Begin with the End in Mind

At the billionaire’s funeral:

– How much did he leave?

– He left it all…

Have you even been to the funerals? If so, you know how the coffin looks. Close your eyes and imagine that big black box, with the lid opened, sitting at the age of the grave, waiting to be berried. You come closer and you see yourself laying inside, with your eyes closed and the hands folded on your chest. You turn around and you see your friends and family members standing around all dressed in black. What will each one of them have to say about you? What kind of person were you? Have you made any difference in the world, in someones life? Have you achieved anything significant in your life? How were you different that any other human on the planet? 

Every day you wake up, you need to have a crystal clear vision of where you are going and what is deeply important to you. No matter who you are, how you label yourself, we are all traveling to the same destination – the graveyard.  

Everything is created twice

First is the mental creation, second is the physical creation. The building of the house begins from detailed construction plan outlined on the paper, before you even take the hummer in your hand. Starting a business is another example. Building successful company begins from clear definition of what you’re trying to achieve, a business plan.  

To begin with end in mind means to approach my role as entrepreneur or athlete, a professional at work, a writer, a son or brother  with my core values and clear direction. 

 Personal Mission Statement

The world and people around us are constantly changing and it’s hard to navigate to your destination without reliable compass. You need to develop your personal mission statement  – the constitution that is based on your core principles, goals and values. 

 “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.”

Viktor E. Frankl

To create a mission statement you need to find out what lays in the center of your life. How do you look at world, through what lenses? People rarely centered on just one thing and their securities, wisdom and power come from different places. Depending on external factors, one center start taking too much of the focus and sets the rest to the back. What glasses are you looking through a world?

Spouse Glasses

If you get centered on your spouse or partner, you become too vulnerable to the feelings, moods and behaviors of your partner. You become emotionally dependent. When the other person doesn’t treat you the way you want, you get hurt. The more you get hurt, the more you feel the need to protect yourself from future emotional injuries. This leads to disappointment and you adopt sarcasm, criticism, cutting humor. They serve you as a shield that helps to hide that tenderness within. Below are the most common ones:

Family Glasses

People who put family at the center of their lives are too sensitive to any changes in family traditions,  culture and reputation. Family centered parents usually overreact to their kids bad behaviors by yelling or screaming at them or even overreacting with bad temper. They put the conditions on their love to the kids. I love you if you … 

Money Glasses

This is the most common one. People that are money centered, get their sense of worth from their employment and income. They looks at the world and others through the money lenses, often put family and friends aside. 

Work Glasses

This are the “workaholics”. There is no distinction between work and life. Those people work so hard, that they sacrifice some important aspects of their lives, such as health and relationships. The only thing that matters is work, and those are the people that commit suicide after they get fired.

Possession Glasses

Cars, clothes, homes, boats, fame, glory, social recognition are the driving forces for people centered on material, not always tangible things. They are very protective over those things and constantly trying to increase the amount of staff they own. Possession centered people get their sense of worth from material things they have ownership over and extremely sensitive to loosing them.

Pleasure Glasses

Person that is centered on getting pleasures is constantly in a search for more and more fun and pleasure. They get bored too soon with everything that offers “fun” and always cry for more. Bigger, better, more exciting! Such people are often narcissistic, looking at the wife from perspective of getting as much pleasure as possible.

Enemy & Friend Glasses 

It’s really common for young people to be friend-centered. It becomes really important to be a part of some group and they are very vulnerable to the attitudes, feeling and behaviors or other people. Spouse/partner centeredness is similar to this.

People that are enemy centered, often put the person they’re in the conflict with in the center of their lives. They are very reactive to the actions and attitudes of the other person. Many divorced couples are so consumed with the anger and hard feelings to each other, so they remain psychologically married even after divorce. 

Self Glasses

Selfishness. Many people are self-centered in their approaches to self-fulfillment and growth. “What I want? What I need? What’s in it for me?” are the questions self centered people often ask themselves. They view the world by how different circumstances, decisions or events will affect their person lives. The right way to look at self development is to improve one’s ability to serve other people, to create, to produce, to contribute into the world in meaningful ways.

Principle Glasses

If we loyal to our principles, they provide us with a sense of security. They don’t treat us differently, they don’t change their minds or get mad, they don’t fire us or run away with another man. Principles are greater than people and circumstances. 

“By centering our lives on timeless, unchanging principles, we create a fundamental paradigm of effective living. It is the center that puts all other centers in perspective”

Covey, S. R. (2014), p. 131

Mission Statements is not something that is being written overnight. It takes a lot of energy, time, analysis and thoughts to create your personal constitution that will express your core values and principles. As we change, our principles change and writing the MS becomes a continuous process, where we adjust it in accordingly. 

Identify your Roles and Goals in life.

You wear a lot of hats. At work, you may be an engineer, a banker, a writer. At home, you are a husband, a father, a neighbor or a son. You may wear a heat of a triathlete, a cyclist, a football player. Braking down your life into the roles and goals you have for each one, makes it easier to write a mission statement. After you clear on your roles, answer to yourself, what do you want to accomplish in each role. Focus on the end result, visualize it. Collect the notes, ideas, quotes that found reflection within yourself. Use them as resource in creating your personal mission statement.

References:

COVEY, S. R. (2004). The 7 habits of highly effective people: restoring the character ethic. New York, Free Press. 

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