“Begin with the end in mind.”
– Stephen R. Covey
In his book “7 Habits Of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey introduces the idea of beginning with the end in mind. If you haven’t already, give this totes awesomest book a read!
What this means is that you create a vision in your mind what you want to do, be or achieve. I know, this is getting really “The Secret“-ish fast.
But think of it as a blueprint for a building. We first need to see it in our mind, then put the pen to paper (or CAD the hell out of it!) and decide on which materials etc.
You can use the same principles whether it’s got something to do with your work, personal goals or relationships.
Close your eyes (hey, not yet!) and imagine what you want the end result to look like.
Then you start working backwards.
What did you do right before finalizing the project? What steps did you take to get there? What kind of people did you surround yourself with? What tools did you use?
Usually we can quite easily imagine it. As long as we don’t let interfering with thoughts like “It’s too hard”, “I can’t think of anything” or “I’m afraid” stop us. Accept that they’re there and just keep moving.
Even if the things seem stupid it’s good to get it down on paper. Some of it may prove valuable later on.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself:
1) What am I good at?
Usually you can find a theme to the things you’re drawn to and receive praise for. If you’re still having a hard time figuring this out then just try different things. You’ll start seeing what works and what doesn’t.
2) What do I love to do?
Again, you’re probably going to find a red thread between the things you enjoy doing if you just keep looking at them. What do your interests have in common?
3) Where does what I love to do and am good at intersect?
This is the part where people get a little stuck. You end up looking for job titles and not finding the perfect match. Well, you do have the power to invent your own title.
We have jobs today that didn’t even exist 10 years ago and jobs tend to evolve. Being a developer or engineer today isn’t the exact same job it was just a couple of years back. Shit changes. Fast.
4) Who can I help by doing what I love and am good at?
Find out what kind of people you would be serving with your skilled-and-passionate-as-a-mofo self.
5) Where do they hang out?
Once you figure this one out, you just go there and offer your services. The trick here is to listen. That way you’ll start to understand how to put your skills to the best possible use for them. There’s always something of value you can bring to the table.
You’re playing the long game.
Now, this doesn’t mean that they’ll start shitting rainbows (which could be a sign of indigestion, consult your physician) and kissing your feet. They might very well go Grumpy Cat on you.
What it does mean is that you’ve set yourself up for the best possible shot at creating a connection rather than a simple exchange of services.
However, if an exchange of services is all you want and need then have at it!
Go ahead and ask as many people as possible. The law of large numbers will eventually tip in your favor. There’s nothing wrong with playing the short game either.
Here’s a cost/benefit analysis of it:
1) Playing the Long Game
Cost: Takes a lot of time and effort.
Benefit: A better shot at creating long term relationships. These’ll usually get you through the hard times too.
2) Playing the Short Game
Cost: A lot of time and usually a lack of loyalty.
Benefit: You don’t have to put in as much effort and the possibility of rejection doesn’t sting as bad.
Fair warning, the following can be a really powerful experience for some people and for others it may cause some serious pain. Do this with care. It’s not for everybody.
If you really want to bum yourself out for a minute then you could go really big picture with this.
Begin with the ultimate end in mind: Death.
Imagine yourself lying in the comfort of your bed. You’re just about to leave the game for good.
You’ve had a great, great life. Who do you want to be there? What do you want them to say? What do you want to tell them?
Trace back the key moments that made your life so great. What were they? Why did you make those choices?
Now, doing these things doesn’t mean that things’ll automatically go your way and end up exactly how you envisioned it. It’s not a precise map where you go from point A to point B in a straight line.
There are often unforeseen obstacles and you might even have to take a couple of steps back to ultimately make that leap.
Hell, maybe once you’ve made the leap you realize: “That was fun! But now I think I wanna go somewhere else instead.”
While we might not have the map or final destination completely fixed, we can atleast get our compass pointing in the direction we want to go.
Have a kick-ass ₢eative day!