Most of us have experienced making New Year's resolutions and then finding a month later it is hard to even remember what we wanted to change! Perhaps one of your resolutions was to find work that is rewarding, fulfilling and a calling from God.
And yet, a month later you have made no progress and wonder if it is even possible to find work that is a calling and not just a job. If this describes you, there is good news. By setting priority goals and determining action steps you can partner with God in using your gifts to meet needs God is calling you to address.
Many people just let life happen to them. You can, however, join a small, elite group of people who choose to live intentional lives when you develop and write down your priority goals. Zig Ziglar said, “Everyone has individual goals that might be positive or negative, but 97% of the people in our society do not have an organized goals program ... Only 3% of all Americans have goals programs designed to reap the most benefits from life itself.” Completing the Action Plan Worksheet (link provided below) will set you apart from 97% of other Americans and positions you to experience success in your life.
Live your calling through priority goals
Even a simple goals program enables you to work in partnership with God to do more than you ever thought possible in your life. You will be repaid many times over for the effort you expend in developing your goals program. “Writing down goals … may sound like a lot of work,” acknowledges Tim Hansel. “But when they are tied up with your vision, your dreams, about the things you love to do and want to do,” he continues, “they easily become part of the path to your dream. And they never seem like work again. If you don’t set your own goals, you will always be accepting other people’s goals.” Living your vocational calling requires focusing your goals on what you want to do with the hours, days and years of your life.
Career success through action plans
Your action plan is a tool for setting achievable goals that are in alignment with what God is calling you to pursue. Many people have goals, dreams, or visions they want to achieve. They may fail to take action, however, because the dream or vision seems so large, distant, or overwhelming that they don’t even know where to begin. They give up on the God-given dream before they even get started. Your action plan can transform the seemingly impossible into the actually achievable.
Your action plan breaks down your priority goal into “bite-sized pieces” by outlining and organizing the chronological action steps needed to accomplish your dreams.
Your action plan can make a crucial difference in your life, moving you from daydreaming to making your priority goals a reality. If you consistently take small steps in the right direction, you will arrive at a significant destination.
Make each priority goal statement:
- Inspiring (aim for something you feel is a God is calling you to do, would be excited about doing; and pushes yourself out of your comfort zone).
- Specific (create a clear picture of what you want and need to do).
- Measurable (determine how you will know when you have accomplished it).
- Time-limited (assign dates and deadlines to create accountability, energy, and activity).
After creating your priority goal(s), next develop action steps that are necessary for accomplishing your goal(s). Here is an example:
Priority goal: I will begin working as a financial advisor by the end of September 20xx.
- Explore colleges to complete a bachelor’s degree in finance and/or business by December 20xx.
- Complete a degree by May 20xx.
- Develop LinkedIn, target resume and cover letter for obtaining internship by December 20xx.
Here is a Priority Goal and Action Plan Worksheet for helping you to achieve your career plans.
What if you don’t know what career goal to focus on?
If you are struggling with what your career goal should be, God may be calling you to take a “time out” in life and to do career planning so that you can be a wise steward of your gifts. One of the major reasons for the Great Resignation during COVID is that many people are realizing that they don’t enjoy their work and are giving too much of their lives to work that is unfulfilling. If this is you, your priority goal may be to explore how career testing and career counseling can help you to find the work God is calling you to do. You can learn more about how to take the needed steps by reading Career Master Planning: How to Find Work You Love to Do. You can also schedule a free career services consultation if you would like career counseling help.
Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. As National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their calling in work and life. You can also find more resources at ChristianCareerCenter.com, ChurchJobsOnline.com, PastorJobs.net, ChristianJobFair.com and CareerFitTest.com.