Today we have a guest post from our friends at Counsel & Capital, a nonprofit “investment bank” that serves Christians pursuing biblical priorities, free of charge. They help individuals and organizations move from “stuck” towards bursts of progress. They’ve helped everyone from young college grads to some of the largest and most respected Christian organizations in the world.
They have recently released a new book Breakthrough: Unleashing the Power of a Proven Plan.
Old or young, rich or poor, big or small, we all have dreams and goals. At some point, perhaps often, all of us reach a plateau. Sometimes, plateaus become energy depleting dead ends. Sooner or later, every person gets “stuck.” So does every organization. “Stuck” is where dreams go to die.
So, how do you get “unstuck?” Where do you begin? We start by asking a simple, but hopefully thought-provoking question:
What one opportunity or obstacle, if leveraged or removed, would most dramatically propel you towards your dream?
Find your key obstacle blocking progress.
We call this our “key log” process, a concept that comes from the logging industry. When giant logs float down rivers to be loaded up at their final destination, sometimes they get stuck and create a logjam. Instead of tackling the whole mess at once, workers search for the “key log” – the one log that is at the root of the problem. If they can find and remove the key log, the logjam begins to untangle itself and the logs start moving again.
What is the “key log” leaving you feeling stuck? What is at the root of your logjam? Initially, the answer we almost always hear is money:
- “If I just didn’t have debt…”
- “If I just had a bigger budget…”
- “If I could access more cash…”
Well, maybe our question is not that simple. Because guess what? The answer is never money. (And we hate the words “always” and “never.”) However, we’ve had enough experience to know that there is more money in the world than there are trustworthy leaders who have all the ingredients they need to succeed.
The good, the better and the best
So, where do you look if you get stuck or feel your dream dying?
Here’s the good news: 95% of the time, your key log can be found in one of six places.
Here’s the better news: Those six places are the same places to look whether you’re a college grad or a 200-year-old ministry.
Here’s the best news: These places are not our opinion but come from the biblical account of David and Solomon building the temple.
So let’s explore the three of these most common places to find the key log leaving you feeling stuck:
1. Put Your Dream on Paper
Is your dream in writing? It sounds simple, but the act of writing down your vision tends to give it more importance, which makes it more likely that you will accomplish it. In fact, studies back this up.
Your written vision statement should be inspiring to you and to those who hear it. Staying inspired while pursuing a dream is crucial – challenges always await dreamers. When writing, try to be as clear and succinct as possible. Can a 7th grader understand it? Can it fit on a t-shirt? And ideally, your vision should also be measurable so that you and others will know exactly when the dream has been realized.
2. Planning is Critical
Too often, dreams die because they lack credible plans. William Siegel once said, “Men don’t plan to fail, but fail to plan.”
Most ministries and individuals want to go straight from identifying their dream to sharing it with others in order to raise funds – this might be the most dangerous mistake you can make. A dream without a plan is merely a delusion.
Sometimes Christians think that planning is inconsistent with trusting God; however, the Bible teaches over and over again that planning is not only biblical, but absolutely vital. Moses made plans to build a tabernacle, David to build a temple, and Joseph to prepare for seven years of drought. And these are just the beginning . . .
Many dreamers struggle with the discipline of planning—the two activities demand different skill sets. But if you can plan out your vacation, don’t you think you can (and should) plan out your life’s dream?
Start by admitting that you need a plan, and recognize that it is biblical. And it’s okay to start small–you can build a plan one step at a time. But if you’re still struggling, enlist the help of someone who is detail-oriented and naturally good at planning.
Planning is not easy or fun or glamorous, but it is absolutely essential. Don’t let your dream die because you expect it to execute itself.
3. Wise Leadership
A dream must have a leader, and that leader must have knowledge–with specific experience and required skills. But knowledge isn’t enough.
“Wisdom is supreme; therefore, get wisdom” (Proverbs 4:7). King Solomon prayed, “Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people.”
Wisdom can be obtained and demonstrated in many ways, but when it comes to a dream, a crucial part of wisdom is staying focused. After planning, the failure to stay focused is how most dreams die. Leadership that isn’t focused produces chaos.
Whether you’re an individual or an organization, constrict yourself to one major focus at a time. After all, a distracted dreamer won’t get very far. King Solomon was remarkably focused. Only after he consolidated power did he begin to build the temple, and only after that was completed did he build his own palace, and then only after all that was done did he go to work on building the cities of Hiram.
These three starting places can bring real breakthrough if you’re feeling a logjam in your life or business. If you have the ember of a worthy dream burning within you, congratulations! Cherish it. Fuel it with fervor and let it inspire your imagination. Don’t let it go. If you get stuck, don’t give up. “Stuck” is the graveyard of dreams. So start by writing it down, planning it out, and yoking it with a wise and focused leader. And if you need more help, contact Counsel & Capital.