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My Planning Process

January 6, 2014 — 2 Comments

My New Year Plan

Years ago, a good friend of mine, Tim Elmore, got me hooked on a process that has really impacted my life. Tim encouraged me to develop a strategic plan for the new year. The process included spending time looking back at the previous year, and then looking forward to the year ahead. I wanted to share the process I go through with you. I have made some modifications to what Tim does. You can follow Tim’s amazing work at www.growingleaders.com. He has his process listed on his blog. Enjoy!

Like I said, I spend about half a day looking back at the previous year. I journal a lot, so it’s easy for me to look back at the details of the year and the bigger events are pretty easy to recall. I always look at seven main areas of my life and see how I did in accomplishing the goals and dreams I had set, and where I achieved beyond my desires and where did I not do such a great job. My seven areas are:

  1. Spiritually
  2. Marriage
  3. Fatherhood
  4. Ministry
  5. School (I am getting my doctorate and it is a huge part of my life right now so I include it)
  6. Relationships
  7. Leadership

I ask the following questions:

  1. Did I grow in this area? If so, where and how?
  2. Did I benefit the growth of others in this area? If so, how?
  3. What was the one thing I am most proud of in this area?
  4. What is the one thing I am least proud of in this area?
  5. Was my strategy for each area effective? Why or why not?
  6. Did I fulfill the mission of my Life Sentence (this is essential and I will blog on this later) this past year?

Once I complete this process, I send a day looking forward and setting goals (actually, I like the term dreams better than goals). Tim Elmore calls his items “action lists” or “standard lists” which I love! This process looks like the following:

  1. What is the main dream I have in each of my seven areas? What will be needed in order to achieve this? (I use a Dream Chart that I developed in order to complete this process. A Dream Chart looks at where you are [Now] and where you want to be [Dream] and then maps out all of the steps required to get you there.)
  2. Of my 7 areas which areas do I need the most growth?
  3. What resources will I need for the required growth? (i.e., books, seminars, counseling, coaching, web sites, podcasts etc. I decide all of this at the beginning of the year and map out a schedule of when and where.)
  4. I map out my entire year. Monica and I do this together. We set date nights, family date days, vacations, major events on our calendar at the beginning of the year. These are non-negotiable!!
  5. Monica and I set family goals. What are one or two things we are really going to try and teach the kids this year? Last year it was patience and courage. We also set financial goals for the year and plan purchases for our house, what and to who we support financially, gifts, etc.
  6. I have a weekly chart that I use to account for pretty much every hour of my day Sunday – Saturday. I do have free areas where nothing is planned in order to account for surprises as well as provide me with down time.

My dream is that I continue to grow in all areas and the best way to do that is to learn from the past and plan the future. I believe just about any dream can be achieved with a good strategy, regardless if it is losing weight, changing jobs, buying a new car, building relationships, etc. My dreams are only as good as the strategies I implement. (you can tweet that)

Have a great new year!!

DREAM BIG

As I continue through this blog series on dreams and desires, I have found myself looking farther into the future and thus expanding my dreams. I think it would be appropriate to say here that dreaming without action is just a thought. For a dream to be a dream, it has to be something that we are willing to work toward.

Now I have gone and done it, I have said the four letter word… “work.”

Pursuing our dreams takes work. I remember the first time I watched my son, Paxton, when he was just two years old, sitting at the bottom of the stairs watching his older sister bound up the stairs. I could tell he wanted to go up those stairs so bad — for his little life, this was a big dream. Every time after this first time, after she went up again, he would climb one stair. This one stair took a lot of work but he kept trying and working. Now, at three, he climbs them with no help and he gets faster every time.

His dream took work and our dreams take work.

So I’ve have talked about why dreaming is important and why we don’t dream, so now I want to talk about how we dream big.

1. The first step to dreaming big is to identify what it is you desire. Start with identifying ONE thing you desire over anything else. This is the beginning of a dream. Maybe you desire a better marriage or a new career. Maybe you desire world peace. Whatever it is, you have to identify something. Don’t say “Well, I don’t have desires, my life is full of have to’s.” If you say that then you are not looking deep within yourself. Pick something and dream how awesome it would be to fulfill that desire.

2. Goal it! I know you have probably heard enough about writing out goals and you are sick of hearing it. Well, the odds are that if you are tired are hearing about it it’s because you have not written any goals out! We live in a visual age and most of the learning and doing we participate in is visual. Why do you think your favorite TV show has 15 minutes worth of show, and 15 minutes worth of advertising? They are hoping that if you see it, you will buy it. Goals are no different. If you write it down, the odds greatly increase that you will achieve it. Pick one goal to accomplish toward your dream and watch it happen.

3. Create a Dream Board. This may be a new concept to many of you. I have created a dream board for myself, and I also have my clients go through “life mapping” which is basically the same thing. A dream board is basically listing a starting point for where you are and listing a finishing point of where you want to be, and mapping out all of the steps and details necessary to make this happen. I have had clients use this to map out everything from their mariage to organizing their house. There are steps between where we think we are and where we dream of being. The steps are where the work lies. And therein lies the problem! If you need help mapping things, I am more than happy to help you — but YOU have to do the work.

4. Help others dream. I have never met one person who selflessly helped someone not be blessed themselves. Things happen for us when we do for others. Help others dream in their life and I promise you will begin to dream more in your own.

Start dreaming!!

DREAM BIG

This is the second of a three-part series on the importance of Dreaming Big. Last week I posted why dreaming is important. This week I want to post some reason and the repercussions for why we don’t dream big. I am sure these are not all of them, so I would love to hear some reasons why you have found yourself unable to dream big. So let’s jump right into it.

1. We see what can’t happen over what can happen. This ties in a little to our lost hope for ourselves and the world. We don’t dream big because we fail to see that things can improve. We are mostly negative by nature. This negativity dwarfs our thinking. I can remember for me not too long ago, I did not think my life would amount to much. I was uneducated, jobless, wifeless and destitute. I sat in this for a while and it caused me to see things were not as they could be. Once I started dreaming, I started believing. And once I started believing, I started doing. And once I started doing, things began to happen. I saw a future beyond the here and now… oh and I found Jesus as well. That helped a lot!

2. We failed in the past, so we stop dreaming. Listen we have all failed. The greats have failed multiple times. The important thing is what we do with failure. When we sit in the failure, guess what we define ourselves as? A failure. When we fail, we have the tendency to fall backwards and sit there kicking and screaming until someone comes along to help us up. Have you ever tried to get up when you are on your back? It’s a lot of work. The key to failing is to fail forward. (tweet that) I like the visual of falling forward on your face before the Almighty. When you are face first, He is ready to jump in with you. It’s easier to push yourself up when you are on your face. Fail forward and get back up and keep dreaming.

3. We live in a ring box. You know a box a ring comes in, usually it is a small box. (Except for the ring I bought for Monica it actually came in a crate! Kidding.) My point is we have all heard the saying “get out of the box” when you think. I like that but I think our boxes are so small we have NO vision for our life. When there is no vision there is no dreaming. We should get out of our boxes and expand our thinking and vision. Or better yet DEVELOP one. Open your eyes, think creatively, write it down, share it and GO!! That’s vision. You are anointed by God. If not, you better get some anointing, because you can’t have a vision and dream without it!! I’ll say it for you: Preach!

See where you can be, push yourself up and cast a vision for yourself!!

If you need some guidance or help I am happy to help you. Please don’t feel alone.

Next week…How Do We Dream Big?

Greg

Dreaming Big

March 27, 2013 — 2 Comments

DREAM BIG

I have recently started using a sound machine to help me sleep. I use the sound of the ocean, because I love the beach and I always seem to sleep so much better on vacations at the beach.

As a result of me sleeping better, I have noticed that I am dreaming more in my sleep. Now I can’t tell you what these dreams are because they are gone as soon as I wake up, but they are happening.

This is significant because I was just telling Monica a few months ago that I can’t remember the last time I had a dream.

Have you ever found yourself in this place? When is the last ime you had a dream? I don’t mean a sleep dream but a dream for your life. I believe dreams are the missing ingredient in many people experiencing a Big Life. I think it is so important, that I’m going to use the next few weeks blogging about dreams and desires.

So let’s begin this week with answering why dreams are important:

1. Dreaming leads to hope. I believe one of the best speeches ever given was the speech Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered in Washington, D.C. Not only was it well communicated, but it was a dream — and the dream he had lead to hope for him and others. Now there were many who doubted it could ever happen, but that did not stop him from dreaming. Dreaming brings hope, transformation and vision to us and others.

2. Dreams help us to see things we miss in life. Dreaming allows us to see beyond the here and now and gets our creative juices flowing. I believe creativity should be an important piece of our life. When we dream, it causes our mind and heart to go places it otherwise would not.This opens up untapped possibilites.

3. Dreams require us to expect the unexpected. I remember when we bought our first house. After our first year of ownership, I went to the mailbox, and found a check from our mortgage company. I was for overpaying into our escrow account for the year. This was totally unexpected. It led me to expect that check every year! It doesn’t come every year, but nevertheless, it was a lesson. Dreams allow us to recieve unexpected blessings. The more we dream the more expected these unexpected blessings will become. Wouldn’t life be awesome if life was full of realized expectations?

Next week I will write about the reasons I believe we don’t dream big.

I encourage you to listen to my weekly podcast –The Big Life — where I am providing ways for you to have the biggest year ever.