Covey’s 2nd Habit - Begin with the End in Mind
Covey’s 2nd Habit states that we should begin with the end in mind. We can all agree on the value of keeping the end in mind. David Allen speaks of the importance of successful outcomes. For Global Creatives, there are many potential obstacles to ‘beginning with the end in mind’, but for now I’ll focus on one.
To get to the Finish Line, Focus on your Baseline
A challenge for Global Creatives is not necessarily maintaining a vision of the ‘end line’, but on maintaining the vision of all the points between the beginning and the end. The flip side of seeing multiple opportunities is seeing multiple paths to a final destination. Distractions can multiply the number of side trips, or tangents, one takes. It reminds me of Billy from Bill Keane’s Family Circus wandering around the neighborhood when he is asked to do a simple task for his ever patient mom. Keane so eloquently illustrates this behavior with a thick dashed line indicating Billy’s circuitous route. Hmmm. Did Billy have ADHD? And why is he still 5 years old? I digress…
Where we can get into trouble is not choosing to commit to one path to completion. In the search for that golden key, we can take extreme measures to move the ball forward. We often overlook tried and true actions that have gotten us to the goal line in the past. When there is a sense of urgency, this is only gets exaggerated.
When our mind and attention is focused on extraordinary feats and on chasing stimulation, we will literally overlook the actions that will move the ball forward. I like to refer to these as baseline actions – the minimum daily actions that will get us to our desired outcome. The key word here is ‘minimum’.
I can hear you say “Cam, you want me to spend my whole day doing this mundane stuff?”
I’m talking about a couple of hours a day.
Imagine, though, if you string together baseline actions over several weeks or months. What all will you accomplish?
Here is the best part: real energy is found in these completions.
The baseline actions become the anchor in your week. Best of all, a baseline completion helps to remind the brain of the end line we are striving for. Baseline minimums are not just useful for work actions. Self-care items like exercise and sleep respond well to a baseline approach.
For example a goal may be 5 cardio workouts a week. Adding a baseline of 2 per week provides an additional safety net to maintaining best practices. Five workouts are not always feasible but 2 certainly are.
How do you identify your baselines for work? You need not look far beyond your bottom line. What actions will contribute to sustaining and growing your bottom line? If you don’t like the actions, then you may want to find a new line of work. If you can delegate these actions - such as billing, etc- then do it.
Amidst the fog of overwhelm, our vision can falter and we can lose our way to our final destination. Along with opportunities, we want to identify and address our minimum expectations for each and every day.