But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible. - Matthew 19:26, KJV
I love the way Oprah Winfrey captured the secret to her success on the last day of her show’s 25-year run:
"People often ask me what is the secret to the success of this show. I non-jokingly say, ‘My team and Jesus,’ because nothing but the hand of God has made this possible for me." - Oprah Winfrey, The Oprah Winfrey Show - Final Episode (5/25/11)
“I always knew I’d be a millionaire by age thirty-two,” said Oprah in 1987. “In fact, I am going to be the richest black woman in America.” Nineteen years later, with a net worth of $1.4 billion, Oprah has become not only the richest black woman in America, but also one of the richest people in the world.
This success has not come by chance. Oprah has made her fortune by setting clear and ambitious goals on both the professional and personal levels. “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret,” she says. “Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work.”
According to Oprah, the biggest hurdle people need to overcome in order to be successful is their belief that there are limits to how much they can accomplish. Goals need to be set and set high; expectations need to be limitless; and ambition cannot be restrained. “If you believe you can only go so far, it is an obstacle.”
The Bible says that with God, all things are possible. But, as Christian leaders we must establish goals that are first vetted with Him. “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, ESV). So, make sure you follow the lead of the Holy Spirit in identifying the right goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics to fulfill the path that God has ordained for you (Proverbs 3:5-6) and to “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14).
When establishing your goals, make sure that they are SMART, which is the commonly used acronym for:
- Specific (i.e., be precise about what you intend to achieve)
- Measurable (i.e., ensure that your objectives are quantifiable)
- Attainable (i.e., make sure that your goals are achievable)
- Realistic (i.e., confirm that your objective is one that you are willing and able to pursue)
- Time-bound (i.e., identify the timeframe or deadline for achieving the stated objective)
Example of a SMART Objective: To gain 25 percent of the U.S. market for smart phones by December 31, 2020.
As God’s ambassadors in the workplace and in the marketplace, it is perfectly acceptable to have clearly defined goals and objectives, but we must make sure they are established by God and remain flexible to His timing. For instance, don’t be tied to a specific destination with your business such as going public or capturing a certain percentage of market-share within a certain timeframe. He’ll let you know what to do and when to do it. Wait for His perfect timing in planning and executing your initiatives.
When you commit your plans to the Lord and allow Him to direct you, your plans are guaranteed to come to fruition (Proverbs 16:3). The Bible says that if you obey God, He promises to make your name great, or enhance your reputation, and make you a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2). Remember, no one has seen what God has prepared for those who love Him, and no one can change the plans of God (1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 43:13).