" mean to  you? Here are some possibilities:
  • the final part of something
  • a death or termination
  • a goal, purpose or mission
When you begin with the end in mind, you begin by getting to know the future you want to create. Just as you don't know a person just because you know their name, you don't know your future unless you spend some time knowing how it looks and sounds and feels, who it hangs around with, and what actions it inspires you to take.

You don't plan the perfect wedding by hiring the perfect wedding planner. You plan it by knowing how the people, promises and celebration you include will be an ongoing part of your life. A wedding is the beginning of a relationship, not a piece of fine china that you will use only on very special occasions. When you understand that you are using the wedding to build something ongoing, you will have a different checklist for what you need to include.

The same thing is true with career goals. High performers often have a number in mind when it's time to set goals. The number is set with the beginning in mind: it's just a multiple of what they have already achieved. Beginning with the end in mind means knowing what you will be doing and how you will be feeling when you are serving your purpose with better skills or better efforts. Stepping into a full engagement with the future you are building will lead you to set more effective goals because they will be steps on the way to something you want, not steps away from something you already have.

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