Your preferred future, as well as mine, entails built-in questions that lead us to the answers we desire.
Those questions include the why, the what, and the how.
As leaders part of our organizational responsibility is to help envision the future. And to not only visualize the future, but also to articulate it in such a way that it encourages and inspires those we lead and impact.
As individuals that can connect directly to our Supreme Leader, it is our responsibility to envision a preferred future that includes how we will support building His Kingdom in ways that reflects Jesus in heart, mind, soul, and action.
A Preferred Future
Back in 2009, a writer by the name of Patrick O’Neill published a blog entitled, Envisioning a Preferred Future. I recently came across that blog and thought it had some excellent points worth considering. Interestingly, our Pastor in a recent Sunday message emphasized some of the same points as he challenged us to consider what a preferred future might mean. Further, he challenged us to contemplate what God’s preferred future for us might be and how we can connect with it.
Growth is a given
As I read through the Bible I’m convinced that a key supporting message is one of growth - spiritually, organizationally, and personally. With that in mind, it is reasonable to conclude that the status quo is then, in fact, the antithesis to growth. One of the definitions of status quo seems to nail it, “a state where there is little hope of development or change”. Of course, it is the status quo that we know best because it comes most naturally to us.
There is the old story that if all our problems were represented by keys on a key chain and we then all tossed those key chains of problems into a pile, What would happen? Then, if we could select any set of keys we wanted, we would all select our own set of key chains again! Our problems are the most familiar and often we are the most comfortable with them. A strange anomaly..
In one of my recent blog posts, I outlined the process for reflecting on the subject of retirement. I encourage you to re-connect with those concepts and consider entering into the reflective process outlined when you think about your status quo and then move on to the “preferred future” consideration instead. Here is the link to that blog:
The "why" of our existence, either organizationally or personally is the key driver to change.
Here is a personal challenge for reflection: Does your “why” for even existing bring you a deep sense of meaning and purpose? If so, it will also provide the energy for addressing the “what” and the “how” questions of life.. And if not, each of us will remain stuck in the stagnant status quo.
The question that drives change
It is in the “what” question that points us in new, different, or expanded directions. Recently our Executive Team was preparing our team meeting agenda. We started with an insightful list of 9 issues to address. However, It occurred to us identifying the topics for discussion was important, it was the decisions to be made about each topic that was the desired result. Again, it was, is, the decisions to be made, that drives change. When we included a description of the “what” it is that needed to be decided, that our productivity and effectiveness went through the roof. So starting with the “why” question and then coupling it with the “what” question is critical when entering into the “preferred future” conversation.
Coupling those together works for both a personal discussion as well as in a business or ministry setting. It's not only "why" but also the "what".
Finally, what remains is the action issue; the “how” question. How are we going to move into that preferred future? What are the action steps to implementation? A preferred future without an action plan is a status quo equivalent.
God’s preferred future that He laid out for the Israelites through Moses in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy is to “remember the past, prepare for the future, and follow His guidance”. I think that approach to our preferred future is still the right path today. Take a look at what is presented in II Peter, the first chapter, “Bringing us to a living hope in Jesus Christ.” There is a preferred future!
In II Peter it says:
1. Add to your faith virtue,
2. To virtue knowledge,
3. To knowledge self-control,
4. To self-control perseverance,
5. To perseverance kindness,
6. To kindness love.
Here is a formula to grow by. Here is a formula that can inspire change. Here is a formula that can indeed lead us into a preferred future.
We are chosen, called, strengthened and upheld as we embrace the “preferred future” available to us and through Jesus.
Happy New Year
Let’s walk together in it with Trusted Advice Along The Way.