If you’re involved in a business, organization or a church, it’s likely there is a vision defining where it wants to go. Vision unifies, creates direction and distinguishes one organization from the next. We are quick to be organizationally minded. We set goals, dream big and work hard for our businesses, as we should.
But, what about us?
There is something powerful about creating personal direction for ourselves, setting goals and knowing where we want to go.
I know from experience that most personal visions can have the shelf-life of a New Year’s resolution. It won’t be long until the pace of life picks back up again and personal visions can quickly be forgotten. Similar to the organizational setting, flashy “opportunities” and the daily grind will threaten to pull your focus away from your vision. As you prioritize other responsibilities, you forget what it takes to get you where you want to go.
If you truly want to set and accomplish your personal vision this year, it’s going to take more than a dream and a few good ideas.
You need a disciplined process to guide your efforts in a consistent direction. It’s not too late to put one in place.
Utilize the following four steps to establish an operating rhythm that can turn your personal vision into action.
1) Define Your Priorities.
Do you clearly understand what it is you’re reaching for? Take some time to consider the most important areas of your life to develop this year. I recommend having no more than 3-5 overarching priorities for the year. This allows you to more clearly outline your vision, helping it become more tangible to accomplish.
2) Establish a Plan.
Once you’ve set your priorities, spend some time thinking about, “What major steps must I take to develop these areas?” These should be broad-sweeping checkpoints rather than small tasks. Think, “Develop as a Leader” over “Invest in Younger Generations.” After you’ve mapped out your plan, determine in what month each step should be taken.
3) Make It Personal.
Progress only happens when individuals make consistent and intentional investments of time. Craft a set of quarterly goals that answer the question, “How will I move this plan forward?” Focusing on these just three months at a time will break a large project down into more manageable next steps. Once you have drafted your quarterly goals, find a close friend or mentor to keep you accountable.
4) Make Disciplined Progress.
As time goes on, it is easy to shift priorities and overlook progress. Look for opportunities to celebrate wins (big and small) that move you further ahead. Undoubtedly, you’ll run into problems along the way. If they are major issues, adjust your plans mid-quarter. If they are non-pressing, address them when setting your next quarter’s goals. Don’t let small fires throw you completely off course.
I’m confident that God wants to do something significant in you. I’m also sure that you will have plenty of reasons to become distracted. Before that happens, establish a disciplined process to ensure you truly accomplish what you’ve been called to do this year.
Tony Morgan is founder and chief strategic officer of The Unstuck Group, a company that helps churches get unstuck through consulting and coaching experiences designed to focus vision, strategy and action. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church in Dallas, Georgia, NewSpring Church in South Carolina and Granger Community Church in Indiana. He’s written several books, as well as articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com. He writes about leadership regularly at tonymorganlive.com. His new book is The Unstuck Church: Equipping Churches to Experience Sustained Health.