Begin with the end in mind.
It means to live with intention, and to be clear on what that intention is. Successful entrepreneurs know that a clear picture of the end, the goal, is crucial. Whether opening a new store or starting out as a freelancer, a proper business plan tells where to invest your most precious resources: time and money.
It makes sense to begin with the end in mind, to decide where you’re going before you start.
What’s a little trickier is taking the time to stop and seek directions when you’re already flying down the highway.
My friend Karen wrote recently about a brainstorming session she had with herself . She’s a self-employed writer, speaker, and photographer and is in complete control of the direction in which her business runs. Her solo strategizing allowed her to cut ideas that weren’t working and come up with new ones, better ones. As Karen said:
"sometimes — especially because I work for myself, and have no one to answer to but me — it makes sense to take a day from my usual routine, fly up to 30,000 feet, check out the view of what I’m doing with my life and my work from up there, and make adjustments accordingly"
I realized it’s been a really long time since I’ve done that professionally. I suspect most of us don’t often stop and readjust where we’re at - and more importantly, where we’re going - once we’re already in motion. How can we? There are bills to pay, deadlines to meet, and dinners to cook. Like Newton said, it’s not easy to stop a ball that’s already rolling - and most of us are rolling all the time!
But things change. Tiny adjustments made here and there can throw us way off track without us even noticing. We can be hurtling in the completely wrong direction or spinning in circles, but we don’t even realize it because all of our attention is dedicated to keeping moving.
I detest the idea of stopping. I don’t want to waste time evaluating and recalculating, and I absolutely do not want to even consider having to scrap old ideas that I’ve invested time into (even if I do find they aren’t working.) I cringe at the idea of having to backtrack, but as another smart writer pointed out once, sometimes you have to take a few steps back in order to secure the progress that’s already been made .
Journeys are rarely comprised of a single straight line. They require turns both gentle and sharp, stops for refueling, and even the occasional backtrack. But hey, those are the makings of a great ride.