Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life Charting

In early January, 2011, I had the opportunity to experience a personal leadership summit; a 14 hour interactive journey with a life coach. It involved walking through my life story, looking at life themes and patterns, gaining feedback and perspective from others, and then beginning to work out some action plans for this next chapter in my life. It was one of the most impactful experiences I have ever had.

A couple of weeks later, in mid January, I participated in a similar life charting retreat with a group of business and church leaders. This was the beginning of our Converge MidAtlantic focused ministry to business leaders across our region. Again, what an incredible experience this was for all who were involved. Many leaders commented that this was one of the most helpful 3 day events they had ever experienced. We’re hoping that the positive energy and new commitments made from this retreat will make a lasting imprint on each person’s life as we seek to hold one another accountable through ongoing huddles and experiences.

Through these 2 significant experiences, I’m coming to discover some important lessons that are starting to seep into my leadership, my family life, and I believe my relationship with God. Here are some of the life lessons I’m discovering:

• God is a loving Father, weaving together the various chapters and pages of our life into a beautiful and meaningful story. Our job is to be open to learn, to hear from Him and others, and to take responsibility for what we can help co-create. Yet, there is so much to the thread of God’s love and grace, woven through your story and mine. He really does love and care for us, His children.
• All of us are so incredibly blessed. When I pause to reflect on my life, the people in my life, my life experiences, and even the material possessions I have to enjoy, I am truly a blessed person. Again, my responsibility is to recognize these blessings as having come from The Father, and to become an ever growing generous steward of all that God has blessed me with.
• Perspective is so important. It really is crucial to hear from others, to reflect on my past experiences, to look at patterns of thinking, acting and interacting, all before I plan and move into an action mode. So often I want to dive in and change things. Yet, I am acting and reacting in ways that are not productive without proper perspective. God, help me to slow down and gain needed perspective before I move forward!
• Accountability is absolutely vital as I chart the next chapter of my story. While I may want to think that I have the courage and capacity to make necessary changes and to stay on course, the reality is, I can’t do it alone. I need the help of my wife, of meaningful others who know me and care for me, and of course of God Himself. My job is to learn to submit, to build an appropriate accountability system, and to receive from others. This is so hard for many of us. Believe me, I know!

This life charting journey has been an immensely helpful thing for me, for my marriage, and for my leadership journey. We’re planning to incorporate this process into more and more of what we do here in Converge MidAtlantic, as we come along side leaders in business and in the church. Two helpful resources that any leader may want to consider are:

• Living the Life You Were Meant to Live, by Tom Paterson
• Halftime, by Bob Buford

Thanks for sharing in part of my journey. May the Father continue to lead you as you “chart” the coming chapters of your story.

Embracing the Journey,

Dan Peterson
Converge MidAtlantic