The Goal Makes The Man
I once heard the maxim, “The goal makes the man.” I did not understand it at first. But upon reflection, I have come to love what it means. Our goals not only help us achieve our dreams; our goals make us who we are. When we set goals, we must become the person it takes to achieve them.
So if you seek to grow and develop as a person and as a leader, set goals. The goal makes the man. It makes the woman, the family, the church, or the organization.
Tell me your goals, and I will tell you who you will be.
Twelve years ago I decided to become the best leader I could be. I also decided to teach leadership. Those goals have shaped who I am today in very specific ways. I am a better communicator. I am a better listener. I am a better student. I had to become all of these things in order to accomplish my overall goal.
At age 15, I decided that I wanted to be a medical doctor. To accomplish that goal I had to grow as a student, as a professional, and as a human being in order to meet my goal. I had to learn how to work hard, how to empathize, and how to stay mentally sharp even when I am physically depleted.
Our goals are a powerful force in our lives. The higher our goals, the bigger person we will become on the inside, not because of what we accomplish, but because of the battles and the sharpening of our character we must go through in order to reach our goals.
Last week I met a lady who rowed through the Atlantic, solo. She talked about toughness and persistence that she learned from preparing and from accomplishing this feat. Her goal took her character to the next level, not just to gain her the reward of accomplishing such an act.
If goals help us so much, why don’t we set more goals?
Why don’t we set high goals?
- We don’t stop our crazy busy life even for a moment to think, reflect, and plan ahead.
- We feel guilty that setting high goals may be materialistic or selfish.
- We think that setting goals is going to make us busier, and we are overwhelmed as it is.
- We acknowledge that we don’t know the future, so why set goals?
- We fear that goals will enslave us to a certain direction.
- We don’t see the point of great accomplishment. We think life is silly and pointless.
- We believe that doing a lot is not the path toward spiritual fulfillment, and if you are of the Christian faith, maybe even anti-Christian.
Is goal setting, ambition, and personal growth anti-Christian?
As a leader of the Christian faith, many times I have hesitated when I thought to set high goals. After all, Jesus taught humility and piety. What about those who leave everything for God? Aren’t they the best kind of people? Jesus said to leave everything and follow Him.
Isn’t success futile? Isn’t life silly? Oh, it surely is. If you don’t believe me, read the words of Solomon when he acknowledges he has everything, but realizes that it is all meaningless.
While I acknowledge the importance not making gods of our successes, goals, or personal growth, I don’t think scripture invites us to become dumb, lazy, unlearned, or unmotivated, living a life without vision and goals that could make us better. On the contrary, scripture encourages us to have all these, but under the lordship of God, under His direction and His leading, and for His glory.
My purpose for my personal goals, my growth, and my success must not be for self-aggrandizement. Rather, my purpose must be for stewarding what I have been given to walk in God’s will and do God’s work.
[You may want to reference this article: Setting Goals and Achieving Them.]
What are your goals?
My challenge to you today is to set your timer for 20 minutes, open your computer to Word, and give some thought to answering these three questions. Write down what comes to mind.
- What are your life goals?
- What are your company’s goals?
- What are your family’s goals?
One of my goals is to create an international faith-based healthcare brand that is known for its humanity, innovation, and excellence. I am not there yet. This goal will continue to stretch me to become the person and leader who can pull it off. Even as I type this, a voice in my head says, “You cannot do that. Who are you to think you can pull it off?” But I must refuse to give into apprehension.
Go forth and set big goals for yourself, your team, your organization, and your family. Then ignore the voices of doubt that will inevitably come from inside of yourself and from others.
I believe in you!