How do you finish that sentence?
How would you like to finish that sentence?
The difference between those two questions can be extraordinary.
Consider what you will do. Apart from death or something unimaginable, you will breathe. You will eat. You will age. You will do many things, some of which you do not even consider as you do them (such as breathing).
But most everyone has goals and ideas they would like to accomplish. These goals cannot be accomplished without some intentionality, some effort, or something else (e.g. money, time, etc.). (Please understand that the entirety of this series is under the umbrella statement of “Lord willing” as per James 4.15.)
These goals can help to define your MISSION. They need not define you as a person (at least not yet), but they should be a part of who you are and what you want for your life.
Some goals can be very short term. Some goals are focused over a greater period of time. Ideally, the short-term goals should align with our long-term goals. Setting long-term goals that have intermediate goals is a great way to strive to be effective. Creating short-term goals and completing them allows us to see progress and gain momentum. These “short-term wins” are true for us as individuals and they are true for organizations as well. (In fact, this entire SYSTEM we are developing over these many posts can easily be adapted for a person or organization.)
In last week’s post, I shared the idea of the goal is ultimately our VISION (our WHY). The “I will…” statements are the WHAT (our MISSION) to make the WHY possible. (Many people combine the idea of VISION and MISSION, but I separate them.)
Now, I realize that it is possible to connect a bunch of “I will” statements in order to create a goal, but that is working backwards. It might work on occasion, but it will not work well on a consistent basis. Let me share an example.
Let’s say that I want to see the Grand Canyon. That is my ultimate goal. It is my VISION (and achieving that VISION is really “seeing” something).
So, what must I do in order to see the Grand Canyon. Well, the list could be extensive, so let me just share a couple of thoughts.
- I need to make sure I have enough money to take the trip.
- I need to consider my transportation options.
- I need to determine if I am going alone or with someone else.
- I need to make sure I have the time available to take the trip.
Again, this list is brief, but it covers some basic ideas that “need” to be considered in order to “see” the Grand Canyon (achieve my VISION). If I successfully complete the ideas above, I will be closer to taking the trip I want to take.
Now, I need to turn the “need” statements into things I will do. Thus,
- I will make sure I have enough money to take the trip.
- I will consider my transportation options.
- I will determine if I am going alone or with someone else.
- I will make sure I have the time available to take the trip.
That was easy. All I needed to do was change one word. What I needed to do is now what I will do. If I do each item, I will be closer to my goal. If I do not, I may not be any closer than I am now.
These steps may seem logical, but so many do not take the steps to do it. And even more do not take the time to write the ideas down which often means that we develop “holes” in our plan. Moving from what we “need” to what we “will” do, helps us develop the mindset of intentionality.
Now, in fairness, I am a planner. I know many people are not. But the steps I have listed above would need to be considered by anyone, at least eventually – even if the person decided to leave on a whim.
Before I close this week’s post, let me back up to something I mentioned above. I indicated it was possible to use a series of “I will” statements to construct a VISION, but that it will not always work properly. Let me prove my point.
Read the “I will…” statements above without the knowledge that the goal is the Grand Canyon. All of those statements could be true about any number of ultimate objectives. For instance, they would be true if I wanted to go to church, or to the store, let alone travel across the country.
Therefore, if we develop our “I will” statements based upon our ultimate goals, we are more likely to achieve the real goal. Of course, sometimes our plans are derailed, but if we don’t know the ultimate plan, we will never make it.
So, let me now tie the idea together with my VISION and MISSION. My VISION is:
- To be the man God has called me to be (Ephesians 4.1; 5.1).
To accomplish that VISION, the following “I will” statements comprise my MISSION.
- I will love the Lord, and Savior, Jesus Christ, submit to His authority in my life, and rely on His power to use my God-given abilities to save others – beginning with my family.
- I will seek to grow in my knowledge and understanding of God’s truths and His will for my life.
- I will trust in His provision (Psalm 73.25-26).
- I will externalize my faith by reaching out to others, teaching them God’s truths, and encouraging others to grow in their own relationship with Christ, so they may disciple others as well (Colossians 1.28-29).
As I mentioned last week, I will break down my personal MISSION statement further in the coming weeks. However, before I do that, I thought it best to build a stronger connection between the VISION to the MISSION.
As I mentioned last week, we are not ready to focus specifically on the HOW. I do include a HOW in my final statement above. You can see it with the use of the word “by.” That is, I state “I will…by….” But I have a reason for that inclusion there which I will explain in a future post as well.
I realize this post may not be necessary for everyone. Last week’s may have been sufficient for many, or even most. But again, my goal is to walk each reader through the process of creating a working SYSTEM for your own life, for your family, or your organization. Thus, taking an extra post to help explain the need for the “I will” and how to think through the process by first considering what needs to be done is a reasonable detour for this post.
So, if you have not already done so, take the time to determine your major goal (or a major goal). Then, determine your “I need to” statements. Finally, convert the word “need” to “will” and make sure the statements will help you achieve that goal. Once you have done that, re-order your statements as they make sense to you. Maybe the order is by priority of importance. Perhaps you want to put some “easy” considerations first to get that quick “win” and build confidence or momentum. Or maybe you have another idea about how to order your “I will” statements. The statements are yours. Therefore, the order is yours as well.
Whatever you choose, remember, this is your VISION, and your MISSION that you are developing for your SYSTEM. I will share mine as a guide, but my WHY and WHAT are mine, not yours.
Next week, I will unpack the “I will” statements in my MISSION and share the reason for each one.