Starting with the End in Mind

With a bow to Stephen R. Covey (The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989) I’d like to depart slightly from the suggestion that we “begin with the end in mind.”

I depart not because I disagree with informing the present with a notion of a desired future, but because I take the future to be exactly that, a notion, and thus focus more on the journey, carried out in the present moment, than on the imagined end.

Of Learn-Do-Teach-Lead (the practice, not the blog), there is no end.  We find, instead—and here we leap ahead a bit—that it is a many layered, recursive, and self-reinforcing practice.

Our end notion is the maturation of the self-aware individual (or group of individuals) who applies Learn-Do-Teach-Lead both to any given issue at hand and to itself.

When turned upon itself, we must learn, do, teach, and lead Learn-Do-Teach-Lead.

The logical permutations spin out as follows:


  • We must learn to learn.
  • We must learn to do.
  • We must learn to teach.
  • We must learn to lead.


  • We must do learning.
  • We must do doing.
  • We must do teaching.
  • We must do leading.


  • We must teach learning.
  • We must teach doing.
  • We must teach teaching.
  • We must teach leading.


  • We must lead learning.
  • We must lead doing.
  • We must lead teaching.
  • We must lead leading.

While the resulting English sentences may sound a bit strained (e.g., what is it to “do doing” if not simply “to do”?), they each point to a necessary awareness of and for the correlated action.

And if we have awareness, then we can in fact begin with the end in mind.


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4 Responses to Starting with the End in Mind

  1. JB Bryant says:

    Your opening comments reminded me of a quote I found in my archives:

    “The proverbial journey of a thousand miles might take a thousand years. Learn to celebrate the distance you have come rather than lamenting how far you have yet to go, or how long you may have been stranded in some seemingly godforsaken place. There is no such thing. Every place, every moment, every chance meeting holds meaning and promise, no matter how desolate it may appear. Seek and you shall find it. Pay attention as you travel, so you don’t have to backtrack so much. Learn from your wrong turns, and help lead others who have lost their way back to the right path. Ideally, over time you will decrease the amount of luggage you are carrying rather than acquire the need for more. Above all else, remember that getting there isn’t the point of the journey. The journey is the point of the journey. Find a lesson in every fork in the road and beauty in every stone along the way. And always, always know that you do not travel alone.”
    ~Kara, “The Journey of Life”

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  4. PAT LUBOMSKI says:



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