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FOOD FOR THOUGHT - BEGIN WITH THE END IN MIND

Begin with the End in Mind means to begin each day or task with a clear understanding of your desired direction and destination. By keeping that end in mind you can make certain that whatever you do on any particular day does not violate the criteria you have defined as supremely important, and that each day of your life contributes in a meaningful way to the vision you have of your life as a whole.
It's incredibly easy to get caught up in an activity trap, in the "busyness" of life, to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover, upon reaching the top rung, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall. It is possible to be busy, very busy, without being very effective. People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty – successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them. If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.
Begin with the End in Mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There's a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation. The second creation follows from the first, just as a building follows from a blueprint. In our personal lives, if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for first creations, we empower other people and circumstances to shape our lives by default.
This habit is based on imagination – the ability to envision, to see the potential, to create with our minds what we cannot at present see with our eyes; and conscience – the ability to detect our own uniqueness and the personal, moral, and ethical guidelines within which we can most happily fulfill it.

Leadership is the first creation. Management is the second creation. Management is a bottom-line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things? Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish? In the words of both Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis,
"Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Management is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; leadership determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall.
The most effective way we know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement, philosophy, or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and do

(contributions and achievements). Because each person is unique, a personal mission statement will reflect that uniqueness, both in content and form. 

By Zaine Ridlind, Ph,D.

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