To begin with the end in mind means to start every endeavor with clearly defined outcomes. It also means to determine our own life's purpose. It ensures that as we're climbing the ladder of success, it's leaning against the right wall.
It's incredibly easy to get caught up in the busyness of life. It is possible to be busy-- very busy-- without being very effective. People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were far more valuable to them.
How different our lives are when we really know what is deeply important to us, and, keeping that picture in mind, we manage ourselves each day to be and to do what really matters most. If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster. We may be very busy, we may be very efficient, but we will also be truly effective only when we begin with the end in mind.
As you embark on any endeavor, whether it be work-related or personal, ask yourself, ‘What is the ideal result?’ Check back in with your response as you progress to ensure it has not changed, whether it should change, or that you are still on track.