I’ve noticed there is no shortage of good ideas. What’s lacking is a plan that can actually get things moving forward. And it’s when I sit down to make a plan that three constraints stare back at me:
At that point there’s a value judgment that comes into play:
- What is most important?
- So important that I will take the time and spend the money to make it work?
But even at that point, I feel competing values tugging at my heart:
- but what about this? Don’t you want that, too?
- and this? and this?
On Being Stuck
When we are stuck between competing values we refer to it as “having two minds.” We think one way, then the other. The result is we are emotionally and mentally stuck.
It is emotionally draining to be stuck, with both values not being fulfilled. Huge amounts of energy are needed to hold things together. We vacillate between the two. “Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” (James 1.8)
“Purify your hearts, you double-minded.” (James 4.8)
- Get your motivations clear – what does your heart desire at its deepest levels?
- Once you clarify the deepest motivations of your heart you can make priority decisions.
- It means giving up the fantasy that you can do it all, or have it all.
- It means you choose the best over the good.
- It means you end some things (see the blog about necessary endings) in order to do what really matters.
There comes relief with finally making a decision!
The emotional drain of trying to hold things together stops.
You are now able to move on to making a plan.
Make a plan
What are the priority matters which you must move forward?
Beware the mistake of trying to move too many things ahead at once. Pick the most important three; put the rest on hold.
It typically means you have to end something, or several things.
Quit wasting time, energy and money on something or someone that you realize is not going anywhere. This frees up space to build something.
Identify the preferred outcome you are aiming for.
Write it out, make it clear, anticipate the joy you will have when it comes into being. Keep it bright and clear, right in front of you. This helps with the motivation needed to put the energy in to make it happen.
What are the steps needed to move forward?
Until you identify specific actions you will take, you will remain stuck.
However, you cannot know ahead of time all the steps needed.
But you do know the next two or three. So just do those. When they are done, the next two or three steps will emerge.
Take charge of your calendar
Until you put it on the calendar, it remains just a good idea you hope to get to ‘some day’.
But hope is not a strategy.
Specific actions at specific times are.
Build your calendar for the next year:
- If you don’t pre-plan your calendar, someone else will; and you will end up doing their priorities instead of your own.
- Put in all the ‘big rocks,’ the events that are already there, to which you are already committed.
- Block off when you will take time away – vacations, planning retreats, training experiences, dates with your spouse, recovery times. If you don’t put these in you will end up pushing too hard for too long … and you know where that leads. Something will eventually break.
- Be realistic about the time you have to commit to your present responsibilities.
- Carve out times when you will commit to the new actions you need to do for the three priorities you have identified.
- Start with when certain actions must be completed
- Then move back and put in the steps needed to accomplish that
This is hard work, but worth it.
- It will prevent you coming to the end of another year asking, “Where did the year go? I’m still stuck in the same problems as last year.”
- Your mind will be able to rest knowing you have a plan. Without the written plan, your mind has to juggle all the balls, keep everything in view.
You’ve done the hard work of prioritizing the most important matters.
You’ve created a plan, and put it on the calendar.
But now you have to execute.
That requires self-leadership.
You really are the only person you can control.
The better you control yourself, the more influence you have on others:
Controlling your attitude,
In conclusion …
- Friends, these last four blogs give you tracks on which to run your life.
- While you cannot predict everything, you can influence the future.
- You do not have to just coast along, wishing things were different.
- You are not powerless, you are not a victim of your circumstances.
- God puts dreams and desires in your heart that he invites you to fulfill.
We offer the CREST Leadership Program to help people with these matters.
If you would like a ‘deep dive’ into this and other factors for your life, you may want to check us out.
We provide the structure and plan to make an ordered reflection over your life, and move forward.
Hundreds of leaders have moved into their second half with increased confidence through the CREST program.