Begin With an End in Mind

Stephen Covey, the author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” states that to “begin with an end in mind is to begin today with the image, picture, or paradigm of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criterion by which everything else is examined.”(Covey, 1989) The behavior of today, tomorrow, and next month are in examination of the principles, values and elements that create the whole. This mind frame uses a holistic approach where we arrest the mind, heart and environment into captivity renewing our actions and principles to create the outcome. Keeping the end in mind yields our attention to designing our own plan or map that fits the direction to the goal in which we are obtaining.  Existing in the runner’s environment the definition can be to begin with the knowledge of the race, distance, purpose, or the ending finish time.

The principle of beginning with an end in mind results in two important distinct goals. One, it creates the specific goals, actions, or path to develop and obtain to achieve the overall result. Two, it filters out the distractions and time wasting movements that hinder our ability to obtain the goal. I recently took on a new career journey that is a perfect fit for my spirit. I was in a meeting with one of the directors of the organization when she asked me how I felt about the new position. I remember reaching for the words to describe how wonderful this opportunity was for me. I could not find the correct words that described this feeling of completeness. She knew I was struggling to describe my feeling so she stopped me and said this is your “Purpose.” That was it! This is my purpose. That is what is meant by “beginning with an end in mind,” find your purpose then run with this purpose in mind.

Ask yourself ‘why am I running?” What is the goal that you are trying to accomplish? Break it down to simple terms. For example the purpose or goal might be to run a 5k under 24:00 minutes. The goal of accomplishing a time of 23:59 now becomes the end in mind. As a result, the goal is to train with an end in mind of accomplishing 23:59 in the race. Beginning with an end in mind can relate to losing 10 pounds. Now your purpose is to loose ten pounds. The end in mind will automatically developed your plan while separating it into smaller goals. The short term goals might be to lose one pound a week ending at a loss of 10 pounds in 10-weeks. Another example of your purpose could be to achieve another level of health. Whatever the purpose is we need to state it and move towards this purpose with a plan.

Do you get it? Beginning with an end in mind is simply our purpose and goal that we chose as our creative state after putting the work in. In our case the work is running. Do not go out the door just to run because everyone is running. Go out with a purpose “an end in mind.” When you apply this principle to your life, both running and your purpose in life are strengthened for great works.

Happy Running!

John K Carlson
Coach RRCW


Covey, Stephen R. (1989), the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Copyright, 1989 Stephon R, Covey

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