The framework for this episode is inspired by the book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey. This book has been a touchstone in my life for about 25 years, and when I apply the principles in this book, my life has gone better. I have found that this book is one of the most reliably realistic books about how life actually works. In this episode, we are covering the second habit of the seven as it pertains to goal setting, “begin with the end in mind”. The first habit, “be proactive”, was covered in episode 284.
Imagine the VERY end…
Imagine a funeral of a loved one. It’s actually YOUR funeral, 3 years from today.
Who are they for you (in each category)?
What would they say about you and your life?
What character would you LIKE them to see in you?
What contributions would you want them to remember?
What difference would you like to have made in that sphere of your life?
Great goal setting starts with connecting with your Values
“You touched your fundamental values at the heart of your Circle of Influence”
Focus on the things you can change, and you don’t worry about the things you can’t.
“Habit 2 applies to many circumstances…the most basic application of ‘begin with the end in mind is to begin…with…the end of your life as…the criterion by which everything else is examined.”
If you are unhappy with what people at your funeral would say about you, you need to reverse engineer your actions to get to the point where you are happy. For example, many business people are known more for their philanthropic work than for their careers, such as Bill Gates and Warren Buffet. This leads to them being remembered for their positive financial legacy.
“Begin with the end in mind is based on [this] principle that all things are created twice. For example,
Take the construction of a home. You work with ideas until you get a clear image of what you want to build. Then you reduce it to blueprint and develop construction plans and eventually, the building will get made.The carpenter’s rule is ‘Measure twice; cut once.’” This is very important when it comes to sourcing. When it comes to private labelling and custom products, getting something made for you that is not exactly right is a very expensive error.
“[C]learly define what you’re trying to accomplish. You…think through the product…in terms of your target market, then you organize all the elements – financial, research and development, operations, marketing, personnel, physical facilities and so on – to meet that objective.” Your job isn’t to find the perfect killer product, it’s to find out what people want, and then go and work very hard to get it.
“Most business failures begin with the first creation, with problems such as undercapitalisation, misunderstanding of the market, or lack of a business plan.” This has been true in nearly every Amazon business I’ve worked with. You win when you understand your target market better than everyone else. And you have to be prepared to hit the ground running when you launch in order to have the most success, which has to be planned for.
“…all things are created twice, but not all…by conscious design. …if we do not develop our own self-awareness and become responsible for first creations…we reactively live the scripts handed to us by family, associates, other people’s agendas…” If you don’t develop a clear plan, you’ll end up with a reactive and panic-driven plan. The act of being intentional means you are more likely to end up in the right direction.
“Habit 2 [Begin with the end in mind] is based on…personal leadership… Leadership is not management. Management is the second creation…leadership has to come first. Management is a bottom line focus: How can I best accomplish certain things?
Leadership deals with the top line: What are the things I want to accomplish?”
Define what you want very clearly. It’s important to know what you want. Otherwise, you will never get it.
‘Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things’
Covey uses the jungle metaphor to differentiate between producers, managers, and leaders.
Producers – people with machetes, cutting through the jungle
Managers – sharpen machetes, muscle training, work schedule, paying producers
Leader – climbs tallest tree and shouts “Wrong jungle!”
“The…rapidly changing environment…makes effective leadership more critical than ever. We often don’t know what the trail ahead will be like or what we will need to go through it. …But an inner compass will always give us direction.” Amazon is a very rapidly changing environment. It is critical to look at the niche you are entering and know if you can win.
“Effectiveness – often even survival – does not depend solely on how much effort we expend, but on whether or not the effort we expend is in the right jungle.”
“…proactivity is based on…self-awareness…The two additional…endowments that…expand our proactivity and …leadership…areimagination and conscience… Because we already live with many scripts that have been handed to us, the process of writing our own script is actually more a process of “rescripting” or paradigm shifting.”For example, many people who have been employed for a long time have an assumption that the company owes something to you. They are neither out to help you or protect you, they’re their for their own interest. Once you understand the focus of the company, you can use that to your advantage.
“The most effective way I know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based.” Going through the process of developing, and creating, a mission statement is a very valuable thing.
“rapid change burns out a large number of people…They become reactive and essentially give up, hoping that the things that happen to them will be good.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.” This could not be truer for Amazon sellers since this is one of the most rapidly changing business environments the world has ever seen.
Covey, Stephen R.. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (p. 113). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.
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