Quote of the Week

One of my favorite motivational writers/speakers is Stephen Covey.

His most popular book is, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.” Although geared towards the business person, it is perfectly applicable to anyone. He also made a variation of the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families”. Amazing Book.

I share the same faith as him, and his suggestions closely resemble many of the things advocated for in our faith, so it’s no surprise that his ideas come from a line of thinking and doing that I can relate to and try to align with.

His son also made an adaptation of the book, called “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” Slowly, we have been making our way through this book during Family Nights over the past year. Another amazing book.

I love his ideas, concepts and stories. I use them all the time with my kids, as well as my clients. Sadly, Stephen Covey died last year, from complications due to a head injury he sustained in a bicycle accident. My clients also can relate to this.

One of his most powerful quotes he uses makes up one of the 7 habits:

“Begin with the end in mind.

Where do you want to end up? What is your end goal? End result? Final outcome?

If you know where you want to be, then you need to start thinking of how you are going to get there. Then you can make your plan:)

I love this concept. I have explained this concept many times to my kids, and my clients, and now I am just often heard saying to them: “Work Backwards.”

For example:

If your project is due on the 28th, it needs to be done by the 26-27th. Which means you need to be editing by the 25th, which means you should be working on the rough draft on the 23-24th, which means the outline needs to done by the 22nd….


If we have to leave by 6:20 for soccer practice, you need to be putting your cleats on and getting your stuff ready by 6:10, which means you need to eat by 5:45, which means homework needs to be done by 5:40, and you think you have how much homework? 1.5 hours? So you need to start by around 4, which means you need to be back from school by 3:55. So you can hang out with your friends for about 30 minutes after school.

It’s a backwards plan really. I live by backwards planning. I like sharing the steps with my kids too so it doesn’t just look like I’m randomly telling them they need to start studying for a test, or working on that paper, or have no time to see a friend, or when they need to get ready. They can use some time management and logic and reasoning to figure it out. They can take ownership and responsibility for whatever their end result needs to be.

But “begin with the end in mind” is more than just backwards planning.

It helps you focus on the values you want to live by, the relationships you want to have, the kind of dreams you want to fulfill, the person you want to become. Living by this concept helps you make better decisions, better choices, create more traditions and live more deliberately. It helps you think about expectations and consequences. It helps you create whatever kind of life you want for yourself.

Of course, you need to have a vision of what you want “the end” to look like, which can be hard, but that is a whole other blog post:)


Quote of the Week — 16 Comments

  1. Whoa! Okay…this is GENIUS. I naturally back-plan, but I don’t know that I’ve ever taken the time to explain WHY I am saying at 3:55 they need to start their homework. It *does* sound really random when it’s anything but. But of course they push back against it. Why have I never thought to explain? This is so eye opening!! (and I’m totally picking up that book!!) –Lisa

  2. Sadly, I don’t plan enough this way. I try…but somehow things always end up being last minute. I once took a course based on the Seven Habits Book. I liked a lot of the principles, but found that it was too detailed and regimented for me. But I love the concepts, and “Begin with the end in mind” is definitely something to strive for.
    Leslie recently posted…{Looking Back} Hosting Thanksgiving DinnerMy Profile

    • It is quite detailed. I found the one for Families to be much more better for what I was looking for – much more relevant at least.

  3. I love this Leah…

    My greatest motivation in everything I encounter is asking myself “How will I want to look back on this time?”

    In a year or two from now, what memory do I want to have for how I am handling this. What will be most important?

    It makes a HUGE difference. It takes me out of the swirling moments and places me in a new perspective. Does that make sense? I always ask my friends the same question when they are facing struggles.

    Your quote reminds me of this in many ways.
    Chris Carter recently posted…Managing AnxietyMy Profile

    • I think if you keep leading by example, your family will start to see the greatness of your backwardness – and your left-handedness!

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