Monthly Archives: November 2016

Goals: Write Them Down. It Works!

goals“It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”  Paulo Coelho
 Each year since the early 1980s I have set goals.  I always had goals, lists, “to-dos” in my head, but actual written goals came later.  When I first started, it was primarily in the context of my job/career.  In fact, it was forced upon me as a part of the air traffic community as one of the cures for the 1981 air traffic strike.  The air traffic world was told we needed a culture change, and one of the expressions of that became the Individual Development Plan (IDP).  We were strongly urged to create one of these as a part of our annual performance review.  At the time, I just wanted to be an air traffic controller and separate air planes, but to comply with the “suggestion” I did a rather tongue in cheek” IDP.  In other words, I did not take it seriously.  Or so it seemed.
In that first IDP.  I put down three “goals”.  They actually fell more into the desire, dreaming or wish list category:
  1. Move back to Kansas, my home state – We were living in California at the time
  2. Become a fighter pilot
  3. Work for the FAA in Europe
There was no way these could happen from where I sat at the time and my supervisor told me so.  He basically smirked and gave me that “you’re kidding, right?” look.  I looked back with raised eyebrows and stated:  it was “My IDP”, and he reluctantly signed it.  Boxed checked.  Back to telling pilots where to go.  That was in 1985.
Or Could They?
In 1988 we moved to Kansas after I applied for and was offered a promotion to the Wichita Airport Traffic Control facility.  During my time there, I became a private pilot and was also allowed to fly an F-4, a T-38 and an F-16 as a part of my air traffic staff duties.  OK, the F-16 was a simulator and I am not qualified to fly a fighter on my own, not even close.  Yet, for a civilian private pilot in her late 30s at the time, it was the closest I was going to get!
Then in 1994, I was selected as the Air Traffic Representative for Europe, Africa and the Middle East based out of the Brussels, Belgium office.  I had actually forgotten the IDP until I was going through some papers packing for the move to Brussels.  I was as stunned.  Nine years from impossible to completed!  Three seemingly unrelated, lofty, even silly goals, done.  That was a true aha moment.
Written Goals Work
Since that first IDP, I have come to value the process of setting written goals.  The reason:  it works.  Somehow, articulating one’s desires. dreams and intentions in a written form gives them life.  So, this time of year, I begin to look at my current year’s goals.  What did I achieve?  What did I miss?  What do I carry over in light of what I want the end of next year to look like?  It it both painful and exciting.  Painful; because some things  did not get done – this year.  Exciting because some things were completed and moreover a whole new year lies ahead.  This year, I am doing all of this goal stuff under the umbrella of my Life Plan that I developed earlier in the year, and which I recently did an annual review and update.
Goal Setting – A Framework
I break my goals into categories in an effort to maintain a certain equilibrium:  Spiritual, Soul Tending (Mind, will and emotions), Physical, Relational (marriage, extended family, church family and social), Vocational and Rest/Restoration.  Having these set as a framework for my goals helps to ensure each area gets appropriate attention.  Some call it life balance, I just want things to stay upright and moving forward as smoothly as possible.  That means that there may be seasons where one area gets more attention than another.
Your categories need to reflect your unique life and values.  Perhaps you have never taken the time to inventory and articulate the facets of your life.  This would be a good place to start.  Here is a  free resources that can guide you:
Goals and Vision
Once you have the various areas of your life defined, then look at each one and think:
What does this mean to me?
What do I want this area to look like at the end of 2017?
It may also to be helpful to make an inventory of activities you currently expend time and energy on.  Then look at each one and decide:  Is this truly contributing to my intention in this area?  will it move me toward my desires in this area next year.  If not, does the activity need to be adjusted, delegated or simply deleted?  Once this evaluation is complete, using the activities that remain, list one thing you can do to or continue to do to move you toward your vision for each area.  I have found that when I do the above process, my goals for the next year emerge organically and can move to further define particular goals in each area.
For this, I recommend the following sites as a resource.  Much of the information offered at no cost, along with products and/or subscriptions available for purchase.  To be honest you don’t need to spend a dime to get a robust plan of your own going.  Just search “goal setting” once on each site, pick a process and then trust it.
Goals Nuts and Bolts
Some things to consider to ensure a balanced goal setting menu:
  1. Goals should be SMARTER
  2. They should include both habit goals and one-time goals
  3. Consider a PUSH goal – or a BHAG – a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.  One that will get you us in the morning and (sometimes) awake at night.
  4. Set between 5-10 total goals for a year. More than ten and the likelihood of finishing any of them diminishes.
Last – Schedule them on your calendar for next year.  Start with the what Stephen Covey call the BIG ROCKS, events and/or activities that have great value to you or to reaching a goal but tend to get crowded out by the trivia of life.  Consider assigning the one-time goals into a particular quarter or season.  That way you focus on one or two at a time, get it done and move one.  That can help avoid the end of year crunch.
Since I wrote that first IDP, I have learned some about this goal setting thing adding a certain intentionality and efficiency to the process.  Therefore it does not take nine years.  Still that first effort and the results, impresses me to this day.  It has served to keep me motivated in my goal setting process.
Has goal setting been a part of your life?  If so, what benefits has it had.  
If not, what is holding you back?
Please comment below

Trust the Process – Lessons from Air Traffic Training

processWhen I was accepted in the the Federal Aviation’s Administration’s Air Traffic Academy in 1976, I knew I was on the right path.  At the same time, I had no idea what I had signed up for.  It was daunting in every way.  I remember, after having passed the first phase of academics, which was challenging in itself, my class of 16 was now headed to the dreaded non-radar labs.  “Phase III” of a thirteen phase program known to be a phase in which “50% will not make it”.  I don’t mind saying it, I was nervous, partially because I was not aware of the process.

On the first day of labs, the Air Traffic Academy Superintendent passed by our class, first to congratulate us for passing Phase II and then to encourage us as we entered Phase III. However, the superintendent said something that gave me courage.  It was something like: “You have been tested and accepted into this program, so we know you have the aptitude to do this job.  All you have to do is apply yourself”.  I thought, “I can do that”.  There is hope.  I trusted what the superintendent said. I trusted in the process behind all the uncertainty.

The Process – My Friend

At that moment, I knew I would not be distracted, party instead of study, or otherwise drop the ball. I had been told I had it within me to succeed and I determined to give this opportunity my full attention.  Still, it was not easy and there were obstecles.  For instance, we were not allowed to miss any days or be late for any reason.  Not even illness.  It was winter in Oklahoma, I was not eating right, nor sleeping well and there was just a bit of stress (sarcasm). Yes, I managed to get the flu.

Showing Up and Staying the Course

I still have an audio recording of a graded problem I took while hosting a fever of 102 degrees. I did not pass.  Even thought managing to score thirteen conflictions*  (you were not allowed any to pass a graded problem),  I was there and I finished.  Fortunately you were allowed one failed graded problem and still pass the course.  It was also a Friday, so I had the weekend to get over the creeping crud.  Ultimately, I graduated.  I trusted the process and it worked.

There were many more challenges and not a few moments in which I really wanted to walk away. Even after I became a journeyman controller, there were moments, even days when I wanted to disappear.  Invariably, there would be someone or something that would remind me to trust the process and keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Most of the time it was that still small voice inside that said “I will never leave you..” that I have come to recognize as the Voice my Father God.  Now that Now that I have retired from the life of telling pilots where to go, I have been employing the same “trusting the process” in developing my second wind for this season of life.

“I Can Do That”

Micheal Hyatt was made known to me as a virtual mentor through hearing him interviewed by Dave Ramsey.  Micheal’s book, Platform – Get Noticed in a Noisy World, had just come out and they were discussing the book in the context of the whole entrepreneurial thing.  I bought the book and just like those many years ago, I thought, “I can do that”, and so it started.  I am still figuring it out as I go, putting one foot in front of the other,  learning, studying and trusting the process. This BLOG is one aspect of this new life.

Another aspect is an intentional personal development or a personal growth plan (PGP). One element of my PGP is reading books.   Yes, good old fashioned reading.  I was inspired to be intentional about this through Mr. Hyatt as well.  In both his BLOG and through podcasts he talked about the benefits of consuming a balanced diet of books:

1. Reading makes us better thinkers
2. Reading improves people skills
3. Reading improves our communication skills, including speaking and writing
4. Reading helps us relax
5. Reading keep us young (I am all for that!)

Process  – A Personal Growth Plan

I thought, “I can do that”.   So in my 2016 PGP I set a goal to read or listen to 3 books per month. I endeavored to divide these between fiction and non-fiction with some in an audio format.  You can see the list of books completed on my Pinterest 2016 Book reading list.  I set aside a minimum of 20 minutes each morning as a part of my quiet time and 20 minutes before bedtime for this activity.  Fiction reading is reserved for my evening routine slot.  Since I plan to continue this element of my PGP for next year, my 2017 list is being compiled.

Instead of going out and spending money on books I did not know if I wanted to keep on my shelf, I have been giving my local library a serious workout.  It has been wonderful. There are a few I ended up purchasing as I wanted to mark them up and keep for future reference, but for the most part the public library has been a great partner in this goal.  I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this activity and its benefits.

So once again, by trusting the process, in other words, taking someone’s advice even if you can’t see or understand the rationale, I have found myself in a better place.

*a confliction meant that two aircraft got closer than the required margins allowed. Opps!

Is there some process you have simply taken someone’s word on?  How did it work out?  Please share it in the comments below!

A Visit to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

 the Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800ft with 7,500 lbs gross weight was developed specificaly for the unique needs of mission avation
The Kodiak by Quest Aviation can take off in 800 ft.  with 7,500 lbs gross weight.  It was developed specifically with the unique needs of mission aviation in mind. None-the-less, it has found uses in private and commercial aviation as well.
Many of the things that form our lives rest in the background.  They crisscross our paths making significant deposits in quiet ways.   On a recent trip to the northwest, we took time to visit the headquarters of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Nampa, ID.  We have been supporters of MAF for over 20 years, but my connection to this organization goes back much further.  After our visit, I began to reflect exactly how far back this connection goes.   It, in fact, it goes back to my father. As I wrote about my father’s interaction with short-term mission trips in Costa Rica, I recalled something.  When daddy first became a pilot, he looked into becoming a missionary pilot.  He loved flying and wanted to serve using this passion and his piloting skills.  He was also a really good mechanic and had an instinct for getting things to work.  It seemed a perfect fit, but was not to be.  Before finding out what was involved, he thought that there might be a way to do short-term flying missions.  The MAF mission did not have a provision for part-time pilots.  In addition, he was not a certified air-frame and power-plant aircraft mechanic, nor a certified flight instructor nor did he possess a license for instrument flying.  These are all requirements to serve on the MAF piloting team.  Daddy found another way to serve in short-term missions but, as a result of our conversations about this, the seed of aviation as a mission tool was planted inside me.

Continue reading A Visit to Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF)

Formed Out Of The Unseen – Limitlessness

img_0922I have been leading a class at my church using the book:  Living Forward.  We have been meeting on Sunday evenings for two hours.  Fundamental to this process is cultivating the ability to first,  acknowledge where one is at present and then to “see”, to imagine, to dream about how you want things to be formed.

This takes courage, even grit, for most of us who are 50+.  For us, life has formed and informed us in both good and bad ways.  This process brings one face to face with baggage that needs unpacking.  I suppose it is true for all ages, but there is a difference once one has a few years behind you.

For everyone it is a choice.  Do we wish to:

  • remain on our current path,
  • simply tweak our current journey or
  • make an about face?

Choosing, being intentional, will at least make us aware so that there are no regrets, no matter what choice we make.

Working in the Unseen

Imagination.  DrA Discarded Wooden Chaireaming.  Reaching into the invisible and acting on what we see.  This is a cultivated skill.

In talking with our group, we have discussed real ways in which we can do this.  One of the tangible ways I work my imagining muscle is through re-purposing and up-cycling found objects.  Looking at a discarded, outdated or broken item and imagining it into something new, starts in a place within that only I can see.  Most of the time it takes a combination of items that I put together to make this happen.

Formed – From Inspiration to Reality


Elements of a Dream

Here is one of my recent projects.  It started with inspiration on Pinterest.  I enjoy seeing what others have done and yes, it gets my creating juices going.

My version started with a discarded chair, an old table, a bit of scalloped wood trim and vintage porcelain electrical insulator parts.  A few dowels, decorative screws, glue and paint and here you go, a cute decorative shelf!  It is looking for a permanent home at Kechi Korner. 


The point is, I saw this piece in my imagination before it existed.  The individual parts were junk, trash, useless (except perhaps for firewood) until it became imagined.  That had to happen before it could be.  I didn’t have to go get anything.  All of the parts were in my possession including the vision to see what could be.
Overcoming Obstacles
Of Course, the process of it “becoming” was not overnight nor without some obstacles.  I had to get help from my spouse for final assembly as I did not have the skills needed to get it into a viable final form.  Sometimes we need help from those around us:  family, friends, pastor, priest, counselor, co-workers – or our Creator God.   He is always ready to interact with us.
What is in your imagination waiting for expression?  What one stop can you take today to begin to let that expression happen?