- In your mind’s eye, see yourself going to the funeral of a loved one. As you walk into the
chapel, notice the flowers, the soft organ music. You see the faces of friends and family; you
feel the shared sorrow of losing, the joy of having known.
- As you reach the front of the room and look inside the casket, you suddenly come face4o-face
with yourself. This is your funeral, three years from now. Take a seat and look down at the
program in your hand. The first speaker is from your extended family; the second is a close
friend; the third is an acquaintance from your business life; the fourth is from your church or
some community-service organization where you’ve worked.
- What character would you like each of these speakers to have seen in you – what difference
- would you like to have made in their lives?
- The second habit of effectiveness is to begin with the end in mind. It means to know where
- you’re going so as to understand where you are now, and take your next step in the right
- direction. It’s ma7’ingly easy to get caught up in an activity trap in the busyness of life, to work
- harder and harder at climbing the ladder of success only to discover it’s leaning against the
- wrong wall. We may be very efficient by working frenetically and heedlessly, but we will be
- effective only when we begin with the end result in mind.
- The best way to start is to develop a personal mission statement. It describes what we want to
- be (character) and to do (achievements). The following is from my friend Rolfe Kerr’s personal mission statement:
- Succeed at home first;
- Seek and merit divine help;
- Remember the people involved;
- Develop one new proficiency a year,
- Hustle while you wait;
- Keep a sense of humor.
- You could call a personal mission statement a sort of written constitution – its power lies in the
- fact that it’s fundamentally changeless. The key to living with change is retaining a sense of
- who you are and what you value.
- Start developing your mission statement, like Kerr’s, from a core of principles. I mention this
- because all of us are drawn away from real effective ness when we make our center something
- other than our principles.
- Thriving on change requires a core of changeless values.
- Being spouse centered might seem natural and proper. But experience tells a different story.
- Over the years, I have been called on to help many troubled marriages; the complete
- emotional dependence that goes with being spouse centered often makes both partners so
- vulnerable to each other’s moods that they become resentful.
- The self-esteem of someone money centered can’t weather the ups and downs of economic
- life; money-centered people often put aside family or other priorities, assuming everyone will
- understand that economic demands come first. They don’t always, and we can damage our
- most important relationships by thinking that they do.
- Being pleasure centered cheats one of lasting satisfactions. Too much time spent at leisure, on
- the paths of least resistance, insure that our mind and spirit become lethargic, and our heart unfulfilled.
- We want to center our lives on correct principles. Unlike other centers based on people and
- things subject to frequent change, correct principles don’t change. We can depend on them.
- Your mission statement may take you some weeks to write, from first draft to final form; it’s a
- concise expression of your innermost values and directions. Even then, you will want to review
- it regularly and make minor changes as the years bring new insights. Be guided by Vicktor
- Frankl, who says we detect rather than invent our mission in life:
- “Everyone has his own specific vocation in life
- therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated.”
- Organizations need mission statements. So do families, so that they do not simply lurch from
- emotional crisis to crisis – but instead know they have principles that will support them. The
- key is to have each member of the group contribute ideas and words to the final product That
- contribution alone generates real commitment