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My Word for 2015-2016


For me, goal making begins in the fall. The way my job works the fall is the start of a new season or year. However, I know for many that the dawning of a new calendar year is also the time to reevaluate priorities and create goals or resolutions. Therefore, this is a repost from the fall. My hope is that this post will serve as tool to help you in your goal making process.

I have written extensively about the importance of creating goals, how to write goals effectively, and shared my goals for the 2015-2016 year. As apart of my goal making process, I also choose one word that I want to focus on for the new season. Typically, this word has to do with a significant weakness in my life. Now, I have always believed that we should focus more on sharpening our strengths than fixing our weaknesses. But I also recognize that our struggles can distract and even disqualify us from reaching our potential. The truth is that we will either be known for our strengths or our weaknesses. For this reason, I am proponent of striving to get our weaknesses to par or average. This way we can live in our strengths and not be hindered by those weak areas.

The older I get the more I become aware of the myriad of weaknesses in my life. It’s overwhelming as I begin to list them out. I can’t possibly “fix” all these areas in a year and for some even in an entire lifetime. This is why I like choosing one word. It simplifies growth. I can focus on one deficiency and spend significant time improving in that area. Then the hope is that in a 5 year period, I will have 5 weaknesses that are closer to par and less likely to distract from my aspirations.

Last year I chose the word “vulnerability.” For 2015-2016 my word is “finish.” So why “finish?” Back in 2009, I bought my first house (and this is still the house I live in today). Like most homebuyers, once the sale was finalized I began working on projects to make the house mine. One of those projects was removing all the wallpaper from each room and then painting. By the end of the first year, every room lacked wallpaper and had new paint on its walls besides the master bathroom. (I’m thankful to all my friends who spent many hours helping with this project.) Fast forward to 2011 and the master bathroom has not been touched. That year I made a commitment to finish the project and even told a friend of mine about my goal. Guess what? We are currently over halfway through 2015 and the bathroom still has wallpaper and no paint. I’m quite embarrassed to share that, but it illustrates my struggle with finishing.

I wish I could say that is the only project or area in my life where I’m not a finisher. But I can’t. When I evaluate my priorities (faith, family, friends, and work), there are many initiatives started but not completed. They are in the proverbial “one day” folder. (One day I’ll get to that task.) I want to be known as a finisher not a starter. Here’s why I think finishing is so important…

Finishers are trustworthy

Obviously those who finish get things done. They are known for their accomplishments. But more importantly than merely being productive, finishers gain trust. Their family and friends know that when they commit to a project, it will be completed. This dependability enhances relationships and removes doubt. As Denzel Washington’s character in John Q says, “Your word is your bond.” A finishers’ word is better than a signed contract.

Finishers make sacrifices, not excuses

Our society loves to play the victim card. Too many people blame everyone else for the difficulties in their life. Their conversations are filled with “what ifs” and they have an excuse for each unfulfilled dream. Finishers don’t make excuses; they make sacrifices. They sacrifice time, money, and resources to ensure the completion of commitments. Unforeseen circumstances are detours not roadblocks to the destination. Problems are opportunities for growth and innovation. They recognize they have choice in how they react and act to life’s hurdles. Complaining is not in their vocabulary but perseverance is.

Finishers say “no” more than “yes”

Entrepreneur and billionaire Warren Buffett says, “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” Finishing and success are connected. You can’t have one without the other. Really successful people recognize that everyone (including the President of the United States) has the same amount of time (24 hours) to get things done. Therefore, they are selective with their commitments. This allows them to have a laser focus on a few key priorities. Fulfilling those priorities enhances their ability to make difference. Finishers understand that when you try to do everything you end up accomplishing nothing.

Finishers dismiss perfection

In my life, perfection not laziness hinders most of my ideas. I want that project to be just right and therefore nothing ever seems good enough. What happens? The project is left incomplete. In my opinion it’s not worthy for the world to see. And that’s where the perfection lie exists. I will never know it’s significance if I don’t complete it. A project with mistakes that is shared will have more impact than one that is never brought into the light. Now I believe that our work should be excellent. But excellence and perfection are exclusive of one another. Excellence and mistakes can co-exist. Dream, work hard to accomplish those aspirations, share them with the world, and then let others form an opinion on “how good it is.”

What struggle do you want to grow in this year? Feel free to share and let’s encourage one another as we strive to get these weaknesses to par.

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About the Author:

I have a passion to equip or prepare young leaders for maximum impact in their spheres of influence. Former Pine Cove camp director and currently a general manager for Hawaiian Falls. I am originally from South Louisiana but now live in East Texas with my beautiful wife, Robyn.

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