Foundation [foun dey shuh n] – the dictionary defines it as “the basis or groundwork of anything” or “the natural or prepared ground or base on which some structure rests”. Just like buildings or structures must have solid foundations in order to stand strong over time, our lives also must have foundations that are deep and rooted in order to stand strong through all that life will be – both the good and the bad. When I think of the people I’ve worked with or spoken to or known over the years who haven’t “finished well”, one of the common factors in those stories is a shaky or poor foundation on which to build their lives. So if building a solid foundation is one of the keys to finishing well, then how do we build it?
- Personal Growth
- Parenting / Grandparenting
- Community Impact
- Global Impact
Rate yourself from 1 (doing really poorly) to 10 (doing really well) in each area. And don’t just rate yourself but ask your spouse (if you’re married) and one or two close friends who know you really well to also rate you. Give them permission to be brutally honest about what they think and don’t be defensive if you don’t agree with them. This helps establish a baseline to work from.
2. Once you’ve reviewed your assessment, look at your weakest areas and decide which one or two are most important to you and that you want to work on doing better. Then setup some intentional goals and strategies to get there. **NOTE: Don’t try to tackle too many areas at once. If you do, it becomes overwhelming and you don’t make significant progress anywhere. In thinking through the areas you want to improve, try retracing your steps to see how you got where you currently are in your life. When were you at your best – most passionate and engaged – and what was happening? When were you at your worst or most painful point and how did that affect who you are today? The strategies and tactics to move into a better future are often found in our past.
3. Enlist the help of others in your quest to build a solid foundation. The Bible says that “Plans fail when there is no counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Prov. 15:22 HCSB). Ask your spouse for help and give them permission to speak into your life when they see things that need adjusting. Get a few close friends who you can be completely real and transparent with and ask them to be your accountability partners. Layout the goals you have with them and ask them to help hold you accountable to getting there. Enlist the help of a good life coach. Often, when people want to make significant change and don’t feel comfortable letting friends or family in close, a good coach can help bridge the gap by brainstorming strategies, celebrating wins, and holding you accountable to taking action on what you say you want to do.
4. Finally, DON’T GIVE UP. Building, and especially re-building, a solid “life foundation” doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, effort, energy, and patience. Many marriage coaching clients who are working to create a better relationship with their spouse often want it to happen in a few weeks or months. I usually suggest they reflect on how long they’ve been married (10, 15, 20, 30 years) and then I ask “If it took that long to get where you currently are, why should we expect it will change in a fraction of that time?”. The same goes for our lives. If it’s taken our entire life to get us to where we’re at, why would it only take a short time to undo it? Now the truth is, we can often make significant positive change in less time than it took to make negative change, particularly because negative change often comes from apathy or “unintentionality”, where we didn’t mean to get into a bad spot but we allowed a slow erosion to run its course without counteracting it. The point is, stay they course and don’t give in to defeat. It won’t happen immediately but you WILL make things better if you really want to.
A solid foundation is one of the cornerstones to building a healthy and vibrant life of significance and a truly significant life is balanced and fully integrated. The great thing is that no matter where we are currently, we can build or re-build a solid foundation to work from.