y wife and I completed our first quarterly review of the year last week. It was incredibly refreshing
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As has become our habit, we enjoyed an overnight getaway in order to look back over the last 90 days and plan for the next 90 days. I have written about this practice in my e-book, “10 Ways to Live on Purpose
” and would highly recommend it to you. Whether you’re married or single, an organizational leader or aspiring to a place of meaningful influence, I believe this is a critical exercise for us to commit to so that we don’t lose sight
of, or a grip on, the things that matter most to us.
It’s easy to get caught up in the current of life, especially our businesses or vocations, and it will carry you away if you’re not careful. It starts out like the slow drift of the lazy river, but will quickly transform into the torrent of the white water rapids and capsize your boat. Some people have made a complete shipwreck
of their marriage and life because of a failure to do this kind of a check-up and tune-up.
Maybe you’re saying you don’t have the time for this. I’m here to tell you that you don’t NOT have the time for this, unless you want to wind up as another government statistic or have your life serve as a warning to others.
Living a life of
purpose requires that we live our lives on
purpose. It requires that we take a measure of ownership and recognize that experience is not the best teacher, but that evaluated experience is. And that requires intentionality
I remember a saying I heard many years ago. I cannot remember to whom it is to be attributed. But the person said, “You can have what you want, or you can have all the reasons, excuses and complaints about why you don’t.” Which would you
I’d like to share with you the brief outline that we follow for our own quarterly review. I’m confident you’ll find it helpful.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road
1. Review progress on your goals.
My wife and I each share with each other how we’re doing with the goals that we set at the beginning of the year (or the end of the previous year). What is there to celebrate? What adjustments or course-corrections need to be made in order to hit the target or cross the finish line? Course corrections are a fact of life. Embrace that reality and keep pressing on toward the mark.
One of the most important aspects of this goal review is to review the key motivations behind each goal that has yet to be completed. What makes this important to me? Why should I care if I succeed or fail? About a year ago I heard a quote from Gail Hyatt, the wife of Michael Hyatt. She was quoted as saying that if you lose your “why,” you’ll lose your way.
It’s so true. It’s easy to get out of the shoot in January with all kinds of good intentions and aspirations. But, if we don’t keep our key motivations in plain sight, there are a million other tasks or projects that will distract you and take you off the path you determined had the biggest payoff for you. Internal motivations outweigh good intentions every time, especially when “life happens.”
2. Review the last 3 months in all areas.
For us this includes our marriage, our family, our business, our church ministry, our health and our finances. We ask questions like:
- What could have gone better?
- How did we do at executing on our priorities from our last quarterly review?
- How has our calendar reflected the priorities that we previously set?
Some of the most important questions we ask are, “How are we doing at cultivating our marriage? Is it the priority it should be? How is that
reflected by our calendar?” Without this kind of honest evaluation and review, it would be all too easy to get way off the track.
3. Lay out plans for the next 3 months.
What is most important for us to focus on in each of these areas mentioned above? For example, we talk about each of our children, how we feel they are developing, and where they need some additional education, coaching, or mentoring.
One of the best things we do is review our calendars to make sure we have the same events scheduled, so there are no unnecessary miscommunications about what we are committed to during this period. The whole calendar thing is a big deal to me. One of the shortcomings I recognized over the last few years is that as a husband, business owner, and pastor, I have had a tendency to only focus on my own commitments. That has been a terrible undervaluing of the rest of my family and all of the commitments and responsibilities they have that affect our family.
We also ask the question, “What are the 3-5 top priorities for us over the next 90 days?” This is where we try to gain clarity about what matters most to us for this window of time. There are so many competing demands. We can’t do everything. So, we have to identify and name what needs to rise to the top so we can stay consistently focused on these key areas.
4. Work on some projects/goals that need some focus time.
On this getaway, my wife spent time going through her recipes, emails, and computer files to both catch up and get everything in order. You all know how that stuff can pile up and get away from you without that kind of maintenance.
I worked on the project plan for my product launch (more on that later) and took care of a host of work and church-related tasks that I just never seemed to get time for during the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
5. Time for fun.
This is totally up to you. Everyone is different. What do you enjoy doing as a couple? Maybe it’s dinner and a movie. Maybe it’s a long, slow drive through the countryside, or a nice long nap. We both love to read. Actually, the funny (and sad) thing is that one of the things we both enjoy most, is getting a ton
of stuff done. So, for us we have to work hard to make sure that #4 doesn’t take up all
the time we should be setting aside for this aspect of our getaway.
If you’re single, make sure you give yourself time for whatever it is that will refresh and recharge your batteries. An appropriate amount of self-care is critical so that you have the energy you need to attend to all the other priorities in your life.
6. Time for prayer.
For us, this is foundational. This has become one of the keystone habits of our marriage, both at home and when we’re away. We both agree that everything else in our lives is affected by how faithfully we engage in this practice together. Our time away is an opportunity to spend some extra, extended time on this.
Living a life of purpose requires that we live our lives on purpose. Be intentional.
Take this outline and modify it to best fit your situation, whether that be your personality or your marital status. But whatever you do, take the time to step back on a quarterly basis and revisit the path you have taken and ensure it is the one you want to be on. Make sure that path is taking you toward the destination you desire.
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