Change the Way you Live Through Problem Solving
The journey to launch my Women Taking the Lead podcast has been a tremendous learning and growth opportunity for me, and it’s also inspired me to share what I believe are some of the most effective strategies for overcoming obstacles.
I’ve covered strategies like improving your mindset and achieving a laser-sharp focus, and in this post, I’m going to discuss a strategy I know absolutely has the potential to change the way you live, literally.
Begin With the End in Mind
In his famed book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen Covey explains that beginning with the end in mind – the ability to mentally visualize what you cannot presently see with your physical eyes – is a key habit of successful people.
Covey says this habit is rooted in the imagination and based on the belief that all things are created twice – first mentally, then physically.
The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.
–Stephen R. Covey
It’s all about choice: if you don’t make a conscious effort – a choice – to create a mental picture of who you are and what you want out of life, you essentially give your power away to other people and circumstances. In other words, you allow people and events to shape you and your life by default.
Start Where You Start…
Now that you know one of the top habits of highly successful people, how can you apply it to your life? You start where you start – and work your way up from there.
Covey suggests incorporating this habit into your daily life by creating a Personal Mission Statement, which will become your own individual success plan. Not only does it put a spotlight on your own visions and goals, but it also reaffirms who you are and sets a strong focus on your goals. Eventually, this personal statement will help you catapult your mental ideas – your visualizations – into the real (physical) world.
Developing an outline like this puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life and helps you reclaim lost energy and power that you might have been throwing away to external circumstances, people, and events.
…And Work Your Way Up
In a post featured on Franklin Covey’s blog, author David Marcum acknowledges that having a mission seems “so old-school”, but asserts that it’s actually quite easy to drift away from what matters most to you.
We’ve all been there – one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you’ve drifted far off course – and away from your values. Some people avoid even thinking about “the next level” because the thought of what it might take to get there is simply too overwhelming. Others push forward full steam ahead, without stopping to visualize first.
So, think about what your “next level looks like, what it feels like, and what it means to you. When you think about that next level, how are you operating – what is life like in that place? Really get very specific about your ending point.
Change, the One Constant
Did you know? The late Stephen Covey used to teach the Beginning with the End in Mind principle each week! It didn’t matter where in the world he was – he still reviewed his goals each week in the context of his mission statement.
And, Covey would review his mission statement from time to time to ensure his daily actions and decisions were still in alignment with his mission.
The most important thing that I think applies to everyone is that Covey also changed his mission as his life changed, sometimes affected by big life events. So, don’t think that developing a mission statement is a do-it-once-and-you’re-done type of task.
Instead, be open not only to reviewing your mission periodically, but also updating or even changing it entirely based upon your life circumstances. After all, the one constant in our world is change…
Enjoy the Journey
If someone were to ask if we want to take our game to the next level in life, most of us would say yes without hesitation. We’re life-long learners, achievers, motivated go-getters.
We’re on an adventure to gain more experience, expertise, success, wisdom, recognition, or the ability to give back. When our journey here comes to an end, we want to know we gave it our all.
Yes, there will always be obstacles, no matter who you are or where you’re at in your life. When you reach that “next level”, there will be hurdles to overcome along the way, and new challenges that present themselves once you get there.
When you face those obstacles, keep your eye on the “end” – stay focused on your goal. And most of all, enjoy the journey!
Tell us: If you’ve applied this strategy to your own life, what impact has it had?