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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
“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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