An Olympic Mindset

Olympic Events

The Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics have provided many memorable moments. For me, just thinking about the training of these athletes brings a level of sheer amazement. These athletes have trained for hours each day for many years or decades. With the help of many others they have focused, committed, sacrificed, endured and persevered to become the top winter sport athletes on the planet.

This kind of commitment to training should leave all of us non-Olympians both inspired and challenged. For instance, imagine what could happen if we took more of an Olympic mindset to our own development in the year ahead. 

As followers of Christ and servant leaders in God’s Kingdom work, Paul calls us to “…train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value but godliness has value in all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” (1Timothy 4:7-8).

Paul acknowledges the value of physical training. We should care for and strengthen our physical bodies. However, he is also clearly calling Christ-followers to an intentional and systematic approach to growing in godliness. Though our transformation is a work of God and requires the support of many others, Paul reminds us that we must take proactive responsibility in our development.

In the Arrow Leadership Program, we encourage each participant to be more intentional, systematic and proactive in their own holistic development as Christ-followers and servant leaders. One of the key tools we use is called a leadership plan. 

To develop a leadership plan, each leader prayerful identifies one to three areas where they sense God is calling them to grow over the next year. For each area, you then design a customized training plan to facilitate growth. The plan shouldn’t be long or complicated. In fact, it’s best if it’s point-form on one-page and put in a place where it is seen regularly.

Here is a very brief look at the nine key elements of our leadership plan:

  1. Growth Objective – A clear and specific statement identifying the area targeted for growth. This can be a current strength or weakness. It can be related to growing in spiritual intimacy, cultivating character, deepening relationships or growing leadership competencies. The objective is unique to the leader.
  2. Envisioned Future – Paint a positive word picture of what the future looks like in this area if/when traction on growth is realized.
  3. Supporting Verse – Identify a bible verse that brings focus or inspiration to this objective.
  4. Current Reality – Be brutally honest on how you are currently doing in this area. This gives a clear starting point to build on.
  5. Competing Commitments – What are you currently doing, believing or not doing that is reinforcing your current reality? It’s important to keep asking “why” until you get to the root reasons holding you back. Unless you get to the root reasons, you will likely experience underlying resistance.
  6. Specific Action Steps – What one-time steps will help you move forward on this objective? These are tasks you complete and then check-off when complete – ie. Order and read book on parenting.
  7. New Rhythms – What are the on-going rhythms that you want to establish to grow in this area? These are daily, weekly, monthly or annual habits you want to begin to integrate into your life. Start slowly and build over time.
  8. Resources Required Who do you need to help you get traction in this area? Who can pray, encourage, challenge, practically help or keep you accountable? What else do you practically need? (i.e. books, find a gym, etc.)
  9. Review and Evaluation – What specific outcomes (see Envisioned Future or Current Reality) will indicate progress? Decide on some outcomes-based questions you can ask yourself and how often you will ask. Be sure to celebrate forward steps and to keep updating the plan.

A leadership plan can be a tremendous tool for being more intentional about your growth and development. Regardless of the tools we use, the main thing is to be more intentional in our training toward godliness.  By God’s grace, let’s join as partners in God’s work “…confident in this,that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)

To The Point,

Dr. Steve Brown

PS – If you are more interested in the concept of a leadership plan, click here [download id=”1″] to download a blank leadership plan template.