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The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Social Media – Begin With The End In Mind

Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind

Covey’s second habit, “Begin With The End In Mind” deals with imagination, conscience, self-awareness and leadership. This habit is based on the premise that in life, all things are created twice.  There is the mental creation, or the vision, and then the actual creation, the fruits of that vision.  It is important to spend time thinking about “the end” at the begining.  By doing so, one is empowered to truly create a richer, fuller life.   To begin with the end in mind is to say that from this point forward, I will live “out of my imagination and not my memory.”

At its core this is a habit of leadership.  It is about creating life on your terms and in a way that is consistent with those principles you believe to be true.  For me, these are love, creativity, integrity, leadership, and wisdom.  Each and every day I try to let these principles guide my actions.  When I come up short, which I often do, I learn where I need to focus my attention on improving.

Now how does this pertain to social media?

You can accomplish great things through leveraging the social web.  You can be a leader.  You can make new connections, excite people around a cause, enhance your mind, and create meaningful change in the world.  Before you go all social network, blogging, friending, following, uploading video, commenting crazy all over the web, take a moment to consider what you are tyring to accomplish.  Lay out a blueprint for what it is you are trying to do first.

Who are you trying to engage and how? What do you hope to achieve and why?  What is it that you want to do?  Do you want to learn more about a subject?  Connect with colleagues, clients and prospects?  Educate people about a topic? Enhance your business offering?  Learn more about your customers? Are the things you are doing online going to move you closer to that goal? Are these things consistent with the principles you view as critical to your life?  When its all said and done, what is really important?  When you approach social media, focus on the things that matter the most.  Take Goethe’s advice, “That which matters most must never be at the mercy of that which matters least.”

Does it matter how many “friends” you have if you don’t engage with them?  Do you have to be on every platform, or should you deeply explore those that matter most?  Does your scathing reply to that negative comment on your blog move you closer to your desired end, or is there perhaps something you could learn from the criticism.  Are you adding value for yourself and others with the content you create or are you simply doing it because everybody else is?  Are the blog posts you author fair, true, and consistent with the principles you stand for or are you just writing something for shock value?  Spend your time doing the right things, and you will find success.   Focus on how you can use your unique strengths, gifts, and talents to build relationships with others.  When it comes to social media, don’t get overwhelmed with the enormity of it all.  Don’t get hung up in the technology.  Simply begin with the end in mind, have faith in yourself, find your voice, and use it to change the world.