A couple of weeks ago I ran across an interesting article written by a Harvard Business School professor. The author, John Kotter, spoke about a company he had just visited that was being heavily impacted by the tough economic times. How was this company dealing with the potential crisis?
- Finger pointing.
- Blaming “that”department for the problems.
- Unproductive work at a frenetic pace so it looks like something is being accomplished.
The author’s diagnosis? An unbelievable lack of urgency. While people had a vague notion that something was wrong, no one seemed to know how to effectively handle the problem.
Do you ever feel like this is your life? There’s lots of activity going on, it looks like you’re making progress, but something’s not quite going right. There’s a problem at work. Maybe you’re not communicating with your spouse effectively. Kids are driving you crazy. What do you do? Me, I tend to blame everyone but myself. Then, I keep working harder – doing the same old things – figuring if I work hard enough things will get better.
Just like the company in the article was learning, IT DOESN’T GET BETTER THIS WAY. We think we can’t fix our situation. We wait for the moment when everything just “clicks”, but it never comes. Conviced that we’ve got plenty of time left — that there’s no hurry — we watch re-runs of American Chopper and Family Guy.
A true sense of urgency, says the author, “is a set of emotions, a gut-level feeling that we need to get up every single day with total determination to do something to deal with those hazards and opportunities and make some progress, no matter how modest, and do so today. It’s not naïve. It doesn’t assume you have the power to create a miracle, or that big problems can be solved in a day. But that doesn’t slow a resolve to do something now to help the firm win, no matter the circumstances.”
What a great way to live your life! What if you got out of bed each day with a one-track mind: determined to make an impact. Wife, kids, co-workers, friends, neighbors, whomever you come in contact with. Live your life thinking and acting with a true sense of urgency to make a difference in someone’s life.
Our model for this type of urgency is Christ. He lived his entire life knowing that it would be short. He had to fit it all in to 33 years. There was no other option. Imagine knowing exactly how many days you have left. How would that change your actions? How would your conversations with your kids be different? Would you treat your spouse differently? How much time would you invest in relationships?
Jesus set the ultimate example. Every day had a purpose. He couldn’t afford to waste a single moment: “We must quickly carry out the tasks assigned us by the one who sent us. The night is coming, and then no one can work.” (John 9:4 New Living Translation)
Paul also demonstrated the single minded focus, a sense of urgency, that comes not from analyzing a problem or thinking someone else will fix it, but from taking action right now. He knew he could make an eternal impact by living each day on fire for his mission.
You groped your way through that murk once, but no longer. You’re out in the open now. The bright light of Christ makes your way plain. So no more stumbling around. Get on with it! The good, the right, the true-these are the actions appropriate for daylight hours. Figure out what will please Christ, and then do it. (Ephesians 5:10 The Message)
If there’s one piece of advice I can leave you with, it’s my favorite quote from the article mentioned above. ”Become a beacon of true urgency for everyone to see.” If we behave with a real sense of urgency, each and every day, we won’t have to confront complacency. You won’t have to get in someone’s face. Show others how to live with a sense of urgency in their lives. You’ll start to rub off on people. They’ll want to know more about this guy who lives his life with a mission.
This article originally appeared at ReadyAimLife.com.
“Urgent” Image by: David Mingeon, SXC