What is the biggest change you could make this year that would have the most significant impact on your life — creating the most benefit for the people you love and lead?
If that seems overwhelming, consider this, what is the biggest change you could make this month that would have the most impact on your life this year — creating benefit for those you love and lead?
Or break it down to even more immediate circumstances, what do I need to change this week to most impact my next 30 days — creating impact for those you love and lead?
All leaders need to make changes to better serve others. The effective leader is able to healthily evaluate their life and leadership effectiveness by considering what is working and what is not working to help others flourish in their life and work.
When we approach our leadership by understanding the good it does for others, we are able to increase areas of effectiveness and change or limit areas of ineffectiveness.
While we should look to external signs of flourishing in our lives and in the lives of those we lead, we must also realize the most significant changes most of us can make are inward. Dallas Willard says, “When we are formed inwardly, outer issues become much more manageable.”
Willard taught that all human accomplishment (all change) follows the same pattern — vision, intention, and means. Willard believed that even the most important progress, like spiritual transformation, which can only occur through the grace of God, still follows this same pattern.
To keep this general pattern in mind, Willard liked to use a little acronym VIM (Vision, Intention, and Means), as in the phrase “vim and vigor.” All of us want to live a more fruitful life. Yet, to make significant changes we need the following:
- Vision: the ability to imagine with detail what it looks like to live and lead fully in the kingdom of God and as fully as possible now and here, not just hereafter.
- Intention: an idea brought to completion when a leader makes a firm decision to act in accordance with a knowledge based conviction.
- Means: tangible attributes, talents, activities, processes, and plans that help transform vision and decisions into action.
With a view on the impact your leadership is having on others and the realization that most of the changes that you need to make are inward, consider these keys with the pattern VIM framework.
Believe Your Destiny — knowing your destiny is assured in Christ is foundational to being a leader. Believing you will meet Jesus face to face and become like Him gives you confidence to make changes to lead more like Jesus now. “Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.” - 1 John 3:2-3
Begin With The End In Mind — in every endeavor, plan to end up where you want to be the most, in every relationship, in life for eternity. Think about how you want to be remembered on this earth and what you want to leave behind for others. It is ok to even plan how long you prefer to live. A vision for the end helps us make decisions and act. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” - Hebrews 12:1
Dream Big Dreams — no one ends up in greatness accidentally. Perhaps some have more help and advantageous circumstances, but we must dream big in order to get a mental picture of possibility. “'In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.” - Acts 2:17-18
Abundance Mindset — simply means there is enough to share. There is enough time, talent, and resources available both to use and freely share toward what matters most in life. Time is the greatest resource and we have all been given enough time. There is a God who made you and loves you. “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. - Revelation 22:17
God Is In Control — we are called to dream and have vision, but we can’t do anything against God’s sovereign plan. God’s control over the outcome of the situation gives us freedom to live and work for Him. “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat — for he grants sleep to those he loves.” - Psalm 127:1-2
Know Your Purpose — understand why you were made and make decisions that are consistent with your reason for being. All relational, vocational, financial, physical, and spiritual decisions should be informed by our purpose. Everything is God’s. “Things which are not in their intended position are restless.” - St Augustine. “For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen.” - Romans 11:36
Know God — every part of your life, every relationship, every struggle, and every opportunity is given to you to know God better. “I want to know Christ — yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.” - Philippians 3:10
Bless Others — every decision involving people is an opportunity to bless others. We should want for others the same things we want for ourselves. You should intend to help others be successful and know God. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” - Philippians 2:3-4
Renew Culture — our intention goes beyond blessing others when our actions lead to creating systems that will help renew our communities. You have the privilege of joining God to make all things new. “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” - Revelation 21:5
Use Your Greatest Strength — Christ in you, the hope of glory. Since you are made by and for God, all your power for good comes from God. Jesus wants you to rely on Him to do all things. He wants to help guide you. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” - John 15:5
Deploy Your Gifts — God has given you incredible gifts including talents, experience, resources, and time. Name your strengths — make a list — and strategize how to use them to achieve your vision. “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.” - 1 Peter 4:10
Use A Planning Tool — a plan is a means to organize what is important, formalize decisions, and plot specific next steps and actions. Consider the changes you need to make and then plan the appropriate daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly activities that will enable the change. “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” - Proverbs 21:5
Use Spiritual Practices — pray, spend time in silence and solitude, read, meditate and memorize scripture, observe the sabbath, rest, fast, watch for what God is doing, take communion, fellowship, celebrate, and worship the living God. “The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth he has given to mankind. It is not the dead who praise the Lord, those who go down to the place of silence; it is we who extol the Lord, both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord.” - Psalm 115:16-18
Of course, there are more ways to approach making the most of your life, and there is the entire counsel of God to guide you. The main thing is to know that your life is a gift and your response is your worship back to God (Romans 12:1). Find an approach that inspires you to have a renewed vision, purpose filled intention, and wisely use the means you have been given. And, then you will be amazed as you experience moving from abundance to abundance, guided by the hand of God.
Join us at The Center as we discuss how to make important changes that will have the most lasting impact in our life and work — and on the lives and work of those we serve.