Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Clueless or Clued In?

Today I was reading the newsletter of a public relations association that I'm a member of. Each issue includes a spotlight interview with a different member. This month's featured member was a fairly young man, about 25 or so. The questions were pretty typical--Where did you go to school?, How did you get interested in public relations?, What do you like about public relations?, etc.

However, I was rather surprised by his answer to the question, Where do you see yourself in five years? His answer was, I don't have a clue. Now, perhaps he just couldn't think of a clever answer so he gave that one. Or maybe he genuinely has no idea of what direction he'd like for his life to head in over the next few years. Most people I know (men in particular) have at least some vague notion of where they'd like to see themselves in five years. Many have five and ten and even twenty-year plans. In a society that places so much emphasis on personal achievement and climbing the ladder of success, I'm surprised to find someone who is clueless about where he's heading in life.

Of course, just because we make plans, that does not mean that life will turn out accordingly. In fact, I can just about guarantee that life will take turns and detours that are not on our maps. But I don't think that means that we should aimlessly drift through life waiting for God to open doors for us.

I've been reading The Power of an Ordinary Life by Harvey Hook. One chapter in particular that has challenged me is the one on setting goals. I'm a great dreamer, but I admit that I don't always write down my goals. Perhaps it's a fear of commitment, or a fear that I won't be able to reach my goals. I can talk a good game about doing things, whether it's getting my budget in order or updating my resume or getting up early to exercise. But until I actually set goals and timelines of where I want to be a month from now, or a year from now, or five or ten years from now, I'll keep procrastinating and miss out on opportunities to act on the plans that God has for me.

I'm praying that God will open my eyes to certain goals that He has in mind for me, and that I'll take action at the appropriate times. I plan to sit down and write out goals for various areas of my life--spiritual, financial, career, house, health--as well as action steps to take to reaching those goals. Some goals can be achieved in a few weeks; others may take years before I see fruit.

I'm curious as to how many of you actually write down goals and timelines/action steps for them. How often do you review and update your goals? Monthly? Yearly? Do you have anyone hold you accountable for working toward those goals? Any advice you can offer to a fledgling goalsetter?


Anonymous said...

There are things I'd like to see happen but it doesn't usually bother me if I don't get to do the things I've planned just as I planned them. I guess I'm not a goal setter.

My granny used to say, "oh, we'll do that tomorrow and if Jesus comes before then, it won't matter anyway."

Rhonda K said...


I think a lot about goals and where I'd like to be in five, ten, fifteen years...but, unfortunately, I have never written those goals down or reviewed them. Maybe if I'd take the time to write them down and have someone hold me accountable, I'd actually make some progress towards reaching my goals!!!

Thanks for giving me something to think about...guess I need to pull out the pen and paper...


Tara said...

I have goals for our family and personal spiritual goals for myself. I was taught at a young age to plan, but always add, "Lord willing..." as if God was an afterthought.

But honestly, sometimes I think God just laughs when we make some plans. We seem to have everything all figured out and put into a neat timeline and forget who is in control. It seems that way when I get a little too determined about my plans for our future. I like to be in control so lately I am forcing myself to try and live in each moment. That's a hard concept for me to grasp, but you definetly have a different view of the world around you when you do.