Today we continue with planning for our personal growth with the monthly plan. If you’ve read the first part of the series and my introduction, you know that I’ve asked for you to set some goals for yourself for the coming 12 months. We’ve discussed putting together an annual plan to give some global focus to our year. Now, it’s time to take those goals, look at your calendar, and set up the first month of your personal growth plan.
There are several items you can consider when planning your monthly goals. For me, I look at a few key items:
First off, I try to plan a monthly mentoring meeting. This could be someone I know and many times, it’s someone I would like to get to know. While being a pastor isn’t a worldly calling, there’s nothing wrong with seeking the advice of others who are seeing God bless their work. For me, this includes business leaders as well as pastors. I want to spend time with people who can challenge me to grow. For some people, you have to consider calling them a month or more ahead of time. What I like to do is identify a few folks I would like to spend time with and I simply call them and ask for a luncheon meeting. I limit myself to one hour (less if they ask but 60 minutes seems to be ideal). I tell them up front that I would simply like to pick their brains about some ideas in my head and offer to buy their lunch if they’ll just give me one hour of their time. I have a space on my monthly calendars for this meeting and I simply fill in names as others accept my invitations. I’ve even gotten creative and met with some folks through the internet using online sites like SKYPE. If this is the case, I always send a thank you card that day with a gift card to a restaurant thanking them for their time. Depending on your work situation, this may or may not work for you but get creative. Who can challenge you in your life’s goals? Who can help you past a sticky situation you are experiencing? Take the time to plan these meetings out ahead of time and you will not be sorry.
The next thing I do each month is take time to review my previous month’s goals and objectives. If I wanted to read 10 books, lose 5 pounds, and meet with at least two or three families in the church, then I need to review those goals and see how successful I was? Of course, I have several goals and not just those used for my example but you get the idea. I review situations that I’m going through. Perhaps it’s something personal or professional. If I have an upcoming mentoring meeting with a leader who’s skilled in these areas, I try to plan my questions ahead of time during my review and utilize this time to seek his advice on such matters. Can you see how planning ahead helps you to grow? If you didn’t take time for these steps, you might simply be reacting to things happening around you rather than being proactive in them. This can be one way to grow as a leader that will set you apart from your peers.
As I look to the next month, I review the annual goals I’ve picked. Am I taking steps to achieve them? Am I wasting time on distractions that will not help me be a better pastor, father, husband, and citizen? Now is the time to make some adjustments, reset the goals for the coming month and get ready for the next step…
We’ll discuss that on Monday!