The Five P's
by Christie Love
October 13th, 2016

My dad is a college basketball coach. Growing up he would always use memorable motivational phrases to encourage me to make wise choices or to impart words of wisdom to me. Of the many phrases that he used, one that stuck with me and shaped my leadership was what he called the 5 P’s for success:






I heeded this wisdom, and like my dad, became a consummate planner. I had color-coded schedules. I prioritized task lists. I organized details. I set goals and created plans to achieve them. I had long-term plans that each were broken down into shorter timelined plans to move me forward. For extra measure, each of my plans often had backup plans and contingency plans.

As a young leader, I truly believed that if I could plan it then I could achieve it.

On the outside, it looked as though I was building strong habits and creating plans that should be wildly successful. However, early in my leadership, I realized that there was one critical weakness in the foundation and focus of all of my planning. I was focused on myself.

I was making plans that pursued what I wanted to do.

I was prioritizing my time the way that I wanted to spend it.

I was pursuing success by how I defined it.

God had no role in my planning process.

I had been a Christian for many years but I had fallen into the practice of segmenting God in my schedule on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights. Those were “His” times and the rest of the week was my time for me to use how I felt best accomplished my plans.

It was during a difficult season in my life, as my first marriage was falling apart, that I cried out to God and asked Him why all of my plans were not working. I felt him speak profound truth into my life that changed everything. His words were simple but clear: Stop trying to put me on your agenda-- instead put yourself on my agenda.

I was convicted to make changes.

I began to pray before planning. I began to seek what God’s will was for my life and my leadership. I began to ask him to guide me on how to spend my time and set my goals. These practices changed every aspect of my life. As I sought God for direction, I discovered a calling to full-time ministry.

I have learned that God’s plan A seldom looks like our plan A; however, if we are willing to seek his ways and pursue his plans, he will use us in ways that we could have never imagined on our own.

In the front cover of my Bible I have revised the 5 P’s that my dad taught me as a young girl. It now reads:


Plan then


Prayerfully with


Prayer is no longer an item on my agenda-- it is my agenda. I pray before I plan, as I plan, and after I plan. Yes, I still color code and organize but I am very careful to now hold all plans with a loose hand that is always open to God’s directions and voice. I have learned that prayer is the most important task leadership and it must be prioritized and protected daily.

Thoughts to ponder: What role does prayer play in your planning process as a leader? How different would your leadership look if you applied the second set of 5 P’s to your life? 

Christie Love is the Founder and Executive Director of LeadHer, an international women's ministry that strives to challenge women to grow in their faith, leadership, and influence through local chapters. You can learn more about LeadHer and how to start or connect with a local chapter at You can connect with Christie personally on Twitter at @ChristieLLove.

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