Begin with the End in Mind
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Career Transition and Job Search Coach / Career "Makeover" Coach
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I am willing to bet that you are familiar with the work of Stephen Covey, and you have been exposed to his groundbreaking book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. As I have been reading Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want, by Michael Hyatt & Daniel Harkavy, I have been reminded of Covey's work. In particular, I notice a parallel message regarding Covey's 2nd Habit, "Begin with the end in mind," and Hyatt's and Harkavy's Eulogy exercise.
No one wants to talk about it, but the fact is that every one of us is going to die. That isn't dark or morbid or meant to freak you out. It is just a fact.
When you consider that life is finite and none of us knows when our "end" might come, it becomes paramount to decide to make the most of the time you have right now. It makes no sense to put off until "some day" what you want to be doing today. What if "some day" never comes?
When my father died almost 30 years ago, he died in an accident. One day he was here and fine and suddenly he wasn't. It was a shock to everyone he knew.
Ironically, at his visitation, the funeral and for days after the funeral, we heard stories of how he had popped up in different places around the community, almost like he was making the rounds one last time. My father loved to talk and tell stories, and he had apparently been all over the neighborhood all weekend before his Monday afternoon accident checking in on people and telling them one last story.
I am not trying to say that I think he knew that was what he was doing, but the fact is that for the few days before his death, he made an impact on several people by doing his rounds and telling his last joke or story.
Right now, a friend of a friend is coming to his end of life transition. He got sick and unexpectedly went into the hospital where he went into a coma. He has been on life support and the decision has been made to take him off that today. My friend mentioned yesterday, "You know, you just never know when it is going to be all over."
Indeed, no one knows...but we are guaranteed that one day it will be over for each of us.
That is why it is so critically important for you to decide if you are living the life you want to be living, or are you just living a life that feels like the best you can do because you don't have the kind of control you want or need in order to be living the life you want.
I think this is a critically important question for each of us to answer. You don't get a second chance, so why are you waiting?
I want to serve up a reminder to you that if you want to live the life you want and deserve to live, you must live it intentionally. You can't afford to let yourself drift and wish for things to get better without your taking some sort of action.
Most importantly of all, you must remember to begin with the end in mind.
What do you want to be able to tell yourself at the end of your life? Did you live well? Did you love deeply? Were you able to laugh and enjoy the tiny moments that made up the bulk of your life? Know the truth of these words:
Live with the end in mind. Live forward. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to your children to be a good example.
Begin with the end in mind.
Until next time.
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