7 Habits: Habit 2 - Start with the end in mind

posted at 09:00:00
By Flipping Heck!
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Update on Habit 1 - Be Proactive

I can tell you that I'm loving this proactivity malarkey. I'm getting loads more done - and doing things I'd generally be putting off and as a consequence I feel better about myself and things in general - Wahoo!

Habit 2 begins with the task of trying to visualise your own funeral (which I found somewhat grusome). You have to image what friends and family might say in their elegies.

The idea of this is that if you know the type of thing you'd want them to say - "He was a good man..." or "She was always willing to help..." you have end goals in mind that you can aim for.

Covey states that everything (thoughts, actions etc.) are created twice; Firstly as a mental creation (the idea of what your goal is) and secondly as a physical creation (the actions you do to achieve your goal).

We need to get the first mental creation right in order to be able to create and fulfil the physical creation.

Covey gives a nice example of this process in asking us to imagine that we're building a house. The first step is to create and refine the blueprints of our dream home. If we don't do this, and get the design exactly right, the second phase of building the house will require tremendous time and costly reworking to put the problems right.

Habit 2 then moves on to the concept of "Personal Leadership" which this habit is based on. Covey stresses that leadership (the first creation) isn't management (the second creation) - you can't manage without leadership and he quotes Peter Drucker to back up his statement:

Management is doing things right

Leadership is doing the right things

In order to manage ourselves (and others) effectively we need leadership. And in order to lead we need to know what the right thing to do is - as based on our paradigms and where we feel we want to be/achieve.

This brings us straight back to the paradigms that we loooked at in Habit 1 - in order to create a successfull, workable and relevant paradigm we need to figure out what the desired end result is.

The task in this habit is to create a "Personal Mission Statement" - a list of values that we wish to follow that will help us reach our desired destination. Our circle of influence and level of proactivity will help form these values, as will our roles and responsibilities (husband, father, manager etc.)

Another thing that will affect our core values is our position of, what Covey calls, "centeredness".

We usually think of centeredness in terms of "self" as in only thinking of your self. Covey goes on to break this down further into more granular groups:

  • Spouse
  • Family
  • Money
  • Work
  • Possessions
  • Pleasure
  • Friend
  • Enemy
  • Church
  • Self

A person can be in one or more of these groups and ideally we need to find a balance between all centres as this will lead us to our core values and principles on which we will base our paradigms and mission statement.

7 Habits - Circle of Centers

7 Habits - Circle of Centers

What I learned from Habit 2

I have to admit I didn't really take away a great deal from this chapter, it certainly didn't have the "wow" factor of Habit 1.

I also struggled with the concept of the personal mission statement which Covey likened to the American Constitution which is where he lost me somewhat - being English that analogy is irrelevant to me. Also, the concept of a personal mission statement isn't new to me, I remember having to write one at school about 20 years ago!

What am I going to do about it?

This is a difficult one! I'm really struggling with deciding on my "End" and without the end I have no starting point! I'm going to have to sit down and think really hard about what I want and where I want to go which will not be easy as I've never been big on introspection. Also, being fairly young (ahem!) I'm not neccessarily sure what the best path for me to take is.

I have a feeling that this is going to be the hardest of the habits for me to master and I'm going to have to really knuckle down in order to create a workable and honest personal  mission statement.

Have you mastered Covey's second habit? I'd really appreciate any advice people can give on creating a personal mission statement. Drop your hints in the comments or contact me

Interested in this book? Buy the 7 Habits of highly effective peoplefrom Amazon today


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