“Intentional living is the bridge to significance. At the end of every year, I take time out to reflect and evaluate the events of the previous year – what went well and what needed improvement. From that inventory, I lay out my next year – how I intend to live, make the best use of time and maximize adding value to others.”- John C. Maxwell, Leadership Guru
At the end of the year, companies and organizations make an INVENTORY—a complete list of items like property, goods in stock, or the contents of buildings. Businesses look at both finished works and works in progress to help them plan for the next year. Everything is cataloged, recorded, counted and filed. It’s important for companies to know what they actually have on hand so they can supply goods for their customers. This is no time for guessing. It’s also crucial for them to assess the value of what they own so they can make and sustain profits in the future. The Bible describes taking inventory in an agricultural society. In proverbs 27:23-24 it instructs, “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.”
In 1993, researchers John McKnight and John Kretzmann at Northwestern University introduced Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), a methodology for the sustainable maturation of communities based in taking an inventory of their strengths and potentials. ABCD has been used to transform cities across the Country. They found that in urban settings and in our lives; we too often focus— even obsess about what is lacking. Taking inventory helps us realize and deploy the value of what we have. Do you know what your assets and strengths are?
Leadership coaches, teachers, and pastors encourage their students, mentees, and parishioners to take end of year life and spiritual inventories. We challenge folks to “List what you believe went well, or went wrong this year.” We ask, “What would you change about how you’ve managed your time/ money/ relationships with God and others?”“What disciplines do you wish to add this year? or, “What would you like to have accomplished by the end of next year?” We suggest folks use their laptops or journals to write their inventories. Scientists and educators say that writing by hand helps with things like memory and creativity. It assists us with clarifying purpose and reaching our goals. Proverbs 16:3 AMP tells us to, “Commit your works to the LORD [submit and trust them to Him], And your plans will succeed [if you respond to His will and guidance].” There are a few days left to set aside time to do a natural and spiritual inventory and establish our 2023 plans. A new suggestion might be to start with your most valuable assets and strengths. Happy New Year!