Destiny is more than a destination--it is a journey in which each day counts. You don't suddenly become successful when you arrive at a particular status in life. But that doesn't mean we should blindly stumble along life's path without a destination in mind. You cannot become who God intends for you to be without having a picture of who that person is and what that person is called to do.
Many people struggle to define the meaning of success. But success is simply doing what you are called to do in a way that is compatible with your core values. If we want to be truly successful in fulfilling our destinies, we must understand the keys that open the doors to success.
Key No. 1: Assess yourself honestly. A key to your success is the extent to which you are objective and honest in appraising your own strengths and weaknesses and targeting areas for improvement. Seeking further input from others is helpful, but it is important that you acknowledge and take responsibility for the areas you can improve.
The general rule of thumb in assessing yourself is this: Be twice as hard on yourself as you are on others. Why? Because our nature is to overlook the "log" in our own eyes while criticizing the "toothpick" in someone else's eye. By applying a greater measure of self-judgment, you will probably balance the scales between what you allow in yourself and what you despise in others.
Key No. 2: Capitalize on your strengths. It is important to identify and develop your weaker competencies, but it is also important to give attention to your strengths. Look for ways to increase your opportunities to exploit those strengths.
Key No. 3: Set reasonable targets. It is crucial that your learning plan targets goals that are doable rather than lofty, over-optimistic long-term goals. Reasonable goals will enable you to see more immediate and tangible progress. Recognizing the achievement associated with meeting those interim targets can serve as a source of reinforcement and motivation.
Key No. 4: Make a commitment. It requires commitment and effort to eliminate your weaknesses and develop your competencies. For example, "creative people" do not necessarily generate innovative solutions and trend-setting ideas spontaneously. Many creative people view creativity as a skill that can be developed and exploited. They embrace methodologies or techniques that facilitate their creative process, and they actively exert the effort required to employ those methodologies.
Key No. 5: Believe change is possible. It is important that you understand and believe that change is both desirable and achievable. Cynicism or pessimism about a development plan will invariably become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
It is a defining characteristic of humans that they undergo continuous transformation throughout their entire life span. Change is inevitable; a learning plan simply ensures that the changes you undergo are targeted in a positive, constructive direction.
Key No. 6: Deny the right to be negative. Rather, determine to be positive. Many people hold tightly to negative thoughts and crippling attitudes because they believe it is their "right" to wallow in self-pity. But winners always deny their flesh, those false "rights," and intentionally choose to believe what the Word of God has to say about their identity and potential.
Moving to the next level in our lives is about the journey toward finding and fulfilling the pleasure of God. What are you doing that gives God pleasure? Are you continually "pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14, KJV)?
Terry Crist is pastor of CitiChurch International in Scottsdale, Arizona, and author of Awakened to Destiny (www.charismahouse.com), from which this column is adapted.