Part 3 of the series on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

You can find the overview of all habits in this blog. Today habit #2 in the spotlight: Begin with the end in mind

Did you ever consider what people would say at your funeral, about you and your life? Moreover, how would you like to be remembered? (*if you want, do first the powerful exercise at the end of this blog to get your answers on these questions)

Begin with the end in mind is a powerful strategy to create a life with no regrets.

Habit #2: Begin with the end in mind

It is so easy to work harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success, only to discover many years later it’s leaning against the wrong wall.

Your wake-up call

Sometimes in life, we get a wake-up call. An unplanned circumstance like an accident, illness, burnout, or the death of a loved one can knock you down. My wake-up call came in April 2018, when I met my stepbrother.

It left my very dominant left-brain knocked out completely. I ended up in a rollercoaster of awareness. Ultimately, I stood back, looked at my life, and asked: what is really important? Why am I doing what I am doing?

Will you take action?

I felt I had no other choice then to be proactive. Only I could change the circumstances I was living in. But it was not easy, and not an overnight fix. You really need to dig deep. Consider every aspect of your life. Where you are, and where you want to be. To have no regrets at your deathbed.

Plant grows from rocks

Take responsibility, nourish your values, and give your unique gift to the world

You are responsible

We are all responsible to write our own effective script. So many people reactively live the scripts handed to them by family, circumstances, cultural programming, etc. In other words, we empower other people and circumstances to live our lives by default. Do you recognize this?

What is the next step?

To see the things you want to accomplish, you need to clarify your values. You need to discover your own ineffective scripts, which are often deeply embedded habits. But these scripts come from people, not from principles.

Life-support factors

Give yourself a moment and think about where your life-support factors (security, guidance, wisdom, and power) are centered. Centeredness can be around family, spouse, work, possessions, pleasures, friends-enemies, church, or around yourself. How do you give the power to determine what you do? There might be even multiple.

Principle centeredness

Alternatively, you have the choice to center around principles. This will give you a solid foundation for the four life-support factors around you, and your values. It provides security (correct principles don’t change), wisdom and guidance (it provides maps to see where we are and where we want to go), and power (as a proactive individual you are not limited by circumstances)

Your mission in life

If you are not ready to phrase you mission yet, you may start by identifying one or several roles in your life (like being an entrepreneur, a wife, a daughter) where you would like to add value. Then describe 2-3 important results you want to accomplish.

Now think about how you can accomplish this. Be consistent, with this end goal in mind, and do every day the ONE thing that brings you closer to your goal.  That is effective living according to your values. No regrets.

In summary

Where habit 1 (be proactive) says “you are the programmer”, habit 2 (begin with the end in mind) says: “ write that program!”


*Eulogy exercise:
Sit in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed. Close your eyes and imagine you are at the funeral of a loved one, 3 years from now. You approach the coffin and look inside. It is only then that you notice that it is you laying there. The service begins. A family member, a close friend, a colleague, and a member of your community (sports, volunteer job, church, etc) give a speech. What would they say about you and your life? What would you like them to say? How would you have contributed to their lives?