Why NOT to Begin With the End in Mind

You’ve probably heard the Stephen Covey quote “Begin With the End in Mind”.

I disagree.

Whenever I ask a group of people the first word that comes to mind when I say the word “Vision”, someone always says “future”.

So it makes sense that most people think the Visioning process begins with thinking about their future.

And that’s why most Visioning workbooks and exercises fall in line with Covey’s advice and give you a few blank lines to start by writing about your perfect future.

The problem with that approach is that a) Staring at a blank page and being prompted to articulate your long-term Vision can feel pretty overwhelming 

and b) If you jump straight to the “end” it’s often not what you actually have in mind.  It’s surface-level goals and vague aspirations instead of the core of what you truly want your life to look and feel like.

The approach I use to support my clients is that before you even begin to think about your future, you’ve got to understand your past.  In the process of exploring how you got to where you are, you uncover your patterns and their impact.  As you connect the dots, you find yourself saying things like: 

  • “I never realized it, but while I’ve brought 2 kids into the world, paid off all my debt and really focused on my health, the only things I’ve used to define my self-worth are work-related. 
  • “I’ve always felt like I “should” be more productive, but wind up procrastinating instead. I never realized that I resist ‘productivity’ because it was such a loaded term growing up in my family.”  
  • “I’ve always wanted a close relationship with my brother, but looking back he was just never able to connect like that.  It’s actually relieving to stop wishing it would be different and embrace it for what it is.”

Without this crucial step, you may have begun with an end in mind that was centered around 10x’d career goals, next-level productivity and an Instagrammable #bestsiblingsever relationship with your bro. 

And as a result, you may end up wasting tons of time and energy striving for things that matched up with your long-time aspirations but actually got your farther away from where you really wanted to go.

That’s why I always coach my clients to begin with their past in mind.  When you do that, you’ll go past the surface and peel back the layers. You’ll end up with a Vision that gets to the heart of what you truly want to create, and the tools to navigate challenges along the way.

I’m all about a step-by-step process which is why the methodology I’ve developed builds on itself.  So after you’ve created a solid foundation by understanding how you got here, you’ll delve into the next phase of the Visioning process – taking stock of where you are now.  More on that in a blog post coming soon!

In the meantime, I hope this approach gives you some food for thought.  Are there any surface-level goals you’ve been carrying around that might deserve a deeper look?  If so, think about them through the perspective of your past and start peeling back the layers.  

Ready to gain clarity on the future you truly want to create, but not sure you want to go it alone?  I’m opening up a few spots for 1:1 coaching partnerships in June. I’ll guide you through the Visioning process every step of the way, supporting and challenging you to dig deeper and get farther than you would by yourself.

One of the best ways to see if we’re a good fit is a free Visionary Decision-Making Session (my gift to you!)  Together we’ll help you get clear on the biggest decision you’re facing right now so you can stop going in circles, get unstuck and move forward with confidence.

>>Claim your free session here

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