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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dreams, Goals, or Plans: Why Should I Care?

A goal without a plan is just a wish.

A friend posted this recently and I read it thinking, “Am I wishing I could be ___ or am I planning it?”

Companies, politicians, religions, and nations all interact with us hoping to get the reactions they find beneficial. We buy their clothes, worship their deities, vote for their party, and fight in their armies. So what effects us the most? Would you rather buy, follow, or vote your shared belief in something or based on org charts and graphs? 

Think about this. Life, leadership, inspiration, and marketing can be boiled down to three topics:

What you do.
How you do what you do.
Why you do what you do.

The Golden Circle describes the central question we all share: Why do we do what we do? 

To answer this question you have to ask yourself about your career, your hobbies, and your personal life. It applies to everything in our lives.

Everyone knows what you do. We all work. Some of us know how we do it. We show up early or stay late because we want to be the hardest worker in the office. We learn more skills or focus on tasks to be more efficient. Few of us really consider why we do it, though. It’s not just making money. That, as Simon Sinek says, is just a result of what we do. Why you do what you do is much more difficult to answer.

“Why do you get out of bed in the morning and why should anyone care?”

What makes a good teacher a great teacher? I think it is because of the why. Great educators communicate their “why’s.” When I taught I offered to make dreams come true. With education, opportunity, and ambition, any one of my students could be anything in the world. They could be president. They could be a business person. They could be a teacher.

The “why” was hard to nail down, though. You could tell students in the average Alaskan village about teaching in simple terms. Be a teacher: you will make decent money, receive great benefits, have summers off, and get to stay in your village. Sounds good right?

I never pushed students to be educators though. I simply told them how important they are, how special their ideas and experiences were. I told them they were part of unique people group whose culture and history were unlike any others the world over. I told them I loved them because they were human beings, created in the image of God with a purpose and value beyond Earthly language. If they wanted to share this philosophy and their lifestyles with others a powerful way to do so was to teach. Oh and by the way, you get summers off, decent pay, and great benefits.

This is bigger than one classroom though. It is about communities and people working together. It’s about shared dreams and the betterment of society. Dr. King’s speech said, “I have a Dream” not “I have a plan.” School districts, then, should have leaders of a similar mindset. We need dreamers who can communicate visions and missions passionately and with authority. Plans and programs are a dime a dozen.

I have been thinking a lot about my "why's" these days. It's tough sometimes to answer these questions. It challenges me. It makes me grow. I decided on a few things:
  1. I will make God a priority. 
  2. I will not work just for the money.
  3. I will not put work ahead of family. 
  4. I will not sacrifice my happiness to achieve more in my career. 
  5. I will be a role model for young people. 
  6. People will come first.  

What is your goal? What is your dream? What is your “why”?