I Blog For Books

31 January 2009

Begin With The End In Mind

Steven Covey wrote an extremely successful book in 1989 called "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People." Subtitled "Powerful Lessons in Personal Change," this book exploded into the workforce and became a must read for management trainees (and established managers) in many organizations. If you've not read the book, I highly recommend it. Rereading it gave me one of those "aha" moments ... (written 7 Feb 2008)

I could write pages and pages on how Covey's "7 Habits" affected me, both personally and professionally. For some reason today, I picked up the book again and was drawn to habit 2, called Begin With The End In Mind. Page 96 of Covey's work starts you on this journey, and he invites you to find a solitary spot to begin your understanding of beginning with the end in mind. To summarize, envision a loved one's funeral: the location, the music, the surroundings, the attendance. Look down into the casket ... at your own face. If it were your end, what would your eulogy be? Personally and professionally, what would those sending you off say?

The seminar I attended just so happened to be during a three week training period in September 2000. Early on a Thursday morning of my first or second week, my granddaddy passed away. My employer immediately gave me leave to come home for the funeral (I was in Tennessee at the time), and told me simply to return when I was able. It was quite the eye-opener to return for the part of this seminar that emphasized the development of self!

What did I learn? I learned that the only person who controls my destiny is me. The only person who can change or truly influence the way I am perceived, is me. It does not matter what I drive, where I live, how I dress, nor where I worship ... if I do not believe in the power of Jesus to save me and grant me eternal life, there will be no entrance into Heaven. By accepting that Jesus is real and He is my savior, Heaven's doors are open for me. That change could be made by no one except myself. I can't believe for my mom, nor can I believe for my children - accepting Jesus is an individual choice.

How, then, does this tie in to Covey's habits? If I wish to spend eternity in Heaven (the end), I must start my journey with that ultimate goal in mind. By accepting Jesus as my savior, I have opened Heaven's door. To make sure that I stay on that path, I must keep that "end" in mind. Trust in Jesus, believe in His power, and live my life as He would have me do.

Jesus, thank you for the saving grace freely offered to me simply by believing in you. Empower me to share that light, and help me to live my life so that it speaks of you.

"The salvation of the righteous comes from the LORD; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The LORD helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him." ~Psalm 37:39-40 NIV

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