Everyone has their own specific vocation or mission in life…Therefore they cannot be replaced, nor can their life be repeated.

 Everyone’s task is as unique as their specific opportunity to implement it.

Victor Frankl 

What is our personal legacy to the world? What does it means to “begin with the end in mind”?  In this chapter Dr. Covey asks us to visualize viewing our own funeral. Now think about the people who will be speaking at the funeral…our friends, siblings, children, former co-workers…what are things we would expect them to say about us. An interesting analogy quoted many times in this type setting is …what people remember most is not the things you have, the honors you received or the positions you held…what they remember most is how they felt when they were around us. It is about the relationships more than anything else, the memories that we have made together. What are the memories you are making with the people that you say you care most about? 

This does not mean that we don’t aspire to find, nurture and walk out our unique gifts and talents. But it does mean analyzing how we use those gifts and talents to enhance the relationships we say are most important to us. Covey suggests looking at the roles you play in others lives. To begin with the end in mind is to approach our roles…parent, friend, family member, coworker or community leader with your values clear and your destination directly in front of you. Which roles are most important to you? Do you put time into nurturing those roles and utilizing your talents and gifts to enhance the lives of others?

Another challenge is to create for ourselves the leader we most want to be, through “personal leadership”. It is important to understand the difference between leaders and managers, both are needed, however, each has a very distinct role. Covey quotes, Peter Drucker “Management is doing things right”…”Leadership is doing the right thing.”  The analogy used is to imagine 3 sets of people are going forward into the jungle. The first set of workers are clearing the way, cutting down all the brush in front as they make their way through the jungle, these are the producers. The second set of workers are sharpening the tools, designing manuals and best procedures or practices on how to get this done, these are the managers. The third person is atop a high tree calling down to everyone “wrong jungle“…the two other groups of workers are continuing as they shout back “but we are making such good progress”. Sound familiar? We need to be looking overhead to make sure we are in the right jungle. Another way of thinking of it is to make sure our ladders are not leaned up to the wrong building.

The final exercise to create your person mission statement by identifying our center. The centered roles are;

Spouse centered

Family centered

Money centered

Work centered

Pleasure centered

Possession centered

Friend centered

Enemy centered

Church centered

Self centered

The idea is that most of us fluctuate from one center to the next, often borrowing strength from one to make up for the weakness of another. The key is to “create one clear center from which you consistently derive a high degree of security, guidance, wisdom and power…which empowers you to give harmony and productivity to every part of your life. Each person’s center is uniquely theirs and expressed or acted upon differently.

A principle centered person does not act swayed by ever changing emotions or situations but has a plan based upon their value based priorities and moves forward to their unique solution and destination. They look first at the balanced whole-the family or work needs…and choses the best alternative “consciously and knowledgeably”.

Dr. Covey refers back often to Victor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning”. In the book we learn that although a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp, he has also been trained as a psychologist. His training has taught him in Freud’s determinist theory. This being that a person’s life is determined and directed since childhood and the person’s childhood affects the rest of their life. However, Frankl observed that it was not a person’s childhood that directed a prisoners  survival in the camp but what they looked forward to. If they could see an ending where they did make it out of the camp…if they saw their purpose beyond the camp and  held on to that vision and destination…they were more likely to survive. However, once a prisoner gave up hope and could not see a future, they began to die, Frankl observed.

So we need to visualize our destinations and keep in front of us what we know in our hearts is most important. When it comes to fitness, remember that keeping our bodies healthy and fit is a gift we not only give to ourselves but to those we love.  So lets begin by making some special memories today. Why not take a walk with someone special today.

Best wishes always,

Max

Picture taken by Katherine Logan