Year Two, Skill #14: Begin With a Vision

Last week I stopped in at a friend’s handmade soap store.  We’d shared many thoughts about her ideas over a year ago.  The store has been open now for a few months and is loaded with bath and body products—all created by her and produced by her and her daughter, Zynayah.  It smells heavenly, is bright and eye-catching, and I was marveling at what she’s been able to do.  “Girl, can you believe this?  How did it happen?” she asked me sweeping a glance around the shop.  I immediately thought, “Well, YES! I know exactly how it happened.”  See, Tzima knew what she wanted and had a vision for it from the beginning.  Ultimately, part of her larger vision is empowering young women which she has begun by having her daughter join her in the business.

Habit 2 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey is to “begin with the end in mind.”  Covey points out that this habit is based on imagination—to have a vision for something in your mind even if you can’t see it in reality.  (At least not yet.)  I know that Tzima did this.  She is, in my estimation, a dreamer.  She has learned the value of following her passion.  An expatriate of the corporate world, she’s also a yoga teacher, radio personality, and a future guitar-playing singer-songwriter.  She began making soaps because it intrigued her.  From there, the dream of the store, and what it could be, bloomed.

Pyramid1Covey says that Habit 2, Begin With the End in Mind is based on the principle that all things are created twice. First, there is the mental creation—like a dream–a vision for what you want, what is needed, for your passion to become manifest.   Second, there is the physical creation. You might not even know what the steps are but the dream is the blueprint.  For example, if I want a soap store, I need a space.  If I get a retail space, where would I like it to be?  What area would be a good fit for my product?  And so it goes… Your vision of what you want in the end shapes the steps you take to make your dream a reality. Whether it is the reality of your day, the reality of a task, or the reality of a long-held dream, you must start with a vision.

Your vision of what you want in the end shapes the steps you take to make your dream a reality.

When I was in my mid-20s, long before The 7 Habits was published, I was given a rare opportunity by a psychiatrist for whom I worked at the hospital.  Under his guidance, we’d created a small hospital unit for kids with physical and psychological health concerns and had evolved into a successful treatment program for folks with eating disorders.  After some time, the psychiatrist (“Dr. H” as we called him) had more former patients than he could keep up with in his private practice.  He asked me if I’d like to help out and work under his supervision to continue their out-patient counseling.  It was a remarkable opportunity for someone who only held a Bachelor’s degree.

TreeClimbersI loved it and after only a very short time working for Dr. H, I dreamed of having my own private practice.  That dream then spurred me on to muster the courage to pursue graduate school.  When I completed that, I dove into private practice immediately—something that is more likely to happen after someone is seasoned through a career in an institution.  Many people were skeptical, but because I’d had the vision for so many years, it was no longer daunting.  Part of my larger vision was to build a career that allowed me the day-to-day flexibility to be available to my kids while they were young.  This September 1st, I officially celebrate 20 years in private practice.  I still love it.

Unlike Tzima who’d had a retail space before, I’d never been a self-employed business person.  I knew nothing about running a business.  I did get a minor in business management in college (at my father’s urging since my major was so useless), but the finance class alone almost kept me from graduating!  If I’d not had the vision, it would have been too intimidating to even think about.  But your vision makes the reality of a dream doable.  I figured out what what was needed along the way and made it happen, step by step.  Think about it: Every inventor begins with the end in mind—with a vision of what needs to be.

Your vision makes the reality of a dream doable. --LiM2 Click To Tweet

Imagine1Make no mistake—this is not only about how to build a business.  I’ve seen it in all kinds of personal circumstances as well.  One of my daughters uses an online bank with an app that helps her budget based on her current dreams (or upcoming obligations).  She sets an end goal (such as $500.00 in 4 months to take a trip) and the app calculates and parses off a certain amount daily until she meets her objective.  I have a young male friend who asked a girl on a first date if she was interested in getting married, having kids, and would consider raising them in his religious tradition.  These were his dreams and he was putting his efforts only into those who might share that vision.  Who does that?  Especially on a first date!  Well, it worked: she said “yes” then and she said “yes” again later when he asked her to marry him.  They are adorable, by the way, and I can’t wait until they have those kids!

GoldMedalsTo begin with a vision is the cornerstone of achievement and success–in anything in this life.  As the Olympics have now come to a close, can you imagine an athlete qualifying for the team if they didn’t envision themselves winning event after event along the way?  Imagining success is one the the mental tools that athletes, and any other performer, uses to gain an edge over competitors.  Can you imagine an architect without a vision of what needs to be built?  Why would a writer write if they didn’t have the vision of publishing their work?  It simply doesn’t work that way.

To begin with a vision is the cornerstone of achievement and success–in anything in this life.

As you navigate this messy life, what marvelous dreams do you have?  What might you envision for your future?  Whether it is long term or just what needs to get done today, do you begin with the end in mind?

I’ve seen many people, like Tzima, who do all kinds of remarkable things—the stuff that naysayers shake their heads at—but those skeptics don’t share the passion of the visionary.  Be a visionary in your own life and make your dreams come true!

So today, imagine Skill #14 and Begin With a Vision because Life is Messy and Life is Marvelous.


Visit Tzima’s store Sunrise Artisan Bath and Body in the 5 Points area of Columbia, SC.

5 thoughts on “Year Two, Skill #14: Begin With a Vision”

  1. Vision only comes after a challenge. You were challenged by a person close to you to succeed in something you wanted to do and that challenge worked. I’m so proud of your vision and the results of the challenge. Love Daddy

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