Are you on track?
I’m sure this seems like a completely nebulous question to ask, so let me clarify it. Are you on track to be the man God created you to be? Are you a living example of Christ on earth? Are you the father that leads by example and creates a loving, wise, and passionate environment wherever you go?
If you are like most men, you track your progress in life by the tangible goods around you. The car you drive, the brands you wear, the neighborhood you live in. If you are keeping up with the Jones’, then yes you are on track. Wrong! I have seen many men fall into this same trap, and the outcome is always the same.
It was not until recently that I got my head screwed on straight. I identified myself first and foremost by my profession. I put in the hours, constantly pushing for the next rung on the corporate ladder. I considered myself a wild success because I was the boss of people twice my age. I had lost my way.
I came home every night wiped out from work. If I remembered, I would give my wife and baby a kiss on the head, grab some dinner, and head to the home office to continue pounding away at work.
Extracurricular activities became checking emails and brainstorming ways to ascend quicker in the ranks. My family got a second-rate father and husband every night. If they got me at all.
Thank God for my beautiful wife and our active church parish. I got involved in a few ministries and started to hear the horror stories of gentlemen who started exactly as I did, but did not change their trajectory. Divorce, resentful children, and depression seemed to run rampant in these stories. After hearing the tale enough, I resolved to not reach that same conclusion. I resolved to create a creed by which I would live my life. By the end of this post, you will understand why this seemingly trivial act will change the way you live your life day by day. It will bring you in focus, and will serve you for years to come.
So let’s get to it.
What is a creed? It comes from the latin word credo which means “I Believe.” you may have heard the Apostle’s Creed– it is a succinct statement of early Christian beliefs. The most fundamental themes of Christianity are found in this brief text of around 100 words. You can pack quite a punch when you distill down your thoughts to their essence, and leave out the fluff.
not this creed…
I decided to create my own creed, not to replace the Apostle’s Creed, not to start my own religion, but to help guide myself through daily life and identify when I begin to drift. It forces me to distill down my life’s purpose into the most basic and permanent tenets that I believe a good Christian man should embody in today’s society.
I consider my life an open book, so let me share my creed with you:
A Prayerful Dad
seeks to embody Christ in his daily walk,
is a servant leader
is active in his church and community
A Prayerful Dad
loves his family unconditionally
protects his wife from life’s pain
is a hero for his children
A Prayerful Dad
lives life intentionally
is humble and wise
and improves upon himself daily
Today I will be a Prayerful Dad
Nothing too fancy, right? Just 65 words, but the message is powerful, personal, and actionable. I give myself a call to action every time I recite this creed. They are not just beliefs, but they are tactics. They are what I need to do today, and every day. At the end of the day, I can answer the question of “am I on track?” with these words.
So how do you go about writing your own creed? Here are a few tips:
- Block out at least 1 hour of time on your calendar.
- Turn off your phone and computer. Get out a paper and pencil. Yes those things. If you don’t have any go to the store and buy some. It’s important.
- Get in a quiet place, and say a quick prayer to calm your mind. I normally default to an Our Father, Hail Mary, and a Glory Be.
- Jot down the main buckets of your life. These will make up the themes of your creed. In my creed, I used Community, Family, Self.
- Think about some of the role models and mentors you have had in life. Write down one word attributes that you admire about them. Try to put them into the proper theme.
- Reorganize the attributes in a way that makes logical sense to you.
- Keep your creed short and actionable. Finish it off by calling yourself to become the man you just described.
- Don’t try to make it perfect on Day 1!
Step 8 is key. The creed, just like you, is living, learning, and evolving. As you go through life with your creed, you will need to tweak certain parts to correctly align with your view of purpose. This doesn’t mean to make it easy! Life is not meant to be easy, and your creed should embody the highest standard that you are aiming for. Living up to these words will be a constant challenge. That is exactly the point.
So what do you do with it? I have my creed on my bathroom mirror, my office wall, and on a text note in my phone. I read it when getting ready for the day. If I am having a rough day, or just feel drifting, I know exactly where to glance to get me on track. And at night, I ask myself the very question at the top of the post, “Am I on track?”
I invite you gentlemen to create a creed of your own. Post it where you will see it every day. And read it everyday. If you do, you will become more aware of your individual purpose, your end goal, and whether you made progress towards it today.
Do you have your own creed? Post below and let me know how it has changed your life!