Begin with the End in Mind

Many of us spend a lot of time, too much time, thinking about how others perceive us, but mostly on a day to day basis instead of after we’ve left this world. Do you think about what impression you’ll leave on the people in your life? What impression you’ll leave on the world? We don’t generally begin with the end in mind, but here’s a look at why you should.

I’m currently reading “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, and one of the points he highlights is to begin with the end in mind. I take this to mean you visualize where you want to be, whether it’s a goal, a job, or the way you want to live your life. Visualizing what that end is will help you create the road map on how to get there from where you are now. 

One of the exercises he asks you to do is to visualize your own funeral (pg 96 if you are interested). Sounds morbid I know, but stay with me. He encourages you to imagine who’s there, and then who will be speaking. What will those speakers say about you? What would you want them to say? I really sat with this and thought, ‘what DO I hope people would say about me when I’m gone?’  Here’s what I came up with: 

I want people to remember me as someone who was kind and loving. Someone who loved to make people laugh and thrived on that joy. I want to be remembered as someone who worked hard for herself and for others. I’d like to be thought of as a good leader; one who cared about people and worked as a team instead of a boss. I would like to think I inspired people to be kind to others in their day to day life; to make people laugh, to believe in themselves. I hope I helped someone see they have the power to change their own lives, and create the life they want to live. 

Once I really reflected on that question, it was that simple. For me, there was something so clear and attainable about this. I can easily work towards this every day, and be happy doing it. It’s not easy to fill in the steps between where you are now and where you want to be, but having the end goal in mind will definitely create a starting point. This would work towards any goal: take where you are now and where you want to be – now what are the steps you fill in the steps in-between to achieve it?

After writing it out, I felt pretty encouraged, and clear headed, like ‘I can achieve this’. It’s very empowering. I felt like if this is what I want the end to be, I know how to apply this to my every day life to achieve it. By defining the end goal, you’re giving yourself a guideline on what you should implement in your daily life! Sure, I can dream about adding Nobel prize winner, maybe a New York Times Bestseller title, or a million dollar donation to charity, but ultimately, I hope I brought joy to people. If remembering me can bring a smile to someone’s face when I’m gone, then I lead a life worth living. 

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