Have you ever heard someone respond that they are “just living the dream” when asked how things are going?  That response made me start wondering if I was living my dream.  I finally concluded that I was not living my dream, though I was living IN my dream, and that was a disappointment for me.  I had met my aspirational life goals, so what was the problem?  Why was I not content and satisfied?

I believe it was a matter of attitude caused by allowing myself to be a participant in my life’s dream rather than really grasping what that dream is and introspectively and prayerfully determining what was preventing full realization of the dream.  Sorting through that involves taking an objective inventory of all parts of life and then making necessary changes and eliminating barriers to enable a shift from only living in the dream to actually living the dream.  I needed help and was blessed by being introduced to Dave Jewitt and his Your One Degree program.  I engaged in the program, hoping to discern God’s will and my specific purpose in the role I currently have, and assure that the direction I am headed is the one God intends for me.  The program walked me through the process of taking an all-encompassing self-analysis of myself and my life to determine what makes me happy and fulfilled and what I enjoy most.  It provided the tools to enable me to modify my work approach to maximize my use of those important drivers, and begin living my dream.

I set two goals for myself as I began the program:

  1. Realize really living the dream in my current job between now and retirement
  2. Learn what makes me happy and drives satisfaction so I can be prepared for determining how to proceed in retirement to really live that dream too.

I completed my Your One Degree workbook in the spring of 2015.  I benefited in many ways from going through the process, but will comment on three benefits, as follows:

  1. Turning the corner.  One day as I was on my way to work, I was thinking and praying about my anxiety related to transitioning to retirement, and about how I can apply my learnings from the One Degree process to help me.  I spent too much time thinking about retirement, wondering what I am going to do during that phase of my life.  I think that actually became a big part of the problem for me.  I started spending so much time thinking about retirement, actually worrying about retirement, that I overlooked the years between now and then.  What a mistake that has been.  I don’t mean that thinking about retirement is not important, but I spent my whole career getting to where I am, so it is at least equally important to make sure that I maximize my time between now and my retirement date.  Luckily, it was not too late for me.  I was driving down a street that dead ended into a busy road.  As I approached the stop sign, I noticed two things.  First, I was the fifth car in line.  Secondly, while I was waiting for the first car in line to go, I was craning my neck to see if the way was clear.  Then it hit me.  Why would I need to be concerned about whether or not cars are coming when I was fifth in line?  What difference did it make?  Likewise, why would I need to fret and worry about exactly what I will do upon retirement when I know that it will not matter for a few more years?  The lesson I learned is that I need to focus on the here and now and maximize my enjoyment and effectiveness at my current job so I can fulfill God’s purpose for me in that role.  After all, God placed me in this role, so the most important thing for me to do is to accomplish what He intended – something I cannot do if I am preoccupied with worry about a future that I cannot do anything about right now.  This all sounds overly simple, but it was a life changer for me.  I get to serve in the role God has placed me in before I will need to look for the next thing.
  1. Designing Summary Sheet and Decision Grid. The Grid I developed as part of Your One Degree program provides me with a constant reminder of who I am and what I am designed to do so I can approach my work in an optimum fashion to achieve God’s plan and enhance my enjoyment.
  1.  I have had the opportunity to share my experience with two other executives, both of whom have met with Dave Jewitt and one of whom is currently completing the workbook.  Having the opportunity to share with them has been very rewarding to me, reinforcing what I have learned and helping me to implement the strategy in my life.

This year long journey has been very rewarding. I have claimed 3 bible passages as the basis for my planning – Proverbs 16:1-3, Proverbs 9 and I Samuel 10:7b and I focus on making sure I am prepared whether the plans work out or whether God chooses to change them.  Either way, I want to make sure I have done my part.

“To man belong the plans of the heart…but motives are weighed by the Lord.  Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.”  Proverbs 16:1-3.

“In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

“…do whatever your hand finds to do, for God is with you.”  I Samuel 10:7b

Ted Haynes