I’m a student and fan of turn of the (last) century leadership and performance education – works like Charles Haanel’s The Master Key System, and Napoleon Hill’s library.

I love this allegorical poster produced in 1913, which, game-like, illustrates the potential pitfalls, distractions, and consequences of external and internal forces that might bump one from the path to success.

As this illustration might illustrate, and as is common in the multitude of aforementioned leadership and performance literature, it is advised that upon commencement of a new venture, initiative, production or vision, one should begin by putting into written words, that specific and clear End that represents your successful progression through a series of actions known as a Project. Begin with the end in mind – this is Habit Number 2 in Stephen Covey’s famous, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:

“To begin with the end in mind means to start with a clear understanding of your destination. It means to know where you’re going so that you better understand where you are now so that the steps you take are always in the right direction.”

When I start a new project, a part of my process is to use Evernote to create a “Project Card.” Among other bits of info, my Project Cards have my best description in a short paragraph of what this project will look and feel like when it’s complete. This End is not etched in stone. Allow the definition to be agile as the project advances and a new, better End begins to emerge, I change the description on the card. One of the most important values of having this description of the End is that it can be shared with collaborators to give everyone on the team a shared vision about what success looks like.

Have a look at a larger version of this poster below. It’s quite rich and interesting!