Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Begin With The End

It would not be uncommon for me to ask my wife out for a date. It also would not be uncommon for her to say, "yes." Then she would ask this question: "Where are we going?" I would describe to her some great restaurant, a picturesque park or, perhaps, a happening event. She then would hop in the car with me and off we'd go.

Now, I am a guy. I would have a vague idea of where I was headed, but would sometimes be off a street or two. It was at these times my wife would turn, smile and question, "Are we lost yet?"

Of course, the answer was an emphatic, "NO!"

So it was not a surprise I received a GPS as a Christmas gift. Now I have a woman who asks, "Are we lost yet?" and another who gently recalculates my way to the final destination. Our trips go much faster if I enter the ending point into the GPS before I start.

Stephen R. Covey writes in his book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that highly effective people begin with an end in mind. What he means is that we shape our own future if we establish a vision for how we want to end.

I like that. To envision the end before we begin works in many situations we guys come across: from building a birdhouse to remodeling a bathroom. If we know how it is to look in the end, we move through our project faster -- and more efficiently -- than if we did not know when to end.

I would say that could also apply to our relationship with our spouse and family.

When I was dating my wife we spent many hours in conversation about what we wanted our marriage to look like. We wanted to have Christ in the center of our relationship; we wanted our children to know we loved one another; we wanted to work for the greater good; we wanted to make a difference in at least one person's life, and we wanted to be active in our local church. So we began our relationship with a vision of how we wanted to develop it. In essence we began with planning the end: the goal. The vision of how we wanted our marriage to develop now shapes our activities and our action.

Guys, if you have no end in sight before you begin then any destination will suffice. And often any destination is not much of a destination at all.

So, you see, it does make sense to start with the end in mind.

Where do you want to end?

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