The power of a goal is quite remarkable.
Sara and I just had a stimulating conversation about the current status of this year's primary goal, which we agreed on in our January 2012 Redirect seminar:
To build a home in 2012
We discovered that, although the year was not at all what we planned or expected, it has been nevertheless been focused on building a home. The goal was always present in our minds and hearts, guiding us in subtle and not-so-subtle ways to make many small decisions along the way. Here are three of the ways that our goal influenced our choices and was itself influenced by the events of our lives.
- We have strengthened some wonderful relationships with family and friends, while making new friends and enlarging our horizons geographically, prefessionally and spiritually.
- We've decided to stay in Prague for at least two more years, and not to move from our little flat, which has been so pleasant and convenient.
- We are still writing "21st Century Christianity" and hope to publish it next year.
All of these people, events, activities and experiences have molded our thinking and impelled us toward our goal, even though we didn't recognize it while it was happening. How?
- Because of our focus on building a home, we lavished time and attention on the people who were interested in what we were doing. These people challenged our thinking and helped us dig deeper into what "home" really means. We're grateful for their support and the ways they've helped us refine our goal. Our travel this year has also been anchored in our goal, as have our professional choices and spiritual development.
- We've decided to stay in Prague for at least two more years, and not to move from our little flat, which has been so pleasant and convenient. We thought in January that we'd move back to the US and buy or build a house there. But events and circumstances changed our thinking dramatically. Having our goal helped us frame these events and circumstances in such a way that they became guideposts and mile markers towards our goal.
- We are still writing "21st Century Christianity" and hope to publish it next year. This book defines our original mission in Prague and points us to our next big idea/goal. Knowing that we want to build a home has added urgency to the completion of our book.
The key words here are challenge, focus, time, attention, checking our progress and a sense of urgency. All of these are elements in goal-setting and working towards a goal. Think about an athlete who wants to compete in the Olympics. First, the goal is set. Then the details are put into place, resulting in a timetable, a support team (emotional, physical and spiritual), a fitness regime, a plan to find financial resources, and so on. All of the details support the goal, which is the heart of the entire effort.
"Without a vision, the people perish," as Proverbs 29 notes. Without a goal, life is a featureless plain upon which the individual is moving without purpose or destination. He or she is vulnerable to the weather, to the intentions of the people he or she may meet, to predation by wild animals, and to discouragement and loneliness. Without a goal, life is like the bumper sticker--"you're born, stuff happens, you die."
We designed the Redirect career development program with simplicity in mind--one goal for the year. This simple idea has turned out to be far more powerful than we had imagined.
Our last Redirect starts October 7, 2012;
we'll resume offering it
when we return from the US in January 2013.