Start with the end in mind

I was recently having a conversation with a friend about this principle and because it is such a powerful one, I wanted to share my thoughts on it.

Starting with the end in mind is all about developing and specifying what your destination and your objective look like. The more precise you are with this vision, the easier it is to achieve it.

So what does your objective look like? Using myself as an example, I want an international career as an actor. I want to be in films and TV shows where I get to film and travel all around the world. I want to play a wide range of characters where I can use the different accents I have mastered and the languages I speak/will learn in the years to come. I want to be at the awards shows. I want to walk on those red carpets. I want to be working with brilliant, friendly, creative and talented directors, producers, actors, etc. I want to reach my full potential.

Now, I could go on, but to make my point I won’t do that here. But definitely get as clear and as detailed as you can when you try out this exercise.

Next, you want to list all the things that you would be doing if you had already achieved this objective. You can do this in bullet point form or as a spider diagram.

So, going back to the international acting career, at that top level I would be watching films and TV shows often and reading reviews. I would network and be making genuine connections with people in the industry. I would also give 100% effort to my auditions and prepare for them like my life depended on it. I would read useful material that can help me develop such as biographies of successful people in the industry, books on acting technique or the business of being an actor. I would continue to develop my accents and learn new languages. I would carry myself like a professional in terms of the way I talk about myself and my skills; the way I dress and my general appearance; my attitude and my commitment to excellence; and the way I invest in my career and development on the whole.

Ok. So I’ve just listed many options and ideas as they came to mind and I didn’t put any limits on myself. No idea is too big or too unreasonable. It’s important here that you’re really getting creative and thinking outside of the box. No restrictions, my friend.

Writing down all of your options is essential because it forms your action plan. And of course, you don’t stop writing until you’re completely out of ideas.

So with these options, you can begin to prioritise and narrow down. Which ones are going to bring you closest towards your goal? Start with number 1 and keeping numbering your options until you have a good selection. Here’s what I would do with the options above:

  1. Watch films and TV shows often and read reviews online
  2. Continue to develop my accents and learn new languages
  3. Carry myself like a professional
  4. Read biographies and acting books

From here you can get focussed and take action. The final stage is to put a date on these options. When can you start? This is critical because as soon as you do this you can get the ball rolling, progress and eventually reach your objective.

And just like that, you now have a beautiful action plan. Simple, powerful and effective.

If you ever lose motivation and drive, go back and start with the end in mind. Refresh your memory about what you objective looks like and how it would feel to have that right now. Get excited, get grateful and get back on it.

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