Start With The End In Mind

Steven Covey was the first person I remember hearing say, “Start with the end in mind.” I do this instinctively in my work, but until a few years ago, I had never applied this principle to my life.

When I started working with my coach, Daniel Harkavy, one of the first activities he asked me to do was to identify the primary “accounts” in my life. He suggested five to seven as a good number. Here’s what I came up with:

Faith – Fitness – Family – Influence – Finances

(I know, it would have been great to find a word for influence that starts with the letter F.)
Identifying the accounts wasn’t the hard part of the assignment. Next, he told me to block one day, eight full hours, to answer the following question:

What do I want to be true in each of these accounts 30 years from now?

That’s starting with the end in mind! He asked me to write a narrative for each account with as much detail as I could manage. He also asked me to write an explanation or defense of why I wanted what I had written to become a reality.
This was an extremely powerful exercise for me. In some ways it changed my life, and in other ways it defined my life.
As Daniel explained after I’d finished this exercise, the rest is merely execution. All I have to do is live my life so the things I wrote – my 30-year vision – become reality. My personal planning process is built on this concept. Here are the key steps in my process:
1.  Review my 30-year vision – I call it my Life Plan. I want to see if any of my aspirations have changed. The Life Plan is a dynamic document.
2.  Then I ask myself the following questions:

What did I learn in the last 12 months?

What did I accomplish in the last 12 months?

What did I fail to accomplish that I planned to do and why?

(I’ll write more about what I’ve learned about myself this year in an upcoming post.)
3.  Then, I often select an area of personal focus for the year – some call this a “Deep Dive.” I was inspired when I learned this was a practice of the legendary basketball coach, John Wooden. One year, his personal focus was rebounding. Imagine, a year of studying rebounding - that blew my mind!
4.  Next, I set a few goals for each account and the appropriate strategies and tactics.
5.  Finally, I write it all down. Last year, I also created a mind map to summarize my plan. I keep it on a card in my pocket and use it as the screen saver on my computer as a constant reminder of what I’m trying to accomplish.
I know I’ve included a lot of details here, but I don’t want you to miss the big idea: The 30-year perspective has made a huge impact on my life. It not only captures my heart, it is the heart of my personal planning process.
Start with the end in mind![GLS_Shield]
Have you started working on your personal plan for 2013? If not, a 30-year look would be a great place to start!

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Start With The End In Mind « Arshad Parvez

10 years ago

[...] working with my coach, Daniel Harkavy, one of the first activities he asked me [...]… [click link for complete article] Share this:Like this:LikeBe the first to like [...]

Daniel Harkavy

10 years ago

You make coaching fun Mark! It is so rewarding for us coaches when we see our clients fully adopt what we discuss, benefit from the improved thinking or actions and then share it with others. You are a difference maker and I am grateful to have you as a client and friend!

Five Blogs – 15 November 2012 « 5blogs

10 years ago

[...] Start With The End In Mind Written by: Mark Miller [...]

Frontline Festival-April 2013 Feedback and Coaching Edition

10 years ago

[...] his post, Start With the End in Mind, Mark Miller encourages us to look 30 years out to plan for success in 5 key areas of our lives [...]

My great Wordpress blog | Just another WordPress site | Create a Better New Year

9 years ago

[…] Start with the End in Mind […]

My great Wordpress blog | Just another WordPress site | I Love it When a Plan Falls Apart

9 years ago

[…] week, I wrote a post entitled, Start with the End in Mind. It was about the importance of taking the long view when creating a personal development plan. […]

Great Leaders Serve | By Mark Miller | When You’re Dead…

8 years ago

[…] One of the best activities I’ve ever done was to sit down and think deeply about what I want to be true in my life in 30 years. If you’ve not tried something like this, I highly recommend it. I wrote a post about my process entitled, Start with the End in Mind. […]


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