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"It's not where you start, it is where you finish that counts." - Zig Ziglar
"Begin with the end in mind." - Dr. Stephen Covey
These have been two of my own personal "Go To" quotes for many years. These were quick hitting powerful reminders that helped me shape my goals and to define success of the opportunities and projects I was involved in at the time. Basically, knowing what success looks like before we even begin.
As I have been speaking with different groups of people and individuals recently, it has become increasingly apparent that too many of us do not even know or understand what success looks like in the future or what they are hoping to accomplish in the near term, let alone down the road.
Now before the Ziglar and Covey fans reading this column shout heresy, you should remember that one of Mr. Ziglar's other quotes is this, "People who never take step one, can never take step two." At first glance, these quotes may seem to contradict one another, but they really do not. The truth is that they complement each other quite nicely.
Let's think about this for a minute. It is awesome to have a vision for the future, I highly encourage it. What I am hearing from some of you is that the world is changing so much and with such frequency that it is hard to think about goals and future plans. As difficult as it is for some of us, this may still be short-sighted thinking. Maybe we can agree that it is important to have all; short-term goals, mid-range goals, and long-term goals. Before we can set any of our goals, long or short, we do at least have to know what we hope to accomplish at any level. The excuse or cop-out is thinking that it's OK to justify, explain, or defend the position of, "I don't know what it is that I want to be or do in this life."
So now we go full circle, do we start with the end in mind or do we begin with the beginning in mind? You may already have your own system for this, but if you don't I would suggest looking at all three types of goals and write down only one thing in each area. Simply fill in the blank: My one short-term goal is ______. My one mid-range goal is ______. My one long-term goal is _______. Really, do not overcomplicate this, just think of one thing for each level of your goals. And if we want to get even more specific, my immediate goal is _______.
It is a pity if we are lost or get lost in the blur of a fuzzy future because we may never take step one. All we need is one little thought that we can build upon. Just a seed of an idea that motivates us enough to take only the first step. And when we do, steps two, three, four, and more will follow.
So how about you? Do you know how to get started and are already well on your way to achieving your hopes and dreams? Or are you in the place where you need to start with that first step? Either way I would love to hear all about it at email@example.com, and when we can begin with the beginning in mind, it really will be a better than good day.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.
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