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  • Team ViGEO

Habits of Success - Begin with the End in Mind

In a series of seven blogs, we at ViGEO give you a quick tour of Stephen Covey’s seven habits from his famous 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. These habits will help you feel more confident, become more efficient, and live more skillfully for the rest of your life.


Picture your life like a ladder. You climb it with your head down looking at the ground as you take each step. But what if you reach the top…just to find out that the ladder was leaning against the wrong wall?

So often, people fail to grow in this life because they forget to stop and consider where they are heading. In other words, their ladders are leaning on the wrong wall! That’s why it is absolutely crucial to consider your destination before moving ahead. Here is Covey’s fantastic definition of what it means to begin with the end in mind:

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now and so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”

In this blog, we are going to think about two steps that will help you to begin with the end in mind:

  1. Finding your centers

  2. Writing your personal mission statement

Find Your Centers

Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis famously said, “Management is doing things right and leadership is doing the right things.” Managers maintain. Leaders envision. Are you leading your life? Or are you just managing it? If you want to lead your life, you need to understand your “centers”.

Think of the people or things that motivate you to get you up in the morning and keep you going through the day. Those are your centers. You could be family-centered, study-centered, friend-centered, religion-centered, self-centered, etc. To begin with the end in mind, you need to find and examine these centers of your life.

Here are three important things to remember about centers. First, not all centers are equal. If you are self-centered, you may get the things you want. But you’ll do it at the expense of others. Second, not everyone has the same centers in their lives. Students could be study-centered. But when they get a job, they might become work-centered. Finally, everyone has more than one center. The key is to identify them and find a balance between them.

So, what are your centers? Try to list out the centers of your life by looking at the relationships you value most. Another way to find the centers of your life is to look at the roles that you play in life. Covey speaks of listing out your “roles and goals”.

Look at the various roles that you play every day like student, daughter, son, sister, brother, citizen, etc and then, write corresponding goals next to them. For example, as a student, a good goal can be - become the most diligent student I can be.

Write Your Personal Mission Statement

One of the best takeaways from Covey’s Seven Habits is the emphasis on being principle-centered. Principles are timeless and unchanging. They aren’t dependent on your circumstances. Another word for principles is values. Values are the qualities that are most important to you. And, since your values can never be taken away from you, they can hold you up when other things fall down. Values could include character qualities such as love, diligence, kindness, efficiency, devotion, etc.

Now, once you have an idea of the centers of your life (e.g. studies, family, etc.), the roles you play (e.g. student, daughter/son, etc.), and the values that govern your life (e.g. love, diligence, etc.), you can sit down and write your own personal mission statement.

Ask yourself these three questions:

  • Character: Who do you want to be?

  • Contribution: What do you want to do?

  • Achievements: What are the core values and principles that govern your character and contributions?

Write down the answers to these questions, turn them into one or two sentences, and then refine them over time. By its very nature, a personal mission statement is personal to you. Everyone is different. But the goal of a personal mission statement is to have one mission that every center, role, and value feeds into.

For example, Will Smith writes about his personal mission statement as “Improve lives. The concept of improving lives runs through the center of everything I do.”

Begin with the end in mind!

Actions Steps

  1. Write out the centers in your life.

  2. Write out your roles in life and their corresponding goals.

  3. Write your personal mission statement.

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