Start S.M.A.R.T. in 2017

“Do you see a man diligent in his business?  He shall stand before kings.” Proverbs 22:29

 

For many, a new year means new goals, new dreams and new desires. A new year gives opportunity to a fresh start. It gives opportunity to get back on the right track and to make things right. Personally, I love the new year. I love the idea of planning, goal setting and evaluating the previous year.

Success rates for new year resolutions are consistently low, with a high percentage of people sliding back into old habits by the time February hits. For the culture we live in, failure is the norm. As humans, we prefer the path to least resistance. Being stretched, doing difficult things, being disciplined and living diligent lives is not what we prefer. Rather, we prefer instant gratification. Thus, mediocrity and failure is a standard most settle for.

Recently, I started reading The Richest Man Who Ever Lived – King Solomon’s Secrets to Success, Wealth and Happiness. Within the first, several pages, I found myself challenged, convicted and motivated. Steven K. Scott makes the argument that less one in a thousand people fully utilize the skill of diligence. He defines diligence as the following:

DILIGENCE is a learnable skill that combines: creative persistence, a smart-working effort rightly planned and rightly performed in a timely, efficient and effective manner to attain a result that is pure and of the highest quality of excellence. – Steven K. Scott

After reading the book, I decided ‘DILIGENCE’ would be my ‘ONE WORD’ for 2017. In the past, I have always made goals for the new year. While my goals were good, they often were focused on me — my career, my health, my finances, my hobbies. If I’m honest, the process of determining my goals was often self-centered and rarely involved other people in my life. In other words, there was very little accountability. There was no one to share my journey with, no one to celebrate with when a goal was accomplished and no one to encourage me to be creatively persistent when I got off track. I rarely ‘attained a result that was pure and of the highest quality of excellence.’ Therefore, I rarely lived a diligent life.

I made the decision for 2017 to be different. I am striving for diligence. I want to forget about the path to least resistance. I want to go down a path that will stretch me and make my soul come alive. I’m ready for adventure. Will you join me?  

Below is a simple model to think about and apply to your own life as we start 2017 with a bang!

1. Use the 5 F Model to determine your personal goals. I find it beneficial to keep my career goals separate from my personal life.

  • Faith
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Fitness
  • Finances

2. Get away. Don’t sit down and write out goals just for the sake of setting goals. Find space. Fight for quite and solitude. Pray. Sit in God’s creation. Turn your phone off. LISTEN! Seek God and invite Him into the process.

3. Keep it simple. Strive to have no more than 2 goals in each category. In some cases it’s okay to have 3. The point is to set yourself up for success, not failure. 

4. Think of others. Your life isn’t about you. It should be about others. Be abundant in your thought process.

5. Be S.M.A.R.T. “I want to lose weight” or “I want to read more” are great ideas but terrible goals. “I want to lose 30 pounds by September 1st by working out Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 6:00 am” or “I want to read 1 book per month by reading for 30 minutes each morning before work” are S.M.A.R.T. 

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Time-Bound

6. Frame and hang your goals. Hang them where you will get a reminder each morning. 

7. Get accountable. Share your plan with your wife, mentor, brother or close friend. Schedule regular meetings with these people in order to review your progress. Give them permission to be tough on you.

8. Execute. Anyone can sit down and write down goals. Planning is easy. Executing is difficult. Execution is the difference between diligence and mediocrity.

I’ve included my 5F goals for 2017 as a sample to follow. I trust it will help get you started in the right direction (*Note – I have 4 goals listed under ‘Family’).

Garret’s 2017 Plan for Diligence

1. Faith

  • I will find 1 day of solitude per month by having the last Monday of the month blocked off
  • I will memorize and recite 24 Bible verses by 12/31/2017 (2 per month)

2. Family

  • I will pray with my family every morning before I go to the office
  • I will date Eden (my wife) 1x per month and will plan 2 marriage weekend get-a-ways
  • I will date Kendall (my daughter) 1x per month
  • I will put my phone away every night at 8:00 pm

3. Friends

  • I will write a letter of gratitude to men who have positively impacted my life by 4/1/2017
  • I will plan and host a friend celebration with Eden by 6/1/2017

4. Fitness

  • I will go to bed every night by 10:30 pm
  • I will wake up at 4:45 am on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday to work out

5. Finances

  • I will revisit and plan a new monthly and annual family budget by 1/31/2017
  • I will establish and follow a monthly cash budget for my family

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

How to be a Successful Protege – Part 3 – Be Humble & Vulnerable

When I read through the New Testament I always gain a new appreciation for the apostle Paul. He’s one of my favorite men in the Bible to study. While I’m fascinated with Paul for several reasons, I’m most encouraged by his transparency, honesty, and openness. He is the complete package of humility and vulnerability.

He proves this in Romans 7:21-25 where he writes,

“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.”

Paul is sharing the struggles in his life with sin. Put yourself in the shoes of the original people reading this letter. Paul is the man these people are looking up to as their spiritual leader, and yet he is opening himself up to these people by saying, “Listen, I’m human. I’ve got struggles. I admit to you that I am a sinful man.” Paul even admits his sin is overwhelming to him. Talk about GUTS! I love this about Paul!

As men, we must be willing to have courage like Paul.

A few years ago, a Strong27™ protege experienced success because of his willingness to mimic Paul’s humility and vulnerability.

“I hold nothing back from my mentor. I’m open, honest, and transparent about everything in my life—my struggles, my concerns, my worries, my goals, my dreams…everything.”

Humility and vulnerability are more than talking about “stuff.” They are more than admitting “stuff.” True humility and vulnerability shine through in a man’s life when he is both willing to accept things that are hard to accept and willing to DEAL with these things. Humility and vulnerability lead to taking off the mask to reveal who you really are. It’s about getting to the core of your heart and moving past the surface.

If we are men trying to grow toward a Godly standard of leadership and strength, then we must be willing to take off our masks. Living out humility and vulnerability allows God to break down the walls in front of us. Our mentors cannot be effective in speaking into our lives without it. They can’t encourage, support, or challenge us until we are willing invite them into our messiness.

Take off your mask, men.  The apostle Paul did.  Will you?

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

How to be a Successful Protege – Part 2 – Be Consistent

One of the greatest opportunities I was able to experience was playing competitive golf in college. The experience is something I’ll treasure forever.

The biggest blessing I pulled away from being part of Malone University’s golf program was the friendships. I come from an extremely close family, and I always tell people that my teammates were the closest thing I had to family. One of those teammates—Scotty Jones—is a friend that I’ll be forever grateful for. If I had to summarize Scotty’s golf game in one word, it would be CONSISTENCY.

Scotty’s biggest accomplishment was that he never missed a single tournament. While our team typically had an average of 12-14 members, only 5 men made the line-up. Our fall and spring seasons were constantly spent playing in qualifiers to see who would be traveling on the weekends. The team would rarely ever be the same from weekend to weekend. There were always one, two, or three new guys rotating in, which meant someone was losing their spot. However, Scotty never lost his spot…in four years!!  His golf game was the definition of CONSISTENCY, and it’s what caused him to have so much success.

In Part 1 of “How to be a Successful Protege – Have a Plan,” I wrote about the protégé who took initiative with creating an agenda for each meeting with his mentor. This same protégé experienced a huge amount of success because of CONSISTENCY.

“Not only do I create an agenda, but my mentor and I know when and where we’re meeting for the rest of the year.  We meet at the same place, on the same day, and at the same time.  There’s no guessing.  We just know.”  

I sat on the other end of the phone in amazement. The protégé went on to explain how he and his mentor met at his office every other Friday morning at 5 AM.  

“We both have families and full-time jobs, but we’re not busy at 5 AM.  It’s a time and place that works for both of us, and it’s on the calendar for the rest of the year.”

Creating an agenda helped this protégé understand what he wanted, and it put a plan in place for him to accomplish his objectives. However, having CONSISTENCY proved what price he was willing to pay to get to where he wanted to be. This man and his mentor rolled out of bed at 4:00 AM with a purpose. They both had 5:00 AM penciled in on their calendars every other Friday. There was agenda with a purpose and plan for each of those meetings. Men, this is the definition of CONSISTENCY.

Whether we are on the golf course or are part of a mentorship—we need to be striving for CONSISTENCY in our lives.

My challenge to each of you is to evaluate your own relationship with your mentor or protégé. Is the characteristic of CONSISTENCY evident in your journey together?

Garret Barbush, Executive Director

How to be a Successful Protege – Part 1 – Have a Plan

Proverbs 16:3 – “Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.”

A few years ago, I received a phone call from a pastor in Michigan. He kindly introduced himself, informed me of his church’s interest in Strong27™, and asked a lot of questions. The conversation sparked excitement inside of me when I learned his father-in-law was a protégé at Victory Church (Lancaster, PA).

“I don’t know what happened to my father-in-law, but he’s a changed man. The man I once knew is gone. What the heck is going on down there?”

I assured him neither Men of Iron or Strong27™ were the sole reasons for this radical change. God gets all the glory for using a mentor to change this man’s life. Was this protégé in a great church? Absolutely! Was he involved with and committed to Men of Iron & Strong27™? Absolutely! However, the church and the ministry are just the platforms. God used those platforms to portray this protégé’s transformation to the rest of the world.

I hung up the phone and thought to myself, “Why did this protégé have such an incredible breakthrough?” I was curious to know more about this protégé’s journey. I believe God honors individuals who take initiative in their lives. That’s what I wanted to know—was this protégé taking initiative, or were all of these blessings just “happening?” I wanted to hear from him personally, so I decided to look him up and give him a ring.

The protégé shared with me several key aspects of his journey. I believe the cause of his success lies in the things he is initiating in his journey.

“The first thing I do is create an agenda and send it to my mentor a few days before our scheduled meeting.”

Strong27™ is unique because it was designed to be a protege-driven ministry. The protégé is expected to lead the charge. He must be willing and committed to growth. This is why we stress the importance of protégés creating agendas for each scheduled meeting.

I love what Howard Hendricks states in his book As Iron Sharpens Iron.  

“If you are trying to get somewhere, you’ve got to know where you are going and how you are going to get there. If you are trying to grow, or to help someone else grow, you have got to know what the learning objective is, and how you are going to accomplish it. That’s what an agenda is. A statement of purpose, and a plan for achieving it.”

The concept is very simple, men. God allowed this protégé to make huge strides because he took initiative with creating an agenda every other week.

If you are a protégé, I encourage you to follow the lead of this protégé. Tell your mentor what you want. Tell him what your hopes are. Tell him about your fears, uncertainties, and doubts. Tell him what he can do for you. Approach him with questions. Supply him with consistent updates.

It takes intentionality, men. Have courage. Be bold. Rise up to a Godly standard of leadership and strength.

Sample Agenda

Below is a sample agenda I received from my Strong27™ protege a few weeks ago.  He created this agenda on his own and texted it to me.  He took ownership of his growth and led the meeting in conversation.  

Meeting 1 Agenda

  • Time & Location – 7:30 pm @ Your House
  • Review & Discuss the Iron Covenant (20 Minutes)
  • Review & Discuss the Personal Survey (30 Minutes)
  • Biblical Standards of Manhood Assessment (15 Minutes)
  • Establish areas of weakness – set out a plan for building my foundation (15 Minutes)
  • Prayer, Schedule Future Meetings (10 Minutes)
  • Total Meeting Time – 90 Minutes

Garret Barbush, Executive Director