When you discover your mission, you will feel its demand. It will fill you with enthusiasm and a burning desire to get to work on it.   —Clement Stone

What’s Your Life Mission?

 

danica-tanjutco-694540-unsplash

How would you describe your purpose in life? Have you ever taken the time to consider your life mission? As you look at your life –  your values, your passions and your abilities – it is wise to consider where you are going and what you want to accomplish.

It’s easy to allow distractions and opportunities to pull us away from what’s truly important to us in life.

Not too long ago, I had a conversation with my dad about goals and priorities in life. As I visited with him, he got up from his chair, walked over to his desk drawer and pulled out a stack of old 11” by 14” cardboard pages. These cards were originally shirt boards that the cleaners placed in between his folded and pressed shirts. Dad used the cards to write out his mission statements and goals, but the incredible thing to me was to see that he wrote these out every single month. Handwritten!

Yes, he revisited his life mission and goals every single month. And he didn’t just read them and review them every month, he wrote them and updated them when necessary. This was incredibly inspirational to me. I must admit, I simply glanced my goals occasionally throughout the year and had never written out my mission statement.

I began to realize the power and impact of not only revisiting my life mission and goals, but writing them out and reviewing them on a regular basis.

When we utilize the lost art of hand-writing (not simply reading or typing) to reflect on our mission, we increase our capacity to remember and internalize what is important to us. It helps to keep us on track for where we want to go, what we want to be and how we are going to get there.

So what does a broad life mission statement look like? How do you determine what your overall purpose in life is, and how do you put it into a concise statement? First, consider your unique gifts and talents and how you hope to use them in this world. I like to ask questions such as:

“What were you created to do on this earth?”

“What is unique about you that can be a blessing in this world?”

Think big, think bold and think confidently.

Choose one verb that would describe how you use your gifts. For my dad, it is “to help.”

Here’s what my dad wrote as his life mission statement:

To help literally hundreds of millions of people to better lives: more secure financially, more satisfying spiritually and more fulfilling emotionally!!!

Just so you know, at 85 years old we can confidently say that he has fulfilled his life mission statement and continues to do so every day. Recently, when he sent out his retirement announcement (yes, at 85), he received hundreds of emails and notes in gratitude for all he had done to invest in the lives of business associates and sales people. It was clearly evident that he has fulfilled his life mission statement. Here’s a few quotes from the many notes he received:

It is hard to estimate how may people you have impacted over the years, but I know the ripple effects have reached and impacted countless individuals and families…You have impacted my sales and now management career in this great industry.

You had a huge impact in my professional and personal life.

I salute Gary Kinder as an awesome example of how sales people and sales executives should operate. Thank you Garry…thank you sir. You changed my life and made it fulfilling.

The impact you’ve have had not only nationally, but internationally is quite a legacy that will live on!

Take some time this week to create your own Life Mission Statement.

 And just in case you are interested, here’s mine:

To encourage men and women around the world to live out their God-given responsibilities in a positive and productive way.

Who do you believe?

ibrahim-rifath-717882-unsplash

What a confusing and sad week it was last week. Our nation is butting heads on the basis of conflicting stories and bringing us all to the question, “Who do we really believe?” This scenario is nothing new in life. Parents find themselves trying to piece together the truth when their two darling children tell two very different tales. Spouses dispute over, “He said; she said.” A co-worker makes a claim about another co-worker, leaving doubts in everyone’s mind.

How do we discern the truth? Is it possible to know which story to believe? As I look at what is happening in Washington, I want to draw a few principles we can apply to our lives in general, as well as the situation at hand.

  • Make decisions based on the facts, not feelings or what we want the outcome to be.
  • Listen carefully to both sides. We must learn to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to become angry.
  • Pray for discernment and wisdom. Pray for the truth to come to light. Pray for conviction in the hearts of those who are telling lies.
  • Don’t be afraid of the truth.
  • Don’t scream and shout, especially when you don’t know the whole truth.
  • Don’t ignore a person’s pain. Listen, comfort and help.
  • Never ruin another person’s honor or reputation based on gossip, hearsay or half-truths.
  • If you are a victim, seek help and talk to someone. Walk through the grief with the help of another. You are never alone. God sees your pain and heartache, and there are people who can help you heal.
  • Be careful to never falsely accuse another person. Fabricated accusations not only damage the accused, but harm those people who are true victims. Crying wolf with deceitful allegations does a disservice to women in general, as people will tend to distrust future sexual assault victims.

Finally, trust God’s justice. Even if we think truth did not win out – God knows the truth. His justice is better than man’s faulty decisions. Don’t let anger take over your attitude. Listen to David’s words in Psalm 37 and allow them to calm our heart no matter what life brings.

Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.

Trust in the Lord and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.

Commit everything you do to the Lord.
Trust him, and he will help you.
 He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

 Be still in the presence of the Lord,
and wait patiently for him to act.
Don’t worry about evil people who prosper
or fret about their wicked schemes.

 Stop being angry!
Turn from your rage!
Do not lose your temper—
it only leads to harm.
For the wicked will be destroyed,
but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.

Photo from Unsplash

How to Wait Well

khachik-simonian-649703-unsplash

No one enjoys waiting. Whether its at a doctors office, a check-out line or a drive thru, we typically want to get done and move on to the next item on our agenda. Sometimes in life we have to wait on bigger and more life-changing situations such as a diagnosis or a job interview or even a future spouse.  If you find yourself in the seat of waiting, here are a few thoughts to help you live with patience and victory.

Turn your Focus.  It’s easy to get frustrated and impatient when all you think about is How long is this going to take?!  Yet, if you turn your thoughts in a different direction then time can seem to slip by unnoticed. How do you turn your thoughts in a new direction? Certainly there are short term fixes (checking emails or reading a magazine), but if the wait is lengthy, consider exploring a new passion or interest.  You can research places to volunteer or classes to take to move in a positive direction while waiting.

Be Creative. Waiting doesn’t have to be boring. Replace the dullness of waiting with the joy and fun of fresh ideas. If you are in the line at the drive-thru, sing happy songs with your kids. If you are waiting in the check out line at Walmart, play I Spy. If you are waiting for that perfect job to open up, consider taking on a new hobby or sport that makes you smile. Tap into your creative resources and fill your waiting with laughter, rather than complaining.

Think about Others. No matter what you are waiting for, you are not alone. There are other customers, clients and patients that have similar situations. Why not pray for them? Perhaps you can start a conversation or reach out to help someone in need or kindly let someone go ahead of you. When you get your eyes off your own circumstances, you free yourself to see the needs and hurts around you. Thinking of the needs of others develops an inner peace and joy in your own heart.

Ask for God’s help. One of the fruits of God’s Spirit is patience. The Bible reminds us that, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” Look to Him, and ask for His help when it comes to waiting. He can give you strength to endure as well as creative ideas on what to do while you wait. Draw close to Him during your time of waiting and you will discover enduring hope in the process.

These are simply a few principles to help us wait well. May we continually apply these thoughts to both short term delays as well as long term anticipation. Let’s also consider how we can respond well to the impatient people around us. Remember the words of the apostle Paul,  “Love is patient, love is kind.”

3 Tips to Help you Successfully Seize Your Day

manasvita-s-844576-unsplash

 

How many tasks did you accomplish on your To Do list yesterday? If you are like most people, you didn’t come close to getting it all done. In fact, one study shows the average percent of uncompleted items on a typical daily list is around 41%. So how do you successfully seize the day and conquer the inevitable distractions? Here are 3 ideas to apply to your daily routine:

 

Plan the Day Before – At the end of each work day, take a moment to look at your calendar and create a schedule for the next day. Set out blocks of time for your meetings as well as your tasks that need to be accomplished. Draw one square in which to write the names of all the people you need to contact either by email, text or phone call. As for places you will need to go, consider the approximate time  you will need to leave in order to get there on time, and take a moment to set the alarm on your phone for those times. When you plan the day before, you will sleep better and wake up the next morning ready to work and ready to go.

 

Circle Three Priorities – As you look at your schedule, circle three tasks or activities that are top priorities. I typically circle them with a bright yellow highlighter, so they stand out. Your top priorities should include those things that must be done before the day passes or meetings that are essential to your work. Take another pen and underline the items on your list that are important and need attention, but if push came to shove, they could be finished the next day. As you highlight your priorities you can keep a steady focus on them throughout your day to ensure that you move toward completing them. You will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment when you see that your priorities have been achieved each day.

 

Create Blocks of Time – Generally speaking, when we have a set amount of time to get a task accomplished, we tend to narrow our focus, ignore distractions and get the job done. Consider the concept of the power of a half-hour. When you designate 30 minutes to a task, and keep your focus on what needs to get done, you are much more likely to get it completed. I often set a timer to help me stay on track. Blocking off short parcels of time helps you set aside emails and phone calls and other interruptions in order to finish. If you need a little more time, then certainly you can add to it, but you will be surprised how much can be done as you concentrate for a half hour. Between each 30-minute segment, take a break or breather. Of course, stay flexible and leave a cushion between each time-block to deal with unexpected tasks that may arise.

 

Apply these three simple ideas to your daily routine and you will be encouraged by the results. Seek God’s guidance every morning, asking Him to order your steps. It is possible to conquer your To Do list, it just takes a few new habits to make a positive difference.

 

Photo by Manasvita S on Unsplash

When You Feel Alone

rod-long-425710-unsplash

In our world of constant connection to all things electronic, it may seem peculiar that many people feel isolated and alone. A recent study by health insurer Cigna revealed that nearly half of all Americans feel lonely, and 54% responded that they feel like no one actually knows them well.

Loneliness is different than being alone, as we all need some healthy “alone time” now and then. A sense of loneliness is more of a deep aching that people experience when they feel disconnected, disengaged or detached from others.

Most people experience loneliness at times, but few talk about it or address how to push through it. Let’s consider a few principles that can help us move from a mood of isolation to a place of connection once again.

Mind Games. When a person feels alone, there are often thoughts that tend to be replayed in their mind. Thoughts like:

  • No one understands me.
  • No one cares about me
  • No one sees life the same way I do.

While each of us are unique individuals and have  different life experiences, there is actually nothing new under the sun. Don’t buy into the lie that no one understands or cares or that no one has ever experienced similar circumstances. It is time to weed out the old messages you are telling yourself and start planting new ones like:

  • There are other people who understand.
  • There are people in my community who care.
  • There are people who have gone through similar situations.

Change your thought patterns and slowly bring hope into the structure of your daily thinking.

Simple Action Points. When we feel lonely, it is easy to accept the invitation to our own pity-party, but that’s one party invitation we need to decline. We must choose to slowly and surely step forward and get out of our funk. Here are some practical ways to do just that:

  • Volunteer at a place you feel passionate about
  • Join an organization, club or support group
  • Go to church and join a small group or Bible study
  • Reach out to people you know who need encouragement or help from you
  • Pay attention to lonely people at work or in your community – be their friend

Take an honest look at yourself. There is always room for self-improvement, and we can make positive changes in our lives. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself.

  • Am I always negative?
  • Do I complain too much?
  • Am I bitter?
  • Do I discourage others rather than lift them up?
  • Do I need to forgive someone and open back up the door of friendship?
  • Am I typically thinking or talking about myself?
  • Do I sincerely care and love others or am I just concerned about what people think about me?

As you answer these questions honestly about yourself, you may realize you need a turning point to go in a new direction. Start by being grateful (counting your blessings every day) and focusing on the needs of others. Guard against complaining and grumbling, and speak only kind words about others.

Less Online, More Real Time. Online connections can’t take the place of real human connection. We need eye contact and touch. We need to hear the intonation and sound of people’s voices to understand and feel understood. Online connections loose many of the non-verbal cues essential to relationships. Sometimes in our own families, surrounded by people, we can feel lonely because we are engrossed in our electronic devices. Be deliberate about putting down the electronics, so that you can truly communicate with the people around you. Meal times especially should be “No Phone Zones.”

Proactively Deepen Connections. There are simple actions we can take to strengthen and deepen our relationships. Never underestimate the power of eye contact. Pay attention to the people you are talking to and actively listen by asking questions to learn more about their thoughts and feelings, hopes and dreams. Stop looking away from each other and start looking toward each other.

Remember you are not alone. Possibly one of the most comforting statements ever uttered is “God is with you.” He is a constant source of comfort and strength to our tired and weary souls. He loves you and will never leave you. He created us for connection. We can ask Him to guide us and show us how to be a good friend to others. He can open our eyes to the people we should reach out to and give us the grace and love to connect in a deeper way.

 

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash