Begin With The End In Mind

The beginning of the year is a great time for self assessment and the setting of new goals. Often these goals center around improving current jobs and careers or obtaining new jobs and new careers.

Many clients struggle at this time of year with these challenges. They’ve taken stock of where they are and have decided they want something different…a promotion within their current employer, a new job with a new employer, a new career altogether.

In our initial discussions, we spend a brief amount of time with their current situation: What do they enjoy most about their current work? What is least appealing? We quickly move on, though, to their aspirations: What would they like to do next? This is where most struggle. They’re just not sure.

So we get them to talk about how they see themselves in their next role. Are they part of a team? Are they leading the team? Are they leading the organization? What type of organization are they working in? Large, small, somewhere in between? What markets or industries are they interested in pursuing?

All these questions are intended to get them thinking ahead. Where do they see themselves next? What do they see themselves doing? Can they develop a mental model of where they would like to be? The idea is that if they can develop that mental model, then their reality will follow.

The late Stephen Covey outlined this concept in his famous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. “Begin with the end in mind” was so important that he listed it as the second habit. “If you don’t make a conscious effort to visualize who you are and what you want in life, then you empower other people and circumstances to shape you and your life by default.”

By looking ahead at what you would like to accomplish; how you would like be seen; you get to set the direction to a better job and career.

So, over to you. Can you visualize where you would like to be in your career? Does that vision set a course for you to follow? Can you begin with the end in mind?


This post originally appeared in the Portland Press Herald on January 26, 2015.


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