This post is the 4th in a series of posts where I've been studying the book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey from a Christian entrepreneur’s perspective, and I'm summarizing and Biblically backing up each of the seven habits. Scroll to the end of this article for links to the entire series.
“Begin with the end in mind” is the second habit of the best-seller, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey.
So what does the Bible have to say about beginning with the end in mind, and how does this apply to our journey as Christian entrepreneurs?
Do you ever feel like you're a slave to your business? Are you constantly exhausted, wondering when business life will be easier? Maybe you need to develop the habit of beginning with the end in mind.
In 2021, I partnered with a friend to start an agency focused exclusively on the needs of charter schools. However, before entering into the partnership, I clearly communicated to my partner two important things:
In one year, I'm going to find my replacement because I don't want to be a slave to this business. When that day comes, I want to work ON the business, and not IN the business.
After one year, we would begin to look at selling the agency.
I began my partnership with the end in mind. What this did was make me focus on building the business from day one using systems and processes that didn't depend on me and would be attractive to a potential buyer. Every decision we made as partners had a clear outcome: move out of the way and build a well-oiled machine.
In business, whenever we perform an action, we're actually performing it twice: first in our mind, when we imagine it, and then physically, when we do it.
In my example, I first needed to visualize what kind of agency I wanted, the organizational chart (without me in it), how we accomplish projects for clients, and how we market for new business, all before landing our first client. If I wouldn't have taken the time to do this, the building of the business would have taken longer and been more chaotic: without a plan to follow, there's no doubt in my mind that I would have been stuck wearing too many hats, making it so much harder to let go of those roles later on.
As the leaders of our businesses, that's why it’s crucial to have the desired end firmly in our mind before we start any business, project, or task. The more exact and realistic the mental picture of the action is, the better its execution will be – and, hence, the better the results.
God gave us the ability to be proactive and to visualize things before they happen as a way to prepare ourselves before taking action.
How does God ask us to visualize? If God grants you a dream or a vision for your entrepreneurial journey, or Jesus paints a parable for a way to lead your business, or the Bible tells a story that inspires a new venture, this is what God wants you to visualize.
For Christian business owners, we further describe visualization as "Godly Imagination," which is picturing things the Bible says are true.
God gave Abraham a vision of the stars of the sky and told him he would have that many children (Genesis 15:5), and that produced faith in Abraham’s heart (Genesis 15:6). So here we have an example of godly imagery which produced faith in the man who is called "the Father of Faith" (Romans 4:11).
That is a powerful concept for Christian entrepreneurs that have a burning passion or desire that God put on your heart. This would indicate that if you wanted faith in your heart that moves mountains in your industry, then you would need the same ingredients which God gave to Abraham. These are:
A spoken promise (Genesis 12:1,2)
A divine picture (Genesis 15:1,5,6)
Then as you hold this promise and picture of a business venture in your heart, meditate on it and ponder it, God produces a miracle in the fullness of time. For Abraham, a child was born 25 years later.
I personally use imagery in many ways in my businesses, and find it extremely beneficial in my Godpreneurial walk. God has told me that whatever I fix my eyes on, grows within me, and whatever grows within me, I become. So instead of fixing my eyes on my sin, or my self effort to become righteous, I fix my eyes on Jesus, and I discover that I become Christ-like, and find myself radiating His goodness and His glory in the marketplaces I traverse. This is the whole of a becoming a Godpreneur.
So whether it's for a totally new venture, or for a project within your existing business, take the time required for visualization. First, make sure it was God-inspired. Better to ask God now than to lose your way pursuing worldly desires. It’s much more productive to spend time in prayer, meditation and thanksgiving anticipating an action and visualizing the desired outcome, than just plowing hastily on, possibly in the wrong direction.
To get started, you could think about one of your upcoming projects and write down exactly what God said, the results He desires, and what steps you will take to attain those results. It might not all be crystal clear, however the Holy spirit will step in over time to provide clarity.
Beginning with the end in mind isn’t just important for individual business projects. I've written a follow-up post explaining that you should also have a clear view of your larger life goals.
Read the Whole Series: A Christian Entrepreneur's Perspective on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
I pray you enjoy the series as much as I enjoyed creating it!