Personae – Part 2                                                                                     


If I am a good planner for one day then I am a boring planner for another, where I cannot even look under the sun to see the future.  So if I am not a good planner, then maybe I should just get appealed by a fish tank, or bird watch or something until the great planners plan the way.

Nobody even wants to consult a boring planner as it would make their enthusiasm sink or make them want to run away.  Sometimes I just like to take it as it comes and ‘hooray’ when all goes well without a single plan made, I kind of conclude that planning can be a waste of time. Well, I know that’s not true, sometimes it may happen by fluke, but not all the time.

By far, the word ‘planner’ is also defined as – administrator, architect, executor, designer, and creator.  I would however argue that a successful planner sets the foundation to strategic lifestyle of wisdom living, which may often be neglected by some in the ongoing process of managing life.

Thomas A. Edison quotes:

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.

So I am going to look into each of these words on planning:





Honest purpose


Forethought – I have realized that before I say or do anything, I might have to ask the question “What can be anticipated from my reaction?” would I still do it?  It’s always healthier and wiser to take precaution before you retort.  Take time to plan your thoughts, and your words would be right, and when your words are right, your actions would be commendable.

System – we all grow up in unique ways, because we are all so different from each other.  Some build their lives with systems in place; others are disoriented and constantly live at a loss of keeping their lives in order. Great leaders are great thinkers who plan and maintain their life in a systematized manner, and people love their minds and try to imitate them in their life.  Planning your studies, career, work, marriage, finances, children are fundamental for all, so that you face no regrets in life. Planning will keep you on course in achieving your goals and objectives.

PlanningAbraham Lincoln reportedly once said, “If I had 60 minutes to cut down a tree, I would spend 40 minutes sharpening the ax and 20 minutes cutting it down.”

Steven Covey calls planning ‘sharpening the ax.’ You have to take time to make time. Planning is the difference between being reactive and proactive. When you don’t plan, you end up responding to the day’s events as they occur. 

Dale Carnegie told a similar story of two men who were out chopping wood. One man worked hard all day, took no breaks, and only stopped briefly for lunch. The other chopper took several breaks during the day and a short nap at lunch. At the end of the day, the woodsman who had taken no breaks was quite disturbed to see that the other chopper had cut more wood than he had. He said, “I don’t understand. Every time I looked around, you were sitting down, yet you cut more wood than I did.” His companion asked, “Did you also notice that while I was sitting down, I was sharpening my ax?”

Intelligence – An intelligent person is one who is gifted with brains, it’s mostly inherited – like getting math, or music or an ability to speak various languages – a degree of sophisticated knowledge. When we use this intelligence in the area of planning our life and career or ministry, then it’s the result or product of becoming smart. Because some people can be intelligent but have an unwise lifestyle.

Honest purpose – A good planner makes an honest contribution toward life and life’s events for their own or for others. You may make lots of plans, but if it’s haphazard or loosely connected, then be sure it will be a flop.  Plan with a purpose, so that you relish in what you plan.

Perspiration – Success in planning is not possible without some toil, strategizing and learning how to do it. It requires time, all of your brains, focused, dedication and not forgetting your energy. For people who don’t want any of this; they would pick up the last-minute scurrying, with a head filled with a load of tension, and a face crying out for help.  So no pain, no gain!  With a little perspiration, I think you can save yourself from a lot of havoc.

I would like to mention here about Stan-M who is an intricate planner:

His planning skills show his organized style of doing things, not to be self-serving but to be service oriented.  If Stan-M has planned an event for us, we can all be secure because seldom things will go wrong.  He would have organized it so beautifully well that he takes away the burden of any worst nightmare.

His life is governed and built upon talents and skills which are well sharpened through teaching, training, planning and discipleship. Though Stan-M plans travels, seminars, events, camps, programs to the minute detail, he would still be open to propositions, considering facts, being people oriented and service, makes him a leader who’s remarkably looked up to.

Attaining success and contentment in his work did not come on a platter with everything laid out in an institutionalized manner.  It was an uphill task facing failures and victories, disappointments and successes. In all of this God faithfully guided and protected him.

His weakness however was bad planning in the area of finances:

Arising debts in the beginning of Stan-M’s career and family life, forced him to take up tuition’s for a period of time to supplement financial needs.  As a result saving for anything was found to be impossible.  He was someone who really wanted to come out of debt.

I believe he could have walked past the Men’s store, Gift store or a Shoe shop without blinking – do you know why? Because he knew all of that stuff can wait.

Responsibility matched up well with his sense of patience – brought him and his family – to a place of a debt free life.  He looks back to thank God for His faithfulness in enabling him to continuously provide for his family and for the work of Service.

Learning lesson on health issues:   

Experienced a burn out situation due to spinning many plates and being frantically busy to keep track of a lot of things.  This caused him to be late in tasks due to administration overload.  Eventually the high stress levels reflected an unhealthy body maintenance bringing many surgeries for Stan-M, over the years.  With no sporting, neglected health, exceptionally hospitable with an open home, endeavoring for changes, constantly assertive for progress, each day took a toll on his health.

Through these hard lessons, he learnt to discipline his life with wise planning of his time and energy, regarding work and personal life.  Now he enjoys a much disciplined and strategic lifestyle in all areas of his life.

Stan-M’s daughter – Priscilla Roxburgh comments on his planning skills:

What always inspires me about my dad as a leader is his amazing ability to have foresight and vision. He is able to anticipate changes and be ready for them. The ability to think ahead for everyone else and start paving the way is what makes him a leader of leaders. That coupled with his meticulous attention to microscopic detail rarely allows for error and he is able to accommodate sudden changes with ease.

The standing joke when we were organizing my wedding to Peter was that anyone who was helping out at the wedding was emailed a 14-page document that broke the day down into minute detail. Of course – everything went off ridiculously smoothly and that document has become a template for many other weddings.  I recently organized a large conference for my work and I was amused to realize how many things I have inadvertently picked up from my dad over the years and I am so thankful for it.

Another thing that always impresses me is his desire to always be the learner. He’s always eager to learn about the latest thing – whether it is a book, a new development or a gadget! He will take the time to read study and decide whether the movement should imbibe it or not. It’s a great leadership trait.

I think a large part of anything I do in leadership comes from things I have learnt or inherited and that is a privilege.



  Mr. Stanley & wife Esme

Stan-M now retired from Bombay Baptist Church, but still travels to minister and conducts teaching seminars to all the churches under Gateway Ministries International. He has passed on the baton to his forerunner to advance the Equipping of the Church, Extending the Kingdom and Blessing the Nations.

by florence selvan