Begin with the end in mind
7 habits of highly effective people - Dr.Stephen Covey
No matter what we do, we always want the best outcome. None of us hope for a second best or 'good enough' outcome. However, its not always possible to score a perfect 10 for each and every task we undertake. But how can we improve our chances of getting the best possible result?
By 'beginning our tasks with the end in mind'. Quite simply, by establishing a clear end goal at the very start of a project, then taking the appropriate steps daily to make it happen. It's vital to prepare an action plan you can implement with situational awareness and consciousness.
If we want to be healthy, we have to follow healthy habits with consistency, have regular check ups and make necessary adjustments to our lifestyle. If we want to stay safe from Covid-19, we have to follow the preventive measures, even if we are vaccinated or are waiting to be.
If we want to run a marathon, do a 100km Oxfam Trail Walker or a short casual hike on the hills, to complete it successfully we have to make preparations (sturdy shoes, food and water, weather appropriate clothing) and set off with the finish point in mind to help spur us forward.
This practice applies to anything in life. If we want to be remembered as a kind and loving person, we must be kind and loving consistently in our daily life to the people we hope will remember us that way.
It's not any different in shipping, or any profession for that matter. A crew that navigates a cargo ship into a harbour wants to berth safely to start cargo operations. A captain who navigates a cruise ship into Santorini wants to deliver his passengers to shore safely and smoothly. And yet some ships collide with one another, run aground in the channel, hit bridges, pollute harbours, and much more.
If a crew overhauls machinery at port only to realize on departure that the overhaul was not done correctly, the ship will have to be stopped so the job can be attempted again, adding to workload and causing loss of reputation. What caused the error - was it avoidable negligence and complacency? Were they not focused on the task at hand?
How would we like it if a surgeon operates on our heart, then calls us two days later to say the procedure must be repeated as it wasn’t done correctly?
All of us seek pristine results in life. We want the cup of tea we drink to be made how we like it. We expect our sports teams to play their best and win the game. We may even demand perfection from the staff we manage at work. What about our own personal actions? Don't we also need to give them our best shot?
Why not begin each and every task with the end in mind? Wouldn't we benefit from the extra energy and enthusiasm that comes with visualizing our end goal, planning our actions and implementing them with passion? By being situationally aware, we can consciously focus on manifesting our goal, changing course as necessary to achieve key milestones. If we start with an end goal and monitor our own progress, we will be less inclined to blame luck, destiny, others, external situations etc. if our goal slips out of reach.
Even if we failed in getting the desired outcome, we should be proud that we tried. If we failed, it’s not all bad, as failure is simply a learning opportunity to find better solutions, adjust our course and leap forward to phenomenal success.
Isn't it a totally win-win situation to begin with the end in mind?