You may have heard these words from Stephen Covey in his classic book The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, or from a friend or mentor. But it’s so easy to forget! And here’s why:
We fall in love with the how.
Imagine: you enjoyed working with your friend on a community project. You sparked ideas, shared a goal, and celebrated your accomplishments. Wouldn’t it be great to do something else together? And since you’re starting a business, maybe your friend would make a good partner!
Before you know it you are off and running, starting a business with your friend.
You’ve fallen in love with the HOW of working with your friend. In essence, your goal has become working with your friend rather than starting a business. This is what I call getting things hind parts before and it rarely leads to a good outcome.
When you get clear about the difference between the END vs. MEANS (or how), you can begin to identify the essential things you have to do to reach the end (or outcome).
The problem with starting with your HOW instead of your END is similar to that feeling when you’ve been swimming in a long pool or a lake, and at some point you pause, look out at your horizon point and realize you are way off course.
It’s hard to keep the end in mind when we are caught up in the action. We need to constantly check to make sure the action is taking us where we want to go.
When I work with businesses, I often find they set strategic priorities for the quarter, but when the next quarter rolls around, they’ve been so busy doing the everyday work they’ve neglected to say focused on actions that will make the business more profitable and competitive.
The HOW trap can take us off target from what we really want to do. So whether it’s finding a new career, reaching a financial goal, or making time for your family, be clear about the END, and then make sure you do what gets you closer to that outcome.
Until next Tuesday.