In what area(s) of your life have you “settled”? “Settled” means you have come to accept the status quo, regardless of whether or not something is the way it should be.
If your answer after reading that question is that you have no settled areas , I challenge you to take a closer look. The truth
is that “Settled” is like coronary artery disease (CAD), a silent killer of which we aren’t aware until the damage is done. That damage occurs not only to our responsibilities but our ambitions, aspirations, and dreams as well. The other truth is that
most of us have Settled in some way in at least one important area of our lives.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can test ourselves for Settled by not just asking the question of whether we are, but by then intentionally taking time (15min minimum) to reflect on our values, relationships, and vision for our lives and then asking the following key questions (in order):
- “What are mine?”
- “Which are most important to me?”
- “Am I acting intentionally toward them?”
- “Do my behaviors reflect their importance”
- “Does my time reflect their importance?”
This process is both curative and preventative. I know from recent painful experience.
I was self-diagnosed with “Settled” this year when making out my 2014 goals as part of Michael Hyatt’s 5 Days To Your Best Year Ever course. Although I was anticipating getting clarity and action around my goals, Michael started off by presenting me with an unwelcome question instead. “In what area or areas of your life have you settled?” I took the bait. Although my mind was focused on the professional, intentionally thinking about that question arrested me and quickly surfaced the personal: my 13yr old daughter Jordan. Not what I expected nor what I wanted to deal with.
Jordan is challenged with Down’s and Autism, which has resulted in her not being able to verbally communicate as well as being incontinent. After years (literally) of daily (literally) work, exhausting all we knew and could find, yet experiencing repeated failure in these two behavioral areas, I had simply quite trying. Not intentionally mind you. I still went through the motions at times. But more often than not, I was disengaged and just went with the flow (literally and figuratively :)). I had embraced status quo and was managing as best I could…which was OK. After all, Settled is easy and can become quite comfortable.
However, diagnosing myself as Settled and asking myself the key questions quickly made me aware that I was not only violating one of my core values, but neglecting a responsibility and losing an opportunity…for myself, my family and for Jordan. This then allowed me to re-group, re-equip, re-energize, and re-engage. I was then able to take a “next step” in this area of my life that had become so settled and stale that I was ashamed to admit it. Thank God for awareness, because that is the beginning to being able to take the first next step. The results of that first next step (and those since) have been equally unexpected: for the first time in Jordan’s life and in all the years we have tried, we have finally have begun to experience repeated and ongoing success in one area of her toileting that now appears will be sustainable. Who would have ever thought?! That sure wasn’t what I expected. We still have a long way to go, but regardless of the results and what the future holds, I know I that my values and actions are properly aligned and we are intentionally working toward our dream for Jordan and us in this area of our lives.
Don’t confuse Settled with accomplishment or contentment because it is neither. Settled isn’t good. Settled is often the silent impostor that robs us by exchanging “good enough” or passive acceptance for what’s best…and then makes us oblivious to the loss or worse yet makes us feel good about it! Instead, be intentional about the important areas of your life and what you want them to be. What they are meant to be. What YOU are meant to be.
Sometimes it starts with a simple question: In what area(s) of your life have you “settled”?