Recently I’ve taken a leadership role in a local church organization. When I first started, I didn’t realize the intense spiritual opposition that would be creating conflicts and obstacles with every step we tried to take forward. As I worked and worked through problem after problem, some small, some quite large, I became aware of a process I have employed most of my life but one I had not previously thought about or through.
The more I have thought about this over the past couple of months, the more I see how I do things when opposition hits or when I have a goal I feel called to pursue. I call this process “Vision, Planning, Courage.”
Have you ever heard the old adage that you can’t hit something you’re not aiming for? Well, that is as true in an organization as it is in an individual life.
I have a daughter in college right now, and one of the issues I see time and again with those she is going to school with is lack of vision. They are in college. Why, they’re not really sure. For what, well, they’re hoping they’ll figure it out. For now, they’re just kind of marking time, going forward but really not.
One of the things I saw a lot when I first started in the organization (and others I’ve been in) is a lot of marking time. Why do we do it this way? Because that’s the way it’s always been done. What if it’s not working? Well, it would be too difficult to change it, even if circumstances have changed drastically. Call it marking time in the midst of an earthquake… hoping if you just keep moving in one place eventually things will settle down. Very often, they don’t.
So the first thing I did with the problems we were facing is ask, “What is the vision? Where do we WANT to be—even if that sounds impossible?” Once you have a target identified, you’ve begun the process of setting your direction to get there.
I see this so clearly with my books. My original “vision” was that I had stories I loved to tell myself and I wanted to capture them so I could enjoy them over and over again. Now, God had a plan for that vision I never could have imagined back then. But that’s where this writing journey started for me.
However, there are some people who have BIG visions but somehow they stay just that—visions. “Dreamers” – that’s what people call them as if that’s a bad thing. It’s not! We NEED dreamers, but we need dreamers who can then work through those dreams to create a plan.
I can have a dream of building a waterfall in my backyard, but if I simply dream of it, trust me, the waterfall never materializes (I know because I’ve tried this!). However, if I make a plan for my waterfall—draw up blueprints, figure out where I want it, how big I want it, how much and what supplies I will need, contract with someone to build it…. Now, I’m on my way to actually seeing the waterfall become a reality.
So with my books, when my “vision” expanded to consider sharing these stories, I then had to think through HOW to get them out there. That wasn’t easy, and there were a lot of bumps and changes along the way, but it was my willingness to make a plan that allows you to read my books today.
There is, I think, one final step and that is having the courage to take action. The best laid plans will still be laying there if you don’t put some foot soles to the pavement. Yes, action is hard. In fact, that’s why I think I started this step not with “action” but with “courage.”
Let’s face it, it’s hard to step out there. It’s hard to put your dream on the line and work to make it happen. There is nothing “easy” about it.
Even now, even with “best seller” tacked to my name and to many of my books, it’s not easy. It takes concerted effort—advertising, writing for blogs, putting out new books, learning new online systems, rolling with all the punches the distribution sites throw. It is NOT easy.
But oh, how much fun it is to see what once was just a “vision” come to life and explode into reality!
So if you’re facing a problem today or if you have a dream, know it’s time to put Vision, Planning, and Courage to take Action to work in your life. Those three twined and laced with God can work miracles!
Copyright Staci Stallings, 2015
About the Author:
A stay-at-home mom with a husband, three kids and a writing addiction on the side, Staci Stallings has numerous titles for readers to choose from. Not content to stay in one genre and write it to death, Staci’s stories run the gamut from young adult to adult, from motivational and inspirational to full-out Christian and back again. Every title is a new adventure! That’s what keeps Staci writing and you reading.
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