[blockquote source=”Ezekiel 14:3 (NLT)“]”Son of man, these leaders have set up idols in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests?[/blockquote]

I Love Setting Goals
I’ve been doing it since I was in University. It is an annual event, where I set aside time to set goals. When I first started setting goals, my focus was purely on professional goals. How many calls I want to make, how many clients I want to have, how much money I want to make. I figured, well, if I want to succeed in life, then these are the goals I have to set for myself.

So, using the concept of a SMART goal; this is when I drill it down to having a goal that is:

  • Specific: want to be successful is not specific, you need to spell out what it means to be successful, for instance: to be market leader in providing consulting services to schools
  • Measurable: what are the indicators you’d use to measure the market position? E.g. % of schools who are clients for the last three years
  • Achievable: it has to be possible to achieve. For instance, wanting to serve schools in all areas pertaining to school management is not achievable for me. One way of establishing if a goal is achievable is to ask yourself this question: based on my current capabilities, am I able to achieve this goal?
  • Realistic: the difference between this and “achievable” is capacity. As there are limits to every business model, you need to identify yours. Mine was: if I were to do this all by myself, would it be realistic to become a market leader within a year based on my business model?
  • Time-bound: this is a crucial one as a goal without a deadline is just a dream.

And so, based on this SMART goal concept, I wrote all my goals in the early days of my business. It worked amazingly and I should feel like a great success. But honestly, I was not happy.

Life’s a Wreck
Although I was a great achiever in my professional domain, the other areas of my life suffered. I was overweight, I hardly get any sleep, I relied on external stimuli (excessive amount of coffee and cigarettes) to keep me going. My one-year old bride was telling me she’s not happy being married. I have no friends. In other words, while I have success in my professional domain, my other areas of my life was in a total wrecked.

Principle-Centered Leadership
I knew I had to fix that, but how? That’s when I read Principle-centered Leadership. And to me, this book is unlike any other management or self-help book. This book qualified to be in the league of what Ray Edwards called “Wisdom Thesis“. It changed my perspective on goals setting.

Let’s take an example of a father, who promised his daughter that he would take her out. Then his cellphone rang and it was a prospective client whom he’s been trying to contact. Should he go back on his words and rush to meet this prospective client? Or should he tell this prospective client that he has another appointment?

At that time, I would probably have decided to meet with the client because my paradigm was, without money how do I support you? But after reading Covey’s book, I then realized that I know the price but I do not understand the value. To translate: I know that if I don’t go meet this prospective client it would cost me a sale (price) but I do not understand by going back on my words I diminished the value of our relationship (value).

This is when it dawned on me that, because I have not set goals in other areas of my life, I simply gravitate towards my priorities, which was my professional life. That was when I decided that I had to set goals in the other areas, such as people (relationship with others) goals as well as personal goals.

Are Goals Your Idols?
Now, when it comes to goals, we can sometimes make these goals out to be our idols. For instance, for a period of time, my professional goals were my idols. And what’s worse is that without a clear set of guiding principles, I began to do whatever it took (even cunning, wicked, an illegal means) to achieve my goals.

But, the one goal that we must have and it must be the first goal that we write is our spiritual goal. As in today’s verse, we need to place God first place.

Father please forgive us if we haven’t placed you first, top of mine. Please direct our minds, guide our hearts, and take our hands in crafting our spiritual goals. In Jesus name, Amen.

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