“Don’t shop when you’re hungry.” That’s a good piece of advice that gets passed around. Are you familiar with it? Have you ever thought about why? If you shop based on what you want at…
A good friend of mine always chooses a theme for his coming year. He bases his theme choice on a combination of what he learned from his last year, what he hopes for the coming year, and the practical details of what’s ahead.
Back in college when he first told me about how he did this, I didn’t think too much of it. More recently, my friend Lacy from A Sacred Journey has been a consistent advocate for choosing a word (and all things related to intentional and spiritual living— see her post about her word for this year here). Over the years the idea has grown on me. Sometimes I’ve felt like I want a theme for my year but don’t know what it should be. Other years I haven’t felt the need for a theme. Still others it’s felt like there’s an obvious choice.
This year for me is the later. There’s one thing that is on my horizon. It’s as if everything that I’m pursuing passes through it.
But before I tell you what it is, I want to offer some ideas for you to think through as you consider what your theme might be…
If you’re thinking about 2016, New Years Resolutions, and how to make the year great, I’ve got some news for you:
Doing the same thing won’t produce different results.
Every year it’s the same. We set resolutions. We break resolutions. We get to the end of the year and wonder what has happened.
And then we do it again.
Well it’s time to break the cycle. It’s time to kick 2016 where it hurts.
Here are a handful of ways: …
Picture this with me: a large elephant chained to a small post in the ground.
Maybe you’ve seen a similar sight? It’s a powerful visual. Why would a large and powerful elephant be held captive by something so small and insignificant?
It’s because of what that elephant has come to believe about himself and that post. If you tie an elephant to a post when he’s young, he can’t get away. If you do this regularly while he grows, he’ll continue to believe that he can’t escape, no matter how large he becomes.
If the world tells you the same story enough times, it’s hard not to believe it.
By the time he’s an adult he won’t challenge the power that a little post and chain has over him.
He accepts the fact that he can’t pull the post from the ground — even though he now can. He has a history with that post and remembers the power that it used to have over him.
But the fact is that he could break free if he wanted to— if he could believe that he was capable.
How often have you accepted something that was true in the past as being truth in the present? How many posts have you been tied to? How much would it take for you to break free?
“He said, ‘You can’t plan it all out, you know. You just have to do what comes next. You can’t plan your career.'”
One of my clients was sharing about a conversation she had with a man who has been very successful in the field she’s pursuing.
This client and I had worked hard together. We had explored her stories and found these themes repeated again and again. It was as if her life was saying, “This. This. Do this!” and she had finally been able to embrace it.
Having found what she wants to do and why she wants to do it, she was strategizing where to start and how she’d go about it.
“What do you think about that?” She asked me. “It seemed like he almost disagreed with what we are doing. How would you respond to that?!?”
Does Career Planning Work?
It’s generally agreed upon that having goals is a good thing. Western culture applauds when people set audacious goals and follow through on plans to achieve them. It’s almost built into us to have lofty pursuits.
There’s something I’ve been trying to put my finger on about this. There’s a place for goals and plans, but there’s also a limit to them.
Oliver Burkman, in his book The Antidote, explores this idea through the lens of the 1996 Everest expeditions that tragically claimed the lives of 15 people in one day. There’s much that can be said about that day and what went wrong with the different parties who were all attempting to summit the mountain. But Burkeman boils it down to this:
The climbers pushed through to achieve their goals long after it was safe to do so.
Summiting Everest is all about timing. There are small windows when the weather cooperates long enough for it to be safe. The summit must take place in the late morning or early afternoon in order for the expedition to get back to base before nightfall brings a change in the weather.
On that day in 1996, the timing was off, and yet the climbers pushed through—a decision that cost them their lives.
This is a story about climbing, but it’s also a story about what a person will do to achieve his or her goals…