Our lives are made up of specific domains. These domains dictate to us how we operate, succeed and flourish. Each of these specific areas of our lives are expected to grow and prosper. No matter what season you are in, you are already rooted in these places and are bearing fruit whether you believe it or not. This space of fruit bearing in your life is your "Life Grove." Check out Part 1 of last weeks post on "Managing your Life Grove" here.
We are expected to produce fruit in life because God has given us capacity to grow. These specific areas are not just "supposed to grow" but they are to "flourish." To flourish means to
"...to be in a vigorous state; thrive; to be in its or in one's prime; be at the height of fame, excellence,influence, to be successful; prosper." -Webster
When something is growing, it's vigorous development is not just hoped for but expected. When you are rooted in Christ, growth is an outcome of your connection to the Holy Spirit (Galations 5:22). Your Life Grove is not supposed to be a struggling and languishing grove of sadness but an orchard of life where you and many are enjoying it's fruits.
To see anything growing and producing fruit, there is intentionality. Your Life Grove won't see the fruit you are hoping for unless you are purposeful in how you are growing these specific areas of your life. Think of each of these specific domains as areas of your life that have to go through seasons. Just as in the natural, our lives have a winter, spring, summer and fall to harvest from, each of these areas of our lives have to go through seasons to see the fruit come and for you to flourish.
So we set goals and be intentional to see the "fruit" come from our labor. Each time a season , each limb a goal and and each fruit a result of what you have done. Your season depends on where God has you, what your stage in life is. For example, your fruit from your relational tree will look different when you are in the season of being a new husband than when you are in the season of being g a father of a teenager. Just like trees have limbs that are carrying the potential fruit, think of each limb on your tree as a goal for this year. Each limb carrying the fruit buried in it's branches that will grow and develop over time till harvest. Finally each fruit will be the result of your hard work, spiritual disciples and forged habits over time.
So let's write down a goal from each area from your Life Grove. Michael Hyatt says there is a study that supports how writing down goals helps us achieve them. Gail Matthews of Dominican University of California, author of "The Effectiveness of four Coaching Techniques in Enhancing Goal Achievement", did a study by recruiting 267 professionals from different careers: attorney's, educators, artists, entrepreneurs, etc. After tracking them over several weeks she discovered that writing one's goals increased achievement y 42%. Writing them down helps you to clarify what you want, motivates you and helps you celebrate or as we would say "eat the fruit of your labor."
You have heard of the SMART goal setting system: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Sensative. I want you to see your Life Grove from a perspective and with the intention of you wanting these areas to FLOURISH. For you to "flourish" in your life you need to set goals. You need to be asking yourself questions about what specifically do you want to grow in and how you will accomplish this growth in your life.
To FLOURISH you need each tree in your Life Grove to have these specific attributes to what you want to see accomplished in each of these specific areas of growth:
F - Fearless
The first attribute is about risk. Let your goals be a little scary to you. It's one thing for goals to be realistic but that gives you the potential to believe and set your goals to low. Set goals that will challenge you and expose you to believe beyond what you are capable of. Question: How risky are your goals for this area of your life? Are they challenging you and stretching you?
The second attribute is does this goal excite you. The more excited you are to reach your goal the more motivated you will be. How inspired are you by this goal for this area of growth in your life? Does it engage our heart? Does finishing this goal excite you? Is it fun to think about?
O - Operative
The third attribute for you to flourish in your Life Grove is that they are operative. In other words, how will you operate your life by asking what is the action that you have to take to get to the result. To have a directive to accomplish your goal is critical (for example, "be more consistent at working out" isn't operative but "run 3 days a week" is operative). What is the action step needed to accomplish your goal? What movement is necessary for you?
U - Urgent
Your goal should have an urgency to then to finish. Or in other words, what you want to do should have an "end date." Your goals should be time-sensitive. It should have a deadline and a frequency. Deadlines will force you to give it attention and action.
R - Realistic
The fifth attribute of your goal is that it must be realistic. You have to commit to this goal and believe that you can accomplish it. This means you have to personally be wiling and able to work towards this goal. Is the goal you are reaching for realistic? Do you see yourself able to accomplish this? Are authentically motivated to do this goal?
I - Incremental
Your goals should be measurable. You have to know WHEN you reach your goal and you have to know HOW your progress is being charted. Monitoring your progress is the fun of reaching goals and it gives you incredible satisfaction. How will you measure your growth and progress? How do you notice when you've reached your goal?
S - Specific
The next attribute is that your goals should be specific. You should have focus because the more focused they are the more inspiring they are. Identify exactly what you want to accomplish (for example, "advancing my education" is too vague but "get a masters from U of M" is more specific and will make your more productive). What exactly do you want to accomplish in this area of your life?
H - Harmoneous
The final attribute is about having your goals be in alignment with your season, your values and your vision. These goals are meant to relevant to the season of your life (If not, you won't see the growth your hoping for). They have to have a "harmony" to them and work with the other areas of your life rather than having goals compete and create friction ultimately working against the others. Do your goals align with your seasons? Do they encourage progress for you and others around you? Do they compliment the legitimate demands and needs of others in your life? Do they align with your values as a person, family and follower of Jesus?
Use this FLOURISH template to set goals (branches) for each area in your life grove to see the fruit that you are hoping for in this season of our life (an example is given for you below as well.). Imagine below a branch on each tree in your Life Grove and just like a caregiver in an orchard goes out each day to inspect the limbs to look for the fruit, you can do the same thing for your own Life Grove. See the example below: