Stephen Covey wrote the words, “Begin with the end in mind.”
I remember very little of anything that he wrote before or after that statement. But those specific words, “Begin with the end in mind”, have remained with me since the day that I read them.
When I read these words, there was an instant understanding of their worth, an illuminating insight of their application, and a permanent change within my mind and spirit. It was one of those few moments in life when you intrinsically know that your eyes have been opened to a timeless and invaluable truth that will change everything that you do from that moment forward.
I use these words in all areas of my journey.
Allow me to rephrase that…I use these words in all areas of my journey in which I am capable.
These words are intended to be used as a plan. They are a strategy. They can be employed to assist me in the ordering of my thoughts, my goals, my decisions, and my processes. They can be employed to assist me in managing my emotions as I begin the journey towards “the end”. This strategy, however, is conditional. I must know where I want to go or what I want to do or what I hope to accomplish BEFORE I can use it.
Take child-rearing for example. How many parents have determined that the raising of their child(ren) will be intentionally purposed on particular long-term goals; such as, I want to raise an effective parent, I want to raise an effective spouse, I want to raise an effective citizen, I want to raise a life-long learner, and/or I want to raise a child of the faith? I don’t know the answer to that question. I can say, though, that I have determined that I am going to strive to be one of those parents.
So, if I have decided from the birth of my child that I am going to “begin with the end in mind”, and I have determined what “the end” (or ends) are going to be; what then? I commit to that. Come hell or high water, I commit myself to those ends. No matter the circumstance, the challenge, or the feeling, I strive towards that end (those ends).
I cannot describe the empowerment these words have brought to my journey as a believer, a learner, a husband, a parent, a minister, and a friend. They have been an anchor for me in the storms of life as I press forward and keep my eyes on the target. They have held my faith intact. They have affirmed me when no one else could.
These words are timeless. They are invaluable. They are, in my opinion, pointing us towards the real goal of this journey; to finish the race that is laid out before us. To press on, no matter the circumstance, and to receive the closing statement from The Word, “Well done.”