From 13.08.14 to 15.08.14 I was in Nakuru for a very special meeting. For those in the diaspora, Nakuru is about 2.5 to 3 hours drive from Nairobi on the floor of the Rift Valley. It is a scenic drive. My favourite part of the drive is the section along the escarpment. The view is magnificent and scary all at once. A couple of years ago we went to the very edge of the escarpment at the viewpoint to assess the drop…my oh my…it is unbelievably steep. Anyway, that is a story for another day.
I was invited to facilitate a session on goals and goal setting for the ladies and youth at the Rehoboth Church on O’lbonata Farm near Solai. This is a community church that was established about four years ago and it is amazing to experience. Their dedication and commitment to the word and each other is out of this world. Their theme this year is Transformation and the ladies have had great sessions every third Saturday of the month that tie into the theme. I am part of a community church and being in this one was totally encouraging. Several things stood out and encouraged me:
- They are a small congregation seeking to do big things in their community
- They are committed to doing their best with what they have
- They have a deep hunger to learn, to do more and grow as much as possible
- They are a community of wonderful giving people
I was invited to this community by my mother who goes there every month to teach. She has often mentioned that she has a translator when she is speaking but I never really thought about it. even as we drove up to the church from Nakuru I had not realised I would need to facilitate in any other language other than English. Then Pastor introduced me in fluent Kiswahili and suddenly it dropped in my heart…Girl, you have to do this in Kiswahili or you will need an interpreter. Can you imagine me facilitating the session in Kiswahili? For a couple of seconds I had a small panic attack…could I do it? Will they understand me? You see, I think best in English so my notes were in English not Kiswahili and I would have to translate them as I went along. Could I translate my notes into Kiswahili as I went along?
As we prayed to start the session peace settled in my heart and I knew that indeed it was possible. The only thing I had to do was be sure that God would walk with me and give me the wisdom and clarity that I needed. So I stood up and prayed that I would remember the Kiswahili I learnt in school. Well, I did and I was certain of the hand of God in that.
We were discussing goals and believe it or not there are lessons I learnt as I taught that I will share here.
A goal is simply something that we want enough that we are willing to put in time to achieve; it is also described as a measurable objective that we want to achieve. Please not that there is a great difference between a goal and a dream. A dream is a goal without a time line. I wondered to myself, how many times did I say I wanted to do something but because I didn’t put in the effort to make it work I never reached there. A goal has to be clearly stated and time bound for it to guide us to success.
But there is more to goals. In the goal setting process there are several key things to consider and plan into the process:
- Clearly state your goal: in simple language, state what you want to achieve
- Set a clear timeline: clearly state the end date of the goal
- Identify the things that will stop you from reaching your goal aka hindrances and obstacles: these are things that will keep you where you are or take you backwards. It could be habits, thoughts, challenges, current circumstances…just about anything that will keep you from getting there
- Identify the people you need on your team to reach your goal aka mentors, traveling buddies, tribe, team etc. This is the group of people who will walk with you and help you keep on track no matter what. They won’t let you slack or slow down even when you don’t want to go on. They are people who will keep you on point and whose opinion you respect. They are people you have given the permission to ask the hard questions and demand answers. The reality is that this group of people is a very small group of people and they are carefully selected.
- Identify the steps you need to take to get there: write a list of the things you need to and indicate the frequency of the said actions to reach your goal. List even those that seem insignificant so that you are able to know where you along the path of your goal. Remember no task is insignificant.
- Describe how you will know you have reached your goal. I know this sounds like No 1 but it is different. It states the actual feelings and physical reality when you get to your goal. If your goal was to lose 10kg, here the answer would be something like I will feel lighter, healthier, more active, more confident, I will adjust my clothes etc.
- Identify two things that will help you stay on track: these are the things that will motivate you to keep going.
As we talked through these simple steps, I could see light bulbs going on in the minds of the women in the meeting and I had several of
my own Aha moments. Most of them are farmers and it was amazing to realise that they didn’t know their exact expenses because they had never thought to write the costs down and total them up. Others had never known how to calculate profit or the lowest price they could take for their crop. This made me wonder about my own life…how often had I missed my goal because I had not seen the steps clearly or I did not know what to do or didn’t realise there was something standing in the way.
Many things in my life made a lot of sense as I shared these simple steps. Ever since that day, I have taken stock of things in my life and realised that there is so much to do. I found areas that need to be left altogether, others that with a little work will be fine and others that I need to start from scratch. The hardest part in this process was taking an honest look at my life and accepting the current state. It was hard because I realised how I actually was far from where I wanted to be at this particular moment. However, as I looked at my life in the face I found areas I had done very well, I could see areas I could have done things differently and I decided to become bold and take one little step a day so that soon I will be making leaps and bounds.
So as my first action to ensure I move forward consistently, I will list all my goals and celebrate every time I achieved something. From today I commit myself to:
- Clearly expressing my goal each time I craft a new one
- Constant evaluation of how far I am
- Celebration and reward for all goals and steps completed
- Continuously setting goals so that I never have nothing to work on.
Join me and let’s change our lives and our areas of influence one goal at a time