All Systems Go!
In a recent life coaching session with a military officer, he introduced an action step he wanted to embrace in the area of physical fitness. As you may know, a life coach never tells a person what to do or how to do it, nor gives them the answers. A life coach simply asks strategic and intuitive questions.
In asking questions it became very clear that this officer had specific goals for his physical fitness. One was weight loss, one was extending his life expectancy, and a third was increasing his energy in order to live life to its fullest. These were all great goals and he was very clear about them.
I asked him how he would like to accomplish his goals. He said something very interesting; he said, “I don’t know.” I asked him what he would know if he did know. His response was, “I guess I would have to approach it in a more militaristic way.”
I’ve never served in the military and I wasn’t exactly sure where he was going with this, though I had a sneaking suspicion. I asked him to describe what this military thing that he was talking about looks like. He said, “I can sum it up in one word: procedures.” He went on to further define the procedures as protocols, or systems. He went on to clarify, “If I’m going to lose weight, if I’m going to get healthier, if I’m going to increase my energy, if I’m going to extend my life expectancy, I need a system to commit to.”
I asked, “What does that have to do with the military?”
He explained, “We have systems, protocols, and procedures for everything including how we train for war, how we engage in war, and how we interface with our superiors. We have systems that follow us through our careers to retirement and beyond.” He emphasized, “When it comes to the military we leave nothing to the imagination. Everything is based on manuals which are the bible of our systems.”
I asked, “Do you ever have to draw outside the lines of your systems?”
“Yes,” he conceded, “but when we do, we almost always lose. We almost always open ourselves up to failure. Even though there has to be flexibility within the system, there also must be borders or boundaries for the system.”
I asked him how that applies to his physical fitness, and he said, “You know what? Until there are parameters and clear systems established as to what time I’m going to wake up to go to the health club, what exercises I’m going to do, what parts of the body I am going to work on, how much of my time is going to go into cardiovascular training; until I determine what my diet will be – what I can and can’t eat, how much I can and can’t eat – until I put a system in place, it will never happen.”
And then it hit me: Scripture if filled with systems. And here’s what I know: when I adhere to reasonable systems – Bible-based systems, systems that are rooted in common sense – then every project I agree to goes easier, is more effective, and allows more people to join the team. Systems that are well thought out, that are not conceived in bondage, but designed to liberate people to operate in their gifting, make all the difference in going from good to great.
So I want you to just take a moment today and ask yourself what areas of your life are disorganized, chaotic, or not as structured as they otherwise could be? In which three specific areas of your life do you need to consider embracing a system? Because I want to assure you that systems make all the difference. I believe for each and every one of us our take away point from this InSight is, “all systems go.”