Life can be tough. Work can be difficult. Relationships can be the most challenging.
On any given week we face all kinds of resistance to our real potential. January lends itself to regrouping, adjusting, and re-engaging in our God given purposes.
To help my clients establish their first quarter goals, we spend time discussing their answers to the following questions:
Do you feel you are making progress or merely coping?
Are you clear on your God given purpose(s) and do you have clarity of vision?
Have you refreshed your “what matters most” set of lists?
Are you goals set for first quarter (both personal and professional)?
Have you shared those goals with anyone?
These are not necessarily easy questions, but very helpful for leaders who want to make a significant contribution with their life, and who want to finish well.
I am still haunted by my findings from personal research on life and death; most do not finish well. So much so that I have it one of the driving forces of my coaching philosophy; helping people live and finish well by coaching them on how they can continually move their stories forward.
Merely coping with your life is doable for most. Making a difference, living according to purpose, arranging your life choice according to calling and vision is certainly a road less traveled.
If you are attracted to becoming more purposeful with your life in 2013, then I would encourage you to do the following:
Make 3 one hour appointments with yourself this month, for personal development (PDT). Guilt free, without distraction, and highly intentional.
During these appointments, work through your answers to the questions above.
Set appropriate goals both in your personal life and professional life that will help you move your story forward in 2013.
Review all of the above weekly. At the end of each quarter in 2013, repeat this process.
Do you want to just survive and merely cope with your life or do you want to move your story forward?
If you need some coaching this year, let me know. I find great joy in helping others towards their God given potential!
“Moving towards the line” has been one of the most difficult but rewarding challenges I have faced in my 48 years of life. I have been working to embrace my DESIGN1 for quite some time but only within the last three years have I found the courage to begin to take action on what I had discovered to be true about who God made me to be.
Christian leaders are no different than anyone else when it comes to self leadership; they alone must take responsibility for their lives because no one else will. January is always filled with new conversations with clients because it is an opportunity for us to think about new possibilities, new goals, and new ways of living. The reality of new beginnings is genius on God’s part because he knew that those of us who thrive on “driving towards the goal” would come up short many times as we attempt to do his work in our own strength. I have grown to like it when he calls “time out” on my life, shows me the score, and then let’s me start over because doing his work my way always results in a loss.
My greatest work is to lead myself well so that I put myself in positions when I can consume more of his grace and resources. Those of us who are actively engage in our callings know that spiritual enterprises require spiritual resources. Man is simply inadequate to do the work of the Master. (Even though of us who claim to be talented)
For me, 2012 is all about learning at a deeper level how to partner with God and to work with him in a way that accomplishes his agenda and brings great fulfillment to my soul.
I usually hit universal pay dirt when I talk about the need and importance of self leadership. Everyone resonates with the core principle that if you can’t lead yourself well you will always struggle to lead others well. Self leadership is a really cool idea but it is not for the faint of heart. The most difficult person you will ever lead in your life will be yourself.
I would much rather lead other people than try to lead myself to higher levels of effectiveness. Yesterday, I was working with a new client and she was frustrated with her attempts to lead herself better. To help her understand why she was consistently struggling, I asked her to ask herself the following 4 questions.
Question #1: Do I have a clear vision for change? You must always start with some mental image of a preferred future and it needs to be as clear as possible.
Question #2: Have I made the decision to pursue this vision for change and if so, what actions can I point to demonstrate my decision? To grow, a person must make the decision to actually pay the price of change.
Question #3: Do I have a plan that I can share with others that I believe will lead me toward my vision? Change doesn’t happen by accident or as a result of just a ton of effort. You need a plan that makes sense, is doable, and also very simple.
Questions #4: Have I made a commitment to do a daily mental review of all of the above? Expect resistance and failure. It will happen! With a daily review of the first 3 questions it will help you continue to grow and strengthen your commitment toward change.
These 4 questions usually will reveal the reason you are not moving forward (if you really want to know).
On average, I spend about 7-10 hours a month talking to ministry leaders about their desire to improve their ability to lead others well. In addition to their calling, we review the various core leadership skills that are most critical to their roles as leaders. In particular, there are 5 core leadership skills that are required of every leader.
Here they are:
VISION: the skill of gaining a vision to the point that it is clear, compelling, and consistent.
DECISION: the skill of making the big decision to re-arrange your life to pursue your vision (i.e. “burn the ships”, “no plan b”, jumping without a net).
COMMUNICATION: the skill of communicating with others your DECISION to pursue your VISION.
PLANNING: the skill of making plans on a regular basis that will lead you towards your vision.
MENTORING: the skill of helping others to do steps 1-4.
Nothing fancy but after personally coaching over 600 leaders I can say with confidence that my early research and findings were accurate. There is a direct correlation between leaders who continue to accelerate in their careers and their skill proficiency in these 5 areas. (“accelerate” being defined as increased influence and impact).
The following truth is at the very core of all of my coaching; your story is not predetermined! You and I have the opportunity to respond to what God has entrusted us with including our talents, passions, vision, resources, and opportunities.
You will find yourself becoming more motivated on a daily basis when you make the decision to do a better job of stewarding your one and only life. This is the very essence of self leadership; stewarding what has been entrusted to you.
The work involved in stewardship is the work that will bring you closer to finishing well. If by chance you are in a low season of life, consider closing out this chapter, turning the page, and then doing the work required to write a new chapter in your story.
Usually, I can have people moving in a good direction within a few weeks and we always begin by simply listing out where they would like to be in 90 days. Then, I have them schedule personal development time on a weekly basis to review and refine their 90 day vision. I reviewed mine this morning and found a couple of places that need more attention. Give it a try!
Dr. Nathan Baxter, founder of Lead Self Lead Others, has been leading teams and helping other leaders move their stories forward for over twenty years. He has developed a unique coaching practice and resources that help leaders and executives break out and prevent the leadership plateau.