What’s Important Now?

Sep 8, 2020 | 13 comments

As I share the gift of coaching with ministry-minded people, rarely does a conversation end without some action toward an established goal. I will have that conversation with my spouse. I will journal at least 3 times this week. I will go to the market twice this week to practice language, even if I don’t need to buy anything. In the world of coaching, meaningful goals and action steps are the product of clarity, of deciding what’s most important — and why.

In the realm of Christ-centered coaching, the process takes on a spiritual component. It becomes an expression of our faith. In this way, coaching is more than simply establishing goals and checking off to-do lists. It’s about stewarding our personal and professional lives well by deciding what’s most important. We answer the question of Why. Or better yet, we come into agreement with God’s WHY.

Getting to the why and committing to a subsequent course of action is often a process of discernment and a series of deep conversations, especially during pivotal transition seasons.

As I age and mature, I’m learning that the small, seemingly insignificant choices made on a regular basis hold great impact over time. Those kinds of choices, more than anything, determine where I will end up. They are important! For example, I’m convinced it takes courage to live in obscurity, consistently doing the right thing when nobody seems to notice. In many ways, this is the nature of ministry and the story of many global workers. To avoid burnout and not lose heart, we need to decide what’s most important and have a strategy to achieve our short and long-term goals…all the while trying to remain flexible. Can I get an amen?

W.I.N. is a simple but powerful acronym that comes from the famous Notre Dame football coach Lou Holtz. It stands for “What’s Important Now?” Holtz instructed his players to ask themselves this question 35 times a day. He wanted them to think about it when they woke up, while they were in class, study hall, the weight room, the practice field, standing on the sidelines during a game and while on the playing field. Holtz wanted his players to be able to learn to focus on what mattered most at any given time.

Reflect for a moment. What do you want to accomplish and by when? How can you reach a desired outcome through consistent and intentional choices? What kind of support do you need along the way? These are all questions that fall under the bigger question of What’s Important Now? Hidden in these questions lies a treasure trove of answers based on your core values just waiting to be uncovered. But here’s the thing: these are not the type of questions answered by focusing on productivity alone.

My friend and colleague, Teresa McCoy, has a saying, “Forget productivity. Do what matters.” This season of COVID-19 has left many of us struggling to regain some sense of efficiency and productivity. What would it look like to put productivity on pause and prioritize what matters? Could this give you the W.I.N. that you need?  I leave you with this question: What’s Important Now?

I’d love to hear from you. What are you focusing on during this challenging season? And why?

One way to focus on the W.I.N. is by working with a trained, like-minded coach. Leave a comment and two of you will win (pun intended!) a “discovery call” with me.

P.S. The Sabbatical Journey Course comes out this week. Special sale price the first 48 hours and then only available for 14 days for purchase. Stay tuned!

Photo by Adrià Tormoon Unsplash

Tim Austin

Husband of one. Father of three. Coach. Podcaster. Cross-cultural worker.




  1. Suzanne Lahitte

    Interesting question to ask myself. I agree that this time of Covid has been challenging in terms of keeping the same priorities in a significantly different environment. I, like everyone else I suppose, am working out what my life looks like “now.” Tomorrow or next week conditions may change. So I’m trying to work with the now. Your article hit the spot!

    • Tim Austin

      Thanks for sharing Suzanne. I certainly agree. This is a season to reflect on our expectations around priorities and determine those non-negotiables in our current NOW.

  2. Robert Lee

    I like the WIN question and asking that question multiple times a day, it is so easy to lose our focus as we let so many things through the day get us off track.

    • Tim Austin

      Great thought Robert and a great way to combat all those distractions!

  3. Luci and Junior De Larina

    The WIN is a great tool, no doubt.
    Going to a big transition in our ministry now and what’s to me affect in one way to my husband affects in other way. Even to answer the WIN became quite difficult.

    • Tim Austin

      Prayers as you journey through this transition season Luci and Junior!

  4. Jeanette Shaheen

    So true. Surprizely,
    Productively isn’t too of the list of WIN

  5. Elena Smith

    Someone said the end is just a new beginning. But I don’t want either! Who can help with this being a WINner for me?

    • Tim Austin

      Feeling stuck in the middle is never any fun Elena. Prayers as you try to make sense of this season you’re in.

  6. Gwendolyn Lee

    Thank you for your article. It really hits on a deep struggle for me. I tend naturally from my personality to focus on what is important now; focusing on that instead of productivity. Not a bragging statement -but a cry for help – because..I tend to get “dinged” for it. I come up short on credentials and get asked questions like “Why didn’t you get a Master’s degree?” (I prioritized raising my kids and being at home for them) “What is your bottom line?” (serving in my neighborhood in whatever ways come up day to day) “What is it that you actually DO?” (I want my life to count for Eternity; I do lot’s of different things depending on the needs, people around me, season of life, etc.) So; this raises a question. Other people and organizations don’t seem to embrace or approve of this approach to life (WIN) unless we are going through a Pandemic or a Crisis. Then all of a sudden the WIN perspective (aka my way of doing life) makes sense and becomes the challenge. I would love your thoughts on this.

    • Tim Austin

      I see it as a values issue. What I hear you saying is that you have based some major life decisions on things you feel strongly about…family, loving your neighbor, etc. These decisions have “cost” you something in terms of what the world values, people’s perceptions, opinions, etc. If more Christ followers would live this way, pandemic or not, the world would be a better place and we’d see fruit where it really matters.
      I think the challenge for all of us is to live faithfully within the tension of holding to kingdom values in a world that doesn’t embrace them!

  7. Laura Anderson

    Thanks Tim for this WIN tool and the reminder it’s not all about productivity.

  8. Paul Hillhouse

    Thanks Tim! Clear and well expressed!


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