Each spring, I can't help thinking about a fresh start. In his book, Heart Shift, John Trent retells his conversation with a NASA engineer about tolerances in the trajectories of rockets headed for the moon. The engineer said, "Be just two degrees off from when you blast off, and roughly taking into account the time and distance traveled,?and you'll miss not only your point of orbital entry, but you'll miss the moon by a measly 11,121 miles."
Somehow, in the course of a year, it seems those two degree shifts happen in my life, and I find myself somewhere I didn't intend to be. It seems a good time to "recalibrate" both as a leader and as a follower of Christ.
In spring, it seems there are many days ahead that are full of opportunity for something new. It's a good time to consider where I am personally and where I'd like to be. Without some adjustments or wholesale changes, I run the risk of being in the same place next year. If, however, I don't get past the "thinking about it" stage, the changes that I inevitably want to make remain only ideas. The same principle applies whether I'm thinking strategically about my leadership or more personally about my character. To ensure that I get to real life change, I try to engage in each of these four steps.
1. Evaluate where you are. There are several ways to engage on where you are. First, is to pray and reflect. Ask, Where am I now? Psalm 139 says, "Search me O God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." A mini-personal retreat can be helpful. As we pray for insight into areas of growth, the Lord is sure to answer us.
Do some kind of personal audit or inventory in the important categories of life. I am motivated by this comment made by J. Oswald Sanders. "I ask myself every three months: Sanders, are you more like Christ than you were three months ago? Are you more loving? More kind? More patient?" His concern there was Christ-like character. Steve Moore, in his book, The Dream Cycle, has great resources for evaluation, as well as building a growth plan.
Ask others how you're doing. This can be a conversation, or a more formal process with an objective tool. This is beneficial in helping see aspects of ourselves that we can't see on our own. It can be as simple as asking someone, "What strengths do you think I should develop? What weaknesses?"