I once had a job that I dreaded because it was so boring. I prayed to be delivered from that job. I got my answer and it was not what I expected. I read in the Bible that I was to do my work like I was working for the Lord. I knew God was speaking to my heart.
It was a nice place to work and I was glad to have a job. The problem was that I felt a mental restraint. My boss had me filing what they called white stuff. It was a massive pile of papers with very little information written on them and these one liners all had to be filed. Later, they decided that it was unnecessary and threw most of it in the trash. The other employees had the job of filing the serious documents and I was able to join them after the white stuff was eradicated. They really had a bond and whenever the boss was away they would sit around and swap stories. I remember how they laughed and divulged secrets. I rarely joined them because I realized that being accepted by them was not more important than being faithful to my real boss. When our supervisor would return, the group would disperse and look fully committed to the work. I continued filing at the same pace and tried to block out the feeling of nervousness I felt by her presence. I still thought of her as a tough boss.
I was only a freshman in college when I started that job. By my sophomore year, it was apparent that I was different. My faith had grown and my innocence seemed to be preserved. My supervisor seemed to dislike my obscurities and decided to make things more awkward when she gave me lewd lingerie for my birthday. A few chuckles by my colleagues only confused the matter further. I could only conclude that my stand on sexual purity was the talk of the office.
Not much longer, she approached me like she didn’t believe I worked hard enough. I did not try to defend myself, but I honored God by choosing to show nothing but respect. She did not see that I was commitment when she was away. I made sure that I had a consistent pace whether she was around or absent. Integrity is so important and I wasn’t consistent just to make her happy but to make God happy. One morning she decided she was going to push me harder and harder. She pushed until my fingers were bleeding. She looked proud of the accomplishments, but a few days later I was fired.
At the moment she fired me, I was very upset. I was going to confront her, so I got dressed and headed out, but I stopped myself at the bottom of the steps. My original thoughts were to bust into that office and challenge them…crazy right. But I stopped myself at the bottom of the steps. I sat on the steps at my dorm and began to melt. I spoke to God saying “I did what you said and I honored you in my work. How could this happen?”
That broken state I was in only lasted a moment because at that very moment something miraculous happened. My dorm director walked up to me and said, “I need help around here, could you work for me?” I had not spoken with anyone about the conversation I just had with my supervisor. I knew it was my real boss that sent her. Immediately, I accepted her offer. God was faithful and I was glad that I trusted Him while working in a tough position. He turned things around. That new job was gift the best because it was one of the best jobs that I ever had.
Have your plans ever clashed with an employer’s? How do you work through difficult situation?
The previous topics, finding your why and asking questions, are not only important for planning but also for problem solving. We must make decisions everyday of our lives. A perfect example of how my “why” helped me to press forward. At the end if my freshman year of college, I made two “C”s. I felt so sad and I walked around looking pitiful. My friends did everything but laugh at me as I sat in despair thinking I was doomed. They did not understand the damage two “C”s had on a GPA. I had an academic scholarship that was dependent on me maintaining a 3.0 at all times. I felt lost and did not know what to do.
I gave myself a few weeks to recover, but once I refocused, I was able to make additional plans. Let me be honest with you, it was hard to stop myself from fearing the worse. I actually had to spend long hours in bible readings and prayer before I could realize new plans that would compensate for the loss of revenue. It was going to be hard work but I was finally ready. The summer before my college sophomore year, I worked and saved most of the money for the purpose of registering for the new school year. Unfortunately, I did not have anyone to help me with paying for college. All of the financial and emotional pressures were on my shoulders to carry alone, but in the planning process, I realized this would be one of the challenges. I was already committed to persevering. Quitting was not an option.
First semester was the focus and I was going to tackle second semester after I had jumped that hurdle of first semester. I asked financial aid questions and their answers helped me toThe registrar accepted what I had as a deposit and I signed a written agreement regarding the monthly payments. Work study earnings were all saved and it paid the remaining semester balance. I finished the semester debt free and regained my scholarship for the second semester when my GPA hit above the 3.0 requirements. It was a year full of excitement, heartache, and a beautiful victory. Doing the homework during the planning process helps us to consider options that are available. Remember, you always have choices. I asked financial aid questions and asked for arrangements. This process of problem solving has helped me to push through many tough situations.
We have reached our finale for why do we plan. This third and final part will conclude the questions we need to ask ourselves when making realistic and accomplishable tasks. Planning is a very personable thing. It can be frustrating at times or even overwhelming, but it also can be a most helpful tool. Since my family growing up used planners on a limited basis, I never viewed planning as a chore. I did not HAVE to do it, but I chose to. Today, I still see it as a choice and an opportunity for self reflection.
The last questions will challenge us to think of our goals as being important. A challenge to see them as bigger than a thing to accomplish by ourselves. Accomplishing our goals will require support. We must remember that true success is best achieved with helping hands. This support can come from simple words of encouragement to someone actually working beside you to help you win in this game of life. Let’s take a look at our last few questions.
Where do I go to get help in achieving this goal?
(This all depends on the goal. There are associations and groups for just about every interest. There are also Conferences of various types that bring ideas and products together to help with one general type of need. For further direction, you can test your knowledge on topics you need to know. Then, think about who can answer those questions. If it is a fitness goal, the “where” for you may be the gym to speak with personal trainers.)
When do I want to complete this goal?
(This is your timeline. Does this goal have a deadline? Is this a long term goal?)
How will I accomplish this goal?
(Review all of the questions and your answers from the “Why” series. All of the previous questions will help to make this part easier. When you pull all the answers together, you get an idea of how. The how serves as the outline for your plans.)
I think we all would like the satisfaction of feeling complete peace and celebratory praise after accomplishing a goal. The best way to WIN is to make sure your goals and plans are a honest reflection of you. You are unique and complex and so are your goals and plans. Don’t let fear of failing or success snatch your dream. Please be patient with the process of reaching goals because surprises can still manage to pop up here and there. It is your “why” that will help you to maintain focus and keep moving forward.
Our last post helped us to understand our why in setting goals and making plans. There is more to it and we dive into a few more questions that will help you understand the planning process. This is part 2 of a 3 part series. Let’s jump right into it…
What will hinder you in achieving this goal?
(This is the time to be honest with yourself. Do you self sabotage by procrastinating or allowing distractions? Is there someone in authority who will pull you in a separate direction? Are there demands on your time or schedule that you can not compromise or change?)
What will change or need to change?
(Will you have to move? Will your schedule have to change? Most things require time and energy and it is very important to be very realistic about where all of this will fit with your lifestyle. It is this part that people overlook, but must not when making realistic goals.)
Some people may ask “where do I began?”
(Take time to gather information about the topic. Make sure to note if there are various steps indicated in obtaining your goal. Also note if those steps also have timelines. Are experts in that area available to answer questions? Can you find a mentor in that area to help you understand all of the expectations?)
The next post will conclude our “Why” series. What other questions do you ask yourself when setting goals and making plans? Share them with us in the comment section below. We would like to hear from you.
Are we all looking for the gold at the end of the rainbow? Is that a fair way to describe a dream? Well, all I know is that dreams do come true. We set goals and plan because we believe that things in our lives will be better if a change happens. Most of the time, we understand that for that change to happen, we must plan and prepare for it. We must also be honest cfc with ourselves in understanding our “why” in setting that goal. The why helps us to understand the priority we have in that thing. It also gives us the motivation we’ll need if things become challenging. There are other questions you will need to also consider when makes goals. The who, what, and when are all a part the process as well. The best foundation for your goals and plans will be established when things are well thought out.
Why are you setting this goal?
(Try to avoid blanket statements. “I want to be successful” was the blanket statement I used. Well, How do you define success?)
Why do you want to accomplish this goal?
(Is this for you? Is this someone else’s dream or goal? Avoid blanket statements and be as specific as possible.)
Why do you think this is the best solution?
(This goal will accomplish what for you? How is this the best solution to the problem you may face?) This question is to get you to think about your attitude regarding your goal. You want a healthy approach to any goal. Making a goal in desperation happens, but often we’ll miss important things that needed to be considered. There is no golden egg solution that skips us into Neverland, but with effort, dreams are made to come true. This question is to help us reflect on the things we are thankful for currently before accomplishing the goal. What are some of your strengths? What do you love about yourself? No dream, goals or plans can take the place of healthy self-esteem. You are wonderfully made and like all of us wonderfully flawed. You must learn to accept that or success will feel empty. Answering these questions will help you to see if you are approaching the goal from a healthy outlook. If you can not verbalize the things you love about yourself or things you are thankful for, then you may need help by a counselor or other licensed professional to help you through this step.
So, what do you love about yourself?
I’m not an organization expert or planner guru. This is not an advertisement. This is for people who are looking for wisdom regarding planning.
Planning is for the wise and the strong. It is also for the weak and faint at heart. In grade school, I had problems focusing. After almost an entire year of fun and games from the back of the class, the teacher finally contacted my mother to tell her of our failure. It was a failure to complete assignments, a failure to determine how much I had grown, and a failure to succeed in making me third grade ready. She could not allow me to ascend to the next level if I was not proficient in the basics. That year I made an amazing discovery and realized that I was easily distracted. It was a wake up call and I understood all that I could loose if I did not focus. Planning is my way of making sure I’m remaining focus.
When I pull out my planner, I think about the appointments I have during the week. I then think about my goals for the week. Do I have any assignments due? Am I responsible for organizing an event or gathering (small or large)? These are things I must think about when sitting to plan. Just a side note, I am a bit “extra” when it comes to planning. I am beginning to break almost every task down into smaller steps. This helps me to evaluate how much I can realistically accomplish in a certain amount of time. For example, if I need to make a phone call, I need to place the number beside the task listed. If I do not have the number, then a phone call is placed on the “to do” list and I leave space for finding the number. It becomes a two part action.
Although time is like money, never forget people first before things. Planning is only a tool. With that in mind, using my planner helps me to appreciate how my time is being used. I can even celebrate small failures. What others may call wasting, I call investing. For example, if I spend four hours on the phone with my sister for her birthday, then I am making an investment in her and our relationship. I can look at my huge “to do” list and reflect on how she is more important than all of those items combined. Although time is like money, love should always be first.
First, I can only accomplish living well and traveling well with prayer. I can not take credit for the favor that my family received on these trips but I can share the process. In fact, this summer we took a short family vacation. It was a small getaway of four days and four nights to Pittsburgh, PA., “Home of the Steelers”. Nice people by the way. We had so much fun bonding and catching one adventure after the next. This was truly an adventure full of grace.
Secondly, to travel well, we must refer to our foundational principles for positive posture, we definitely will need to have clear goals. Without established goals, you can get lost. Many people get lost in “chasing” the best deal and forgetting all that glitter is NOT gold. This applies to all things in life, not just traveling. Once you have outlined the things that will make your trip comfortable, you begin to realize that the best deal is not just about money. It is about how things align with the experience you are trying to create. This recent trip to Pittsburgh was an idea that originated from my husband’s desire to attend a Steelers game with our six year old daughter. My nine year old, a Redskins fan, and I only planned to tag along to just getaway. I think of this short trip as a bucket list item for my husband. He wanted to be downtown in walking distance to everything. He added that he wanted to expose the girls to nice things, so he wanted to stay in the best hotel in Pittsburgh. As a budget savvy Mommy, I do NOT mind. I just need clear goals so that I can look for the coupon for it. And even if it does not go as planned, at least you have a strategy or game plan to serve as your default.
The third step, you must have a good attitude in order to travel well. Earlier I mentioned that plans may not go as planned, but the right attitude will help you to feel that it is part of the adventure we call life. Every challenge carries with it an opportunity, but most of the time you can not see it until the hard part passes. To smile in the heat of adversity is almost like you are standing and seeking the face of God.
Finally, make sure you have tip money. It is better to give than to receive. Tipping reflects on you. It relates a message that says “you believe in adding to the quality of life for others”. Inadvertently you add to your trip by showing appreciation for others. This also helps you to fight the temptations of filling your trip with empty pleasures, missing the purpose of any trip. I see a trip as taking a date with yourself, and part of being good to yourself is being good to others. It is a time to reconnect with yourself and those you love. Sometimes we can loose touch with what matters in our day to day. Most trips remind us that the world is bigger than just what we see every day. I hope this helps you to reboot.