I’ve been a goal-setting goal-chaser most of my adult life. I believe in it with all of my heart and soul. Every week, every month and every year I have goals (that I believe honor God) which I create and pursue with great enthusiasm and energy.  However, just the other day I was thinking about situations where some goals can cause significant problems for me and those looking to me for leadership.  

I believe there are at least three instances when I ( and, maybe, you) should seriously consider giving up one or more goals which have been set.  I recall what the late Kenny Rogers sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run”—The Gambler

In today’s post I share three instances when it may be time to “fold ‘em and walk away.” Perhaps you can think of additional instances.

  1. I should prayerfully consider abandoning a goal when that goal is ridiculously unrealistic—the kind of goal where everyone on your team or in your group or organization rolls his/her eyes thinking you have lost your mind and gone off the deep end. It’s way too ambitious, way out of reach. At first hearing, it sounds awesome and exciting; but, upon further examination and thought, people become un-excited and skeptical. This is especially so when it comes to numbers you want to achieve. It’s good to move toward “stretch” goals and away from “Insane” goals.
  2. I should prayerfully consider abandoning a goal when that goal is all about me— to feed my ego and selfish ambition. Is what I envision really for the benefit of the people looking to me for leadership and the entire organization, or is it for my personal ambition and gratification? I have worked with a few leaders whose selfish goals wore people out and created a hurtful and harmful environment . If I’ve learned one thing about leadership it’s that  leadership is about the people and the Lord, not about the leader. In an age of celebrity leaders, this is easy to miss.
  3. I should prayerfully  consider abandoning a goal when it’s  becoming clear that the timing is not right. The goal may be admirable, stretching and not insane; but  maybe I’m rushing things due to my impatience in wanting to get it done right now. My heart, my best instincts and my people are telling me (for a variety of reasons)  that it’s not the right time. The people are tired, the finances are not in place, the details are not coming together, the Holy Spirit is not clearly giving us a green light. I should listen to wiser people and wait. Will I wait or will I push through thinking I know best, and people just need to suck it up. If I proceed, will it be a step of faith or a step of stupidity?

How about taking a close and prayerful look at both your short and long-term goals, considering these three instances?

As always, I’d love to see your comments.