Life has knocked my dreams off track so many times. There’s a lot of stuff, big stuff inside me. Stuff I believe is from God. Dreams that are more than wishes, dreams that are deeply connected to my purpose for being on this earth. When will I start again? Right now!
Before we can change something, do something important, or lift to the next level we must have a sense of urgency to keep us from settling into our comfort zones.
John Kotter, in his book, Leading Change, lists one of the necessary components of leading an organizational change as “creating a sense of urgency.” Before a leader can lead a group forward, the people have to have a sense of urgency; otherwise, they stay in their comfort zone. I believe the same is true for personal transformation.
“Right now!” is a sense of urgency that moves us to action. If we are to accomplish something important, change something, or move out of our comfort zones, we must have a sense of “Right now.”
Most people have sizable dreams they wish to accomplish someday. I love to develop ideas, write useful things, and help leaders develop the people in their lives. I have a hard time staying on track for the long-haul. I have one book complete, but needing a rewrite, one 25% complete, and another in fragments that need organized and gathered. Those things are just one of my big God-dreams. I’ve already written a lot, developed a lot, its in me–now on to the next level! Right now!
“Right now!” is the time.
We will fulfill our big God-dreams when we get a “Right Now!” attitude. Today will turn into tomorrow, tomorrow will turn into next week, next week will turn into three decades. I have some dreams three decades old. If I nurture them for three more decades without action, “game over.”
Charles Hummel wrote a booklet entitled, The Tyranny of the Urgent. I’ve never read it, but the red cover with yellow words is fixed in my mind. The title is all I need to convey whatever message is in the book. Urgent things have a tendency to take precedence over important things. Urgent things are “Right now!” things.
A well-known priority matrix encourages us to prioritize thusly:
Priority One: Things urgent and important
Priority Two: Things important but not urgent
Priority Three: Things urgent but not particularly important
Priority Four: Things neither important nor urgent
Priority three items kill me; urgent items on my action list that do not move my purpose forward, yet I must do them.
Priority two items are my greatest challenge. Things vitally and critically important that can always wait until tomorrow, and too often, they do.
I have a card under the glass of my office desk. I gave a duplicate to my girls when they were teenagers. I’ve seen Kelly’s card prominently displayed in a few locations. The card has a Jim Rohn quote that says, “If you don’t have a plan for your life, you will fall into someone else’s plan, and guess what they have planned for you—not much!”
Other people’s “urgent” will kill your “important.”
We must gain a sense of urgency for important things necessary to fulfill God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Right now!
How do we gain a sense of urgency for the critically important things we often push into “tomorrow?”
#1 Keep your perspective.
Maintain a finite perspective. I have an app on my phone that reminds me, Lord willing, how many days I have before celebrating my 80th birthday. Why? I need to grasp my finite amount of time. I cannot spend my life pushing important things until tomorrow. It is urgent that I move things forward every day. Age 80 is not necessarily my finish line, but that is the number that focuses me on the finite. I’ve learned all too well that life can beat you up and stop you in your tracks if you do not keep perspective.
We must also maintain an infinite perspective. Do your actions and investments affect eternity? When you pass from this life, the only thing that will matter are the investments you’ve made in others and in the Kingdom of God. What must you do today to advance infinitely important things?
#2 Embrace the power of incremental movement.
You cannot accomplish your God-given life plan in a day. We do not accomplish a life plan by holing up in a cabin for a month. You must move little bits and pieces forward every single day of your life. Think of one small thing you could do today, or everyday, to move your plan forward; consider that one thing both important and urgent. Right now!
#3 Define your action items and establish deadlines.
What are the little things you must do every day?
Break your big dreams down into chunks. If you want to write books, focus on the first one. Establish milestones, such as chapter topics and outlines. Put deadlines on your calendar for each of those tasks. What must you do daily to meet those goals? Those daily tasks are important and urgent.
If you cannot move the long-term important into a sense of short-term urgency, you will fail.
#4 Fire your passion.
You can only hold on to a dream if you are passionate about it. If the passion wanes and dies, perhaps it wasn’t a God-dream. I believe passion comes from a God-revelation. You have to renew your passion often to keep important things important and your sense of urgency fired up.
Fix your sights on the big stuff, the big dreams God has put inside you.
Life happens. You will have to adjust your calendar every week. Urgent matters will pop up and you will have to deal with things outside of your plan. But, you must have a sense of urgency about your priorities or you will fall into someone else’s plan for your life—and guess what they have planned for you, not much.
I would love to hear about some of the ways you keep your dreams and passions alive.