Preparing for the Most Important Day

Many leaders begin well but few finish well. Most will start off strong, only to crumble when difficult circumstances arise. So how do you prepare for the most important day of your life, the last day?

via Daniel Mitchell @ Flickr Creative Commons

via Daniel Mitchell @ Flickr Creative Commons

We live in a day and age when perseverance is not common. People don’t persevere in their marriage, in their occupations, in their relationships, or in their churches. When life becomes too difficult, few find the desire to continue to battle. So let’s talk about how to finish well.

1.   Begin with the end in mind.  You should have a vision of what success looks like for every area of leadership you’re involved in. This includes leading yourself, leading your family, and leading your organization. I’ve written down goals for each area of my life that I called my “enhanced future”. In an ideal world, what would each area look like?

Just to give you an example, here is the enhanced future that I recorded for our personal finances:

“I am debt free. I am keeping focused on the real purpose of money, thus not stressing out over  it because I sincerely view God as my source of provision. I am paying all bills in full and on time. I am being generous towards God’s church, my own family, and towards those in need. I can afford to invest time in my family and the ministry because we have saved sufficiently.”

A little trick that I used here is that I wrote it in the present tense. I want to constantly know that this will be my reality one day.

2.   Base your daily decisions in light of your future goals.  Now that I know where I am going, it helps make daily decisions that much easier. I can say yes to those things that will bring me closer to meeting my goals. But one of the most freeing parts of having a vision for my future is that I can say no without feeling guilty.

3.   Keep in mind that your best days are still ahead.  Tough times will certainly come, but the hope of a strong finish can keep you on track. No matter the obstacles that you face, knowing that your best days are yet to be had will keep life exciting. Don’t ever lose hope.

When you get married, I hope your wedding day isn’t your best day. When you begin your new job, I hope the tour of the building isn’t the highlight of your career. I hope the day you become a parent isn’t the greatest memory you have with your child.

The most important day of your life is not the first day that you begin leading, it’s the last day. Begin every season of leadership with a vision of how you want it to look in the end. When you begin with the end in mind, the cost of perseverance will never appear too large.

Question: Will you finish well or will you not finish at all? How do you want to be remembered on that last day?

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