In my last blog post, I told you I don’t have goals; I have priorities. While some think this is just an issue of semantics, I differ. Goals are an end. Once met, it’s over. For me to have goals means I must complete it. A goal can become so consuming for me, I lose track of other important things in my life, like my life.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary has several definitions for the word priority:
- something given or meriting attention before competing alternatives
- the things that someone cares about and thinks are important,
- a condition of being more important than other things
- Just what is important? And who makes that determination.
My mission statement guides all that I do. It is the basis for my priorities. If I serve God by serving others, I need to know what it is I need to do to serve others. Let’s look at a couple of examples.
When I was homeschooling my children, the priority was to raise Godly adults. To meet this priority my children’s relationship with God needed to be more important, a priority over, algebra or world history. Each step of our learning path was to prepare our children to serve God in whatever capacity he wanted them to be in. This preparation may take the form of learning physics or writing story.
My gift is teaching through writing and speaking. My priority is to use these God-given gifts to serve others. How can I do that? One group I strive to serve is families with a loved one suffering from mental illness. I speak to groups, write blog posts, host support groups, write books.
Acting on My Priorities
Now that I’ve established how I’m going to carry out my priority: serve families dealing with mental illness, I determine what are the activities needed to do that. Let’s say I choose to host a support group. What are the important tasks to do that? Training, location, notification, and the actual “meeting.”
- Training- I received training and advanced training through the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the county department of mental health. This is in addition to my college studies in psychology.
- Location – I have chosen an online location, a Facebook page and group, Shattered Lives.
- Notification – Through announcements in newsletters, on social media, and this blog.
- Meeting – Answer questions, provide encouragement and resources for the group.
Let’s say I didn’t have the training. My action list would look differently. It would only include the actions needed to gain the necessary training.
I don’t work on one action at a time. Sometimes they meld together. For example, my newsletter and website cover other activities that are guided by my priority. I write about homeschooling, preparation, as well as mental illness.
You may wonder how I keep all of this on-track without defined, time-limited goals. That’s the next step in this series.
Do you have a mission statement?
Does it determine your priorities?