He beamed as he told me about the toilets. It is not a subject I typically discuss with others, let alone an African man. Yet, there I was listening intently and beaming along with him, as proud as I’ve ever been.
The toilets were needed in Madutle, a rural village straddling the border of South Africa and Botswana. It would have been easy for us to instruct a professional builder to move into the village, build the toilet facilities in a week and be out of there. Instead, two pastors from the village church took up the challenge to get this building done. They became the foreman-builders and the villagers became their co-laborers. Together they built the much needed toilet facilities. A professional builder would have been embarrassed at how long it took for this small building to be erected, but with this project, time was not the point.
What was the point?
Life is hard. I don’t think it was meant to be anything else. It is in the struggling that we find purpose. Answers to meaningful questions should not loll about at surface level but should be tucked away in obscure nooks, found only by careful thought, eager enquiry and plain old persistence. The search keeps us alive and vital and the answers, when found, are treasured and valued.
A little while ago, when I was feeling completely overwhelmed at work, I was challenged to discover six areas that are vital for me to accomplish in my leadership role and then to concentrate on only those. I wrote many items on my list only to be scratched off and replaced by others. It took a lot longer than I thought it would but in the end it was a fascinating and worthwhile exercise. It set me free from the myriad of burdens leaders sometimes find themselves carrying.
It got me thinking. What about my life outside of work? What are six areas in my personal life that, if I concentrated on only those for a set period, would change my world? It was a life altering exercise for me.
I have honed in on one that I would like to share with you. If adopted, I believe it could improve everything in your life.
It’s that time of year when many of us reflect on the year past and ponder on which path to take for the year to come. I’m one of those people that sets goals for myself. One of the most important practices when setting goals is the art of losing myself. I have found it to be pivotal for success.
When it comes to setting goals for the year to come I do not ask,
Rather, I ask: