Every year I like to apply a theme word for the upcoming year that will drive the multi-year vision for my life’s journey. The theme is determined by reflecting on the previous year and bench marking the progress made based on the prior year’s theme. I simply ask, “Where am I on the life road map and where do I need to be in 12 months?” The theme for 2015 and the word I assigned was “transformation.” Indeed it was an intense year of personal and professional transformation which applied to every aspect of my life. I experienced tremendous growth maturing in my faith through my daily routine of bible study, prayer and attending our church school of discipleship. My marriage, work, friendships, mindset and overall joy improved. Praise God, who once again, led me to the exact people, places, resources and experiences that would shape a transformational journey of faith which yielded positive and tangible results. The beauty of transformation is that it never ends and we simply experience variations in the ebbs and flows of life.
A life road map is very similar to a business road map, and in my case, technology. I’ve developed yearly technology road maps that were designed to align with key business goals. For example, if the business wanted to acquire 10 new locations in the coming year, I had to be sure that the necessary technology infrastructure was in place to support that level of scale. If it wasn’t in place, it was my job to ensure that IT could upgrade in the timing necessary to support the business timing to expand.
A life road map is exactly the same. If I’m expecting to achieve or deliver a specific outcome in the 4th quarter of the year, I need to ensure that I have established the necessary infrastructure in my life to reach that goal. For example, if I decide to create a goal to increase our gifting to a favorite charity by a certain percentage, I need to evaluate our financial situation and establish a plan to support the increase vs. just assuming that this will be achievable when the time comes.
The road map can be detailed or high level based on our intentions. There aren’t any right or wrong road maps but as Thomas Carlyle said…“A man (or woman) without a goal is like a ship without a rudder.”
The life road map should contain the following components: (at a minimum)
- Vision for your life
- Life mission statement
- Categories of life focus areas
- Road map: Goals established for each category that align with the vision
- Activities necessary to reach the goal
Vision – “Where there is no vision, the people perish…” Proverbs 29:18
I received a vision for my life back in 2007. The vision was a calling to become a Missioner to the globe to learn and share a unique cognition of Truth and the application to help humanity live the best life – unimaginable. The dismantling of our society has occurred due to the neglect of knowing who God truly is and that our common purpose is to know, love and serve God. The vision expresses a radical faith sharing with the masses with an emphasis on our most disadvantaged nations.
Overshadowed by religious legalism, judgment and worldly focuses, the fabric of society has become tattered. The family unity is broken and we are obsessed with instant gratification. We’ve developed an entitlement culture that is destroying the very foundation that made America great through innovation, entrepreneurship, self-reliance and unlimited opportunities to achieve individual success.
The vision includes unique methodologies and practical teachings on how to truly live a “God first” lifestyle that integrates all aspects of our life, work, play, church, marriage, etc.
The mission statement should convey how we will carry out the vision. My mission statement was developed after a forty day experience in Rwanda where I learned that serving others applies to everyone that we encounter, everyday. It’s not an occasional event for a select few.
My mission statement…long but it was inspired 🙂
“My field…where I’m called to serve, is below my feet and I walk in His Grace serving this little space answering His call hour by hour, person by person, task by task in Divine service. Tomorrow might bring a new calling but tomorrow may never come so I prepare thoughtfully for tomorrow while fulfilling each opportunity of the day to bring Him glory.”
Categories of life focus areas
Life contains categories that requires our focus to be healthy and well integrated. Within each focus area, I have established the goals and the specific activities that will be needed throughout the year to reach those goals.
Road map: Goals established for each category that align with the vision
My road map format starts with a mind mapping exercise which is transitioned and expanded into a spreadsheet. Nothing fancy but the tools work. I use Free Mind mind mapping – great tool and it’s free!
Example: Faith Life – Overall Goal: Grow and mature my faith as a Disciple of Christ
Activities necessary to reach the goal
- Commit to daily time with God, Jesus calling, Bible study & prayer
- Consciously carry a God first, service minded leader approach everywhere, with everyone, everyday
- Give back, tithe weekly
- Complete Phase 3 & 4 of School of Discipleship at church
- Commit to church every Sunday – Wednesday when not traveling
- Bible reading & sharing with my husband
- Continue mentoring & expand based on God’s call
- Seek spiritual mentors as needed
My 2016 theme word is “Maximize”. It will be a year to build upon the hard work and continuous transformation that has been taking place in my life since 2007. I chose maximize because I believe that it’s time to take the journey of faith to the next level in every area of my life’s road map. Each core area is in a good state and moving in the right direction but I know that God’s plan is always much bigger than my feeble brain can create. Therefore, I diligently increase my faith by growing and gaining more knowledge through the Word and establish the intentions that will continue to enable His greatest plan for my life. If I don’t become intentional about growing and stretching beyond my human limits, it’s difficult for Him to get through the limited awareness. Striving for Christ consciousness should be the goal so He can reveal his will to release the unlimited potential within each of us. I believe that He designed each one of us uniquely with specific talents that are intended for us to leverage for the purpose of bringing Him glory in all aspects of this life which is a mere vapor.
After many years of searching for my purpose and looking somewhere else, I am fully aware that a life fully integrated with serving God as the number one priority in every circumstance is a remarkable and very rewarding way to live. The choice to be intentional with “God first” has increased every area of my life that you see above. Through trials, heartache, joy, God inspired experiences and the school of hard knocks, God keeps chipping away at my character flaws, fears, and limitations all the while covering it all with His amazing grace and unwavering love.
If you’ve never established a life vision, mission statement and road map, I highly recommend it. It’s not difficult and my example is simply a framework that can be customized to suit your life configuration and focus areas.
Some might see this as work but I find the process to be very exhilarating and it gives me the opportunity to celebrate the prior year while organizing the year ahead with an intentional outcome. Keeping in mind that my life is always driven by faith and therefore I must remain flexible to the call of the Lord and if the ship needs to change course, so be it. I obey the call and carry on in divine service. It is a fool proof plan because it’s not mine, I am the enabler and God is in charge. It’s a glorious adventure.
Here’s to a maximum 2016!