Have you ever heard of a running marathon where 5,000 people start the race but only one finished the race? According to the BBC it happened recently in England. Here is their report:
“Thousands of runners who took part in the Marathon of the North race had been told the course they followed was 264 meters short. Competitors … took a wrong turn in the Sunderland events because marshals were standing in the wrong positions. Only the winner of the full marathon completed the full distance. Only the lead athlete followed the correct route through the Sheepfold area near the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately, the second and third placed runners were not within line of sight of the leader and lead bikes and vehicle. This resulted in all those who followed, taking an incorrect route through this section.”
This news account illustrates just how easy it is to get off course when we lack a clear plan.
You Need a Life Plan
The runners in this competitive debacle were relying on others to tell them which way to go instead of personally knowing the route. The 4,999 were not just penalized, but were completely disqualified because they veered off course by “going with the flow.”
If these runners had a flight plan, like an airplane pilot does, they would have stayed on the prescribed route. A flight plan describes where and when the pilot will take off, the route he will take, and where and when he will land. Wind currents and weather have the ability to knock the pilot off course. Throughout the flight, he will be monitoring these conditions and constantly correcting his path so that he will successfully arrive at his destination.
Success guru, Brian Tracy writes, “Life is a journey. And as with any other journey, you have to do more than just think happy thoughts about where you want to go. You need clear goals, plans, and schedules to get from wherever you are today to wherever you want to be in the future. Like any good pilot, you need a flight plan that you file before you begin and that you use to guide you on your way.”
How Do You Stay the Course?
The phrase, “stay the course,” means to continue doing something, even when it is difficult. It is based on the literal meaning of a ship continuing in the same direction, even in bad conditions. No one, however can “stay the course” without a plan. Some call it a strategic plan; a statement of objectives, tactics and measurements that tell us if we have achieved our goals.
Your Personal Plan
The best life planning process I have come across is the GPS Life Journey. It is a series of 15 critical discoveries that you build upon, one step at a time. When completed, it describes the critical points of interest on the way to discovering and engaging in God’s purposes for the next stage of your life.
Those that complete the process know how God has uniquely made them and what He has created them to do. They don’t, like the marathoners who follow the herd, rely on others to define their destination. Instead, they personally know where they are headed and how to get there.
With a life plan or roadmap in-hand, you will have all the tools necessary to reach your destination. On good days and bad, whether you can see clearly or your vision is obscured, you will be able to “stay the course” and pursue your mission. Your family, work, and other responsibilities will benefit and be on-track.
Don’t run with the herd and get disqualified. “Stay the Course” by making a plan for the next stage of your life so that you can accomplish great things for others.
What are you doing to make sure that you have all the necessary tools to reach your destination? Comment below.