The people's voice of reason

Envision Your Future (Begin with End in Mind)

On January 10, 2022, Georgia finally won the NCAA College Football Playoff by beating the University of Alabama in the National College Football Championship game. They are now the undisputed National Champions. Stetson Bennett, the Georgia Quarterback, was named the Offensive MVP of the Championship Game.

Bennett is 23 years old and was a walk-on to the Georgia Football Team in 2017. He is 5-foot 11˝˙'´, 175 pounds. Not very big for an SEC QB. But he had had a dream since he was a kid. He dreamed of being the University of Georgia Football Quarterback. But it would not come easy. He had to fight and claw his way to the starting position. Bennett had his critics especially after their devastating loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game in the same season. But he would stand up to the challenge, because he had a vision of his future.

Stetson Bennett, despite his naysayers, knew something his critics didn’t understand and couldn’t comprehend. He had envisioned his future years before and was moving towards a personal goal for himself. He envisioned himself as the Georgia QB, but, most people didn’t know this, he had also envisioned winning this National Championship Game. A vision is a powerful ally.

In his excellent book, Win the Day, Mark Batterson tells the story of the America’s Cup.

“On August 22, 1851 Commodore John Cox Stevens and his six man crew won the America’s Cup in a 53 mile regatta around the Isle of Wight. The race was witnessed by Queen Victoria, who reportedly asked which yacht was second. The infamous answer? “Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second.” Thus began one of the most impressive winning streaks in history.

The New York Yacht Club, of which Commodore Stevens was a founding member, successfully defended the cup for 132 years. They were undefeated until September 26, 1983, when the Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, ended the longest winning streak in sporting history with a forty-one-second margin of victory.

That win was a milestone moment for Australia, hailed like a national holiday. Even America tipped its cap to the Australia II. It was awarded Athlete of the Year by ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I’m not sure how a boat wins that award, but that’s water under the bridge. The question is this: How was the Australia II able to do what no one had done in 132 years? A winged keel designed by Dutch engineers certainly gave the Australian team a technical advantage, but that isn’t what won the race.

If you haven’t tasted victory in 132 years, it’s hard to imagine any outcome other than defeat. The first thing you need to do is convince yourself that winning is possible. How? The answer is the first habit – flip the script. You’ve got to rewrite your narrative by telling yourself a different story, a better story.

Several years before the 1983 America’s Cup, the Australian skipper, Mike Fletcher, had read the classic novella Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The moral of that story? “Begin by knowing that you have already arrived.” Sounds like Stephen Covey’s second habit of highly effective people: “Begin with the end in mind.” Inspired by Seagull’s story line, Fletcher made a recording of the Australian team winning the race. The recording included narration and the sound of a sailboat cutting through the water. A copy of that recording was given to each member of the crew, and they were instructed to listen to it twice a day. They did this - get this - every day for three years! Before even setting sail, they had won the race 2,190 times!

How did the Australian team bury a long losing streak? They flipped the flipping script! They told themselves a different story over and over again. They won the race because they won the day - 1,095 days in a row!”

If you want to change your story, envision your future. “Begin with the end in mind”, as Stephen Covey explains in his book as the second habit of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Start with your future. Where do you want to end up?

If you want to change your life, start by changing your story.

We can change our story. But we cannot let other people write it for us. We must be the narrators of our own story.

God is telling an epic story and you have a role to play in that story. By God’s grace and with guidance from the Holy Spirit, ask the Lord to give you a fresh vision for your future. Then begin with that end in mind and start writing the story for your own future.

Envision your future and then prayerfully write your story with that end in mind!


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