The 2nd Habit Applied to a Career in Marketing

I wanted to discuss the 2nd of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for this week’s blog post. Specifically, I would like to focus on the following:

  1. My initial exposure to Stephen Covey and the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (I think my introduction to Stephen Covey is rather unusual)
  2. What is the 2nd habit?
  3. How I made the connection between my marketing career and the 2nd habit.

I was fifteen-years-old and just finished up my freshman year of high school. I signed up for a new summer hockey camp. The camp was the first weekend in July from 9AM to 1:30PM. We skated until about 12PM then got out of our gear for an hour of class time from 12:30-1:30PM where we were required to bring notebooks and pencils. The Coach was a major advocate of Stephen Covey’s habits and began discussing each one. I remember—at fifteen years old—these habits resonated as I wrote each one down. I actually ended up working with that coach on a number occasions throughout the next four years so I was exposed to the habits for more than just that first week.

The 2nd habit is to begin with the end in mind. Below is an excerpt taken from

Habit 2 is based on imagination–the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. It is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There is a mental (first) creation, and a physical (second) creation. The physical creation follows the mental, just as a building follows a blueprint.

There’s a ton of powerful stuff here. Imaginations are often associated with children. As we become more aware of reality, we start to lose the imaginations that fueled us as children. However, the 2nd habit says otherwise. Adults need imaginations too-the ability to envision in your mind what you cannot at present see with your eyes. Throughout the creation process there is first a mental step and next physical step. By practicing the mental step, you are beginning with the end in mind.

This week I re-learned the value the 2nd habit can have in a day-to-day career. Rather than immediately approaching the physical step of completing a task, I will now force myself to not forget the mental step of using imagination to have some sort of an idea on what the final product will look like. I definitely was not doing this as much as I could; I was starting things without the end in my.

The 2nd habit is applicable to all but I really think marketers can benefits from this. We often are required to put together ambiguous deliverables like an entire web marketing strategy or simply managing the communication of a prospect list. Either way, embarking on these tasks with an idea of what the end will look like will help produce a better ending and help to control the outcome.