A red light in the distance marked my destination as I drove to a meeting one morning. I was so focused on the light I didn’t notice blowing through a few stop signs – not good!

This reminded me of Covey’s Habit ‘Begin with the end in mind’. Looking closer at two of the words, there is a critical distinction:

‘in mind’ does not mean ‘defined’.

Stop light Street

When I worked as an engineer we had a moisture problem with one of our product applications.  My superior, who held the authority on design, decided the solution was to lather a tar-like substance around the outside of the product.   The ‘end’ was clear to him.  I could see a looming disaster.  However, he was closed off to input.  My influence skills were not well developed at that point in my life.  I just felt frustrated.  Not surprisingly his ‘end’ created a manufacturing nightmare with an inconsistent result.

Like the red light, focus on the ‘end’ blinded his eyes from stop signs!

Situations like that led me to my current passion for developing collaborative leaders and teams who really get how to engage for stellar results.  Keeping eyes open for innovative direction; paying attention to signs along the way.

Much of the work I do is grounded in aikido, the Japanese art of reconciliation.  Typically in most martial arts the ‘end’ is your opponent on the ground, controlled with force and speed.  Aikido is different.  Aikido is based on honoring/protecting your adversary as well as yourself.  You blend with creating a connection that feels like magic.

In actual practice, many beginners want to force their adversary to the ground because they see that as the ‘end’.  In the process, they miss the engagement and magic of joining with their adversary’s energy to affect a better result.

Fighting against is exhausting – Joining with is exhilarating
Fighting against multiplies the issue,
joining with creates partnership with expanded solutions

If there is pushing or pulling during the technique it is not aikido.  It is forcing an outcome, an ‘end’, which in my experience is not pleasant.  Resistance is amplified.

The same is true in life and work. Keeping the end in mind AND being open to the signs along the way will keep you out of trouble and usually give you a much better result!

Resistance is a like the stop sign.  When you meet resistance honor it, blend with it so you can take that energy to propel you to an even greater end.  It’s all done with a spiral….


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