“Whenever you exit planet Earth, your grave will bear a marker of time – a tombstone or memorial plaque. What is found on most? The dates of your birth and death. Life is what happens in the “dash” between the two.”
David H. McKinley in The Search for Significance
Where are you heading? Do you know? Have you made plans for the upcoming years? The next twelve months? This week? Today?
Important questions that deserve adequate time and attention. Without “on paper” goals…those passing “pipe dreams” frequently die a quick death at the first sign of opposition or the slightest, most incidental setback.
Everyone knows a person whose dreams are routinely larger than life, these individuals are colorfully over the top with excitement, enthusiasm, and are enthralled with the “idea” of some far-removed notion of success. While it’s fun (and amusing) to watch such theatrics, if we’re honest, we’re pretty certain very little by way of actual results will ever come to pass. We’ve borne witness to the same song and dance too many times before and while we resist reacting with a sort of subdued, mild cynicism it isn’t always easy to join in with the fleeting momentary hilarity either.
Look at history, (both the grand and the small) for a more tempered response to “dreaming.” Clearly, it is those individuals (and nations) who take careful account of their gifts, talents, abilities, resources, and limitations that most often achieve their objectives.
Sure, there are setbacks, risks, and sacrifices…but for the person who knows his destination, these wrinkles can be pressed through, ironed out, and smoothed over because the end goal (written in black in white, remember) is an ever-present reminder of what is at stake.
Writer David McKinley believes that, “Life reflects design, sequence, and order.” Thus said, finding practical ways to work toward our target means settling down with one hand firmly grasped on reality while balancing our other with the most hopeful of possibilities etched in our brain.
McKinley asks, “Are you living “on purpose,” or have you given your life over to the random acts of occurrence – wishing, hoping, and yearning…”
The Meet and Greet of Achieving Goals
· Make a five year plan, dream big, but set it on paper for continued reflection and do not be hesitant to “tweak” the plan…expect to do so.
· Accurately assess present “pluses” which includes all personal (and financial) abilities, skills, talents, education, and experience.
· Be realistic about limitations including past shortfalls, mistakes, paying close attention to situations that are most difficult or undesirable for you to handle (no repeat offenders allowed).
· Ask for input from others who are where you want to be and invite the counsel of trusted friends, family, colleagues on a regular basis.
· Do the necessary research, stay current, keep the plan in the forefront of your mind while attending to the small daily steps in between.
· Never give up. Expect opposition; don’t run from it. Instead, adopt a student mentality; be ready to learn from every situation.