If You Aim at Nothing . . .

Posted on October 17, 2013 by

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1388172_72151112Do you have a plan for your life?  What are you aiming at?  Just over a year ago, I attended a conference called The Building Champions Experience, which is a four-day conference for professionals and executives run by Building Champions, a business coaching firm.

The best part of “The Experience” was being given the encouragement, instruction, and time alone to create a “Life Plan.”  The experience of thinking ahead was not new for me, as I had created a personal mission statement as part of my Young Life training years ago. The life planing process helped me to update my thinking and my perspective. Several elements of the process that Building Champions led me through were especially beneficial:

  1. I wrote my eulogy. This was whopper of a first step.  I imagined I was dead and projected what I wanted people to say about me at my funeral.  Morbid?  Maybe, but it forced me to consider what is really important to me in the long term.  I got emotional as I thought about Jesus welcoming me home and what he would say to me.
  2. I identified my priorities.  My relationship with Christ, my marriage, my role as a father, and my calling as witness to Christ’s glory were all easy ones to add.  I got hung up on “Health” however.  It wasn’t initially on my list of priorities.   As I reflected, I realized I was taking my health for granted.  My operating assumption was that I would always be able to eat carelessly and exercise sporadically.   As soon as I verbalized that assumption and saw the folly of it, “Health” made it on my list of priorities.
  3. I visualized my ideal future for each priority.  I imagined each important aspect of my life 30 years down the road.  Here’s an example, using the future I imagine for our relationship with our (then) adult children:

    Our relationships with our children have matured into meaningful friendships that bring all of us joy. We talk often because we enjoy each other. They seek our advice, coaching and encouragement because they know that we believe in them. We love to gather as an extended family. Our values, and love for Christ have been passed on to the next generation and are being built upon.

    Will these relationships develop the way I have pictured?  Perhaps not, but it’s possible.  I do know this: It probably won’t happen if I don’t set the course ahead of time.

  4. I outlined specific actions for me to take now.  For each priority or “account” in my life, I outlined a short list of specific actions that will help move that account in toward the future I envisioned.

This was not an easy process.  The conference planners gave us four hours of time alone  to begin writing our life plan, and it wasn’t nearly enough.  I had to plan a day away in the following weeks to finish.   Another step in the process was reviewing my plan with my wife and a few close advisers.  Their input was invaluable.  This fall, a year after going through the initial process, I was able to attend “The Experience” again and review and revise my plan.  I hadn’t executed all of the action steps I had outlined, and I realized that some priorities were getting squeezed out.  Having the plan in front of me helped me to correct my course and renew my commitment to my long-term objectives.

If you would like to investigate creating a life plan, and would like access to a free life plan tool much like the one we used at the Building Champions Experience, you can get one by visiting Michael Hyatt’s leadership blog and subscribing to his page.

If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.  –Zig Ziglar

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