7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 2

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 2 is ‘Begin With The End In Mind’.

Begin With The End In Mind means learning from your past, understanding where you are today and most importantly planning your future. It’s about making thoughtful decisions and being responsible for those decisions.  Begin With The End In Mind is about taking ownership of your vision and values and using your unique talents to purposefully live your life to it’s fullest.

Begin With The End In Mind answers the question “What do you want your family, friends, professional and spiritual contacts to say about:

  • Your character?
  • Your contribution?”

It’s more than being busy, it’s about you achieving your desired lifetime goals.

Do the big events in your life happen by chance or are your big events the result of conscious decisions that are inline with your circle of influence?

Habit 1 of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People discusses your Circle of Influence vs. Circle of Concern.  Do you live your life focused on your circle of influence – doing the things that are important to you?

Habit 2 is about planning; it’s about mapping out your efforts in specific areas that are important to you (your goals), and to measure everything you do towards achieving your goals.

Dream Your Destiny

Begin with the end in mind means you have to dream your destiny before it can become real.  

Example: A Home Renovation

I recently renovated a home. Some walls had to be torn down – some had to be built. Note: It’s rewarding taking a sledgehammer to a wall that no longer make sense –  lightly disguised parallel to life.

Personal Leadership was important throughout the home renovation process.  Before I began renovating I had to create a new vision for the house. I had to known in advance what I was tearing down, what I was leaving and why… because if I tore down walls that should stay it would be a waste of time and money… and risk the project vision. I had to make sure I was doing the right things.

Stephen R. Covey quotes Peter Drucker and Warren Bennis. “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”  Habit 2 of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People is clearly about Personal Leadership.

When it comes to personal life, business and your career, Begin With The End In Mind helps you know where to reinforce your foundation and what walls to keep or build. Habit 2 helps you make sure you are doing the right things.

What’s Important To You?

Stephen also discusses The Principal Centre in Habit 2 of 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.  The Principal Centre is a model that helps us remember that any decision we make impacts all of the other areas of our life. 

Screen Shot 2014-01-13 at 9.14.17 AM

There is great value in exploring The Principal Centre in the context of personal values and questions like, “How do I use my values to make decisions that impact these areas of my life?” and, “What other areas of my life might I be impacting when I make a decision about work?”

Make It Real: Make It Happen

Mastering habit 2 of 7 Habit Of Highly Effective People doesn’t happen overnight – it is an evolutionary journey on which you actively evaluate your past, your goals and become the architect of your future.

How we respond is up to us and will ALWAYS be an expression of our values. In addition, how we respond may be the first impression someone has of us… so it’s important we respond mindfully.

There are many situations we encounter and have to respond to on a daily, weekly basis.  They can include how we respond to:

  • A traffic jam
  • Acquiring a new customer
  • A star employee resigning
  • Your partner unexpectedly sending you flowers

Creating Affirmation Statements helps us practice mindfulness and visualize our response to situations in advance. I encourage you to do this – especially for challenging situations because this preparation will help you visualize in advance how you will express our core values when you respond. 

Example: Situation is…  A Traffic Jam

Your Affirmation Statement may be, “I will not get upset when I’m in a traffic jam; instead I will be mindful and I will breath. I will respond with thoughtful patience, self-control and respect for the other drivers who are sharing the same experience.”  Stephen R. Covey outlines a good affirmation statement should have five ingredients.  They are:

  1. Personal
  2. Positive
  3. Present Tense
  4. Visual
  5. Emotional


Act or be acted upon with grace, humility, patience and a plan.

Taking risks will be part of the overall experience and learning curve.  The journey will help shape your unique experience and character while your vision and values will be your guide. In my Time Management training I discuss the importance of recognizing Important work from Busy work. Important work is your center of influence; busy work is your center of concern.

The world is changing so quickly that a static long-term plan is a risk. My experience and my work with Mindfulness confirms that a a short-term plan is often best, and that our values are our best guide as strive to make our vision reality.

Begin with the end in mind means learning from your past and looking to your future – it’s about making thoughtful decisions and being responsible for those decisions.  It’s about personal leadership, taking ownership of your vision and values and having the patience to plan, listen to and respect ourselves and the people we encounter.

So, one more time… what do you want your family, friends, professional and spiritual contacts to say about:

  • Your character?
  • Your contribution?

Happy communicating.

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If you enjoyed this post we think you’ll like: Improve Your Time Management SkillsGenerational Differences Training, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 1 and Effective Business Email Writing Training.

Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

Reference Material:

  • Stephen R. Covey: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People ©
  • Michael Bungay Stanier: Do More Great Work ©
  • Zindel Segal  Jon Kabat-Zin (general)
  • My experience

About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

2 Responses to 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 2

  1. Pingback: 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People: Habit 1 | Bruce Mayhew Blog: Business Communication

  2. James Thomus says:

    Thanks for the sharing of such information. we will pass it on to our

    readers. This is a great reading. Thanking you.

    International College

I’ll enjoy reading your thoughts and your experiences.

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