Today is the last day of 2013 and I hope as you leave this year behind you are fully prepared to head into 2014. I sincerely hope that all the men who are reading this entry will head into 2014 with greater confidence, purpose and vision than they did in 2013.
As men one of our main purposes is to be visionaries and leaders. It doesn’t matter if you are married, single or divorced. Your biggest and most important job as a man is to have a vision for you, your family or both. Being a true visionary is a lost art these days which is sad. Even in church, there are very few places where men can learn how to develop a vision and to help it come to pass. Sadly the average man can’t say who he is because he has no real vision for his life. One of two things in generally happening. First, he is either running around chasing after nothing (i.e. lacking purpose) or second, he is diligently chasing down a false vision based on what society tells us is important. As we head into 2014 I will be writing more about this topic as it is too involved to cover in one blog today.
As men we shouldn’t be heading into a new year without seeking the direction our lives should be going between now and 2015. Working on a long-term vision is also important but for today I want to focus on the next twelve months. Proverbs tells us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” I see this happening every day when I speak to men about their life and what they are hoping to accomplish. The two most common responses I get are “make money” and “get laid.” In case you didn’t know it that is just boyish ramblings, not a vision. This speaks more to the sad state of many of the men in this world as to their shortsightedness in life. This is especially true when the desire to have sex can derail just about every other aspect of our lives if we aren’t careful.
The most important part of having a vision or having goals in 2014 is to spend time writing them down. Everyone thinks they will remember all their goals but the truth is we rarely do. We might remember the bigger goals but rarely the “bridge” goals that help us go from Point A to Point B. Writing them down is key so you can track your progress over the course of the year. It will also help solidify your goals and believe it or not make them easier to accomplish. It doesn’t mean you will carry out all of them but on the other hand that doesn’t make you a failure. You should dream big and have both large, moderate and small goals as part of this process.
In a few hours Sharlay (my wife) and I will start working on our vision board for 2014. Many men might dismiss this idea as stupid, feminine, sissy or some other creative adjective. That is fine. You don’t need a vision board but this is my preferred method of casting my vision for the upcoming year. I am hoping that by the end of January her and I will also create a 5 year vision board.
This is a short version of our own process. Sharlay and I will spend some time together praying (because we believe 100% in getting God’s input in our life) about what we desire to see come to pass in 2014. We will then look through old magazines, newspapers etc we have around our apartment and cut out images, words, etc that represent those things. We then take those images and words and clue them to our poster board or display board. That is basically it. We will usually leave it up around the apartment at least for a month if there are things we decide to add to it. Over the course of the year we will pull it out from time to time and look at it. It is surprising because we often forget some of the things we placed on the board.
Again you don’t need a vision board but you should write these things down somewhere you won’t lose or misplace them. I like doing the vision board because it is a challenge for me to be creative and this forces me to be creative at least a little bit. We also hang on to our vision board (and I still have copies of the goals I used to write down from year to year) so we can go back and see how much we have accomplished in the past. It helps to keep the momentum going in future years when things sometimes can be rough.
Last year our vision board included the following items (which came to pass): eating healthier (we started eating Paleo diet in May), my promotion to Senior Manager, Sharlay got a dream job working for Fresh, dedicating myself to writing more (blog started in July!), vacations we wanted to take, Sharlay getting her driver’s permit and developing a strong marriage.
The following items were on our list that we did not accomplish: I wanted to lose 15 pounds (only lost 5), new apartment (for $$ sake we decided it would be better to wait a year), spend more time with God (not as successful as I would have liked) and start a family (also decided it would be better to wait until 2014).
I am asking you men to do three things this week. First, set aside some quiet time (no phones, tablets, TV’s etc) and seek out what you want to accomplish in 2014. Don’t just pick things society tells you are needed to be successful. Think about the things that mean the most to you both personally and professionally. Not all of these items will be “big” goals. Sharlay getting her permit was relatively small in the scheme of things but also very important to her to accomplish in 2013. Going on a vacation might not seem like a big goal but it is an important one. Having more time for family and friends also important but often overlooked as a “goal.” If you want to take a really big risk, PRAY about your 2014 vision and ask God to give you ideas and goals. Even if you never have prayed a day in your life or consider yourself religious. Give it a try. What is the worst that can happen? You might be surprised at the results.
Second, write these goals, visions and plans down in a journal, notebook or on your computer. If you want to create a vision board go ahead and do so. If you want to know what a vision board looks like do a google image search for “vision board.” Regardless of how you do it, you HAVE to write these things down. It will make your vision for 2014 more concrete in your mind and provide it with some substance.
Third, I want you to commit to pursuing a dream you have let die in the past. We all have goals, dreams or accomplishments that have gone unfulfilled in our lives. Things we have given up on ever coming to pass. Some of these dreams may have been “dead” to you for 15 or more years. I am challenging you to take at least one of those “dead dreams” and begin chasing it again. Be bold. Start your year with confidence. Don’t let what your past failures or challenges hold you back in 2014. You might not be able to accomplish it within one year (i.e. getting a degree) but you can at least start the process. Don’t let excuses and other people’s opinion’s hold you back. It is never, EVER, too late to pick up those dreams again and pursue them with vigor. Commit to slaying your giants in 2014. Seek adventure and you will find it.
Please let us know what your dreams are! I would love to hear from you and to see what kind of dreams and goals you are looking to pick back up. Run with them. Do not grow weary for in due time you will renew your strength. 2013 was a good year for me and my family but I am trusting that 2014 will be even better!
Until tomorrow, make it a better day!