From time to time we all have some challenging days. I have experienced a few of them in my life. Those were times where I just wanted to quit. But during those times I am still learning to focus more on the reasons for going after my goals than the challenges I face. Zig Ziglar said it this way, "When obstacles arise change our direction to reach our goals, don't change our decisions to get there." Where we put our focus helps us or hinders us in the direction we grow. Here are some areas to help us to have focused growth in the mist of tough times.
1. Check Gratitude – Our daily actions should reflect our appreciation of what we have right now. Staying focused on our goals requires acceptance of problems and circumstances. One writer said it's like this, "Our problems are not a stop sign but guidelines for our lives."
Be grateful for your problems. Count your blessings in the mist of all the chaos. When you can see your problems as a blessing you will be less likely to avoid them but embrace them because their purpose is to guide you to your next level of growth to your goal.
2. Know Achievements – Keeping in mind what we have learned is pivotal for continual growth. It has been said that when we don't know our history we are bound to repeat it. Our primary purpose for reflecting on the past should be to maximizing our strengths and improving our weakness. For me, an achievement I constantly reflect on is the struggle I had and have in overcoming my brain tumor. The victory back then encourages me to stay focused when I'm hit with reasons to quit.
Know what you have done and what you are able to do. Your success and failures make up who you are today. Don't complain nor brag about the past, your comments will make no significant changes. Focus on your current goal and apply what you have learned from your past. Growth happens when you can continue to move in the right direction despite obstacles. Socrates said it this way, "The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but building the new.
3. Think Success – Our thoughts make up the most of what we can and can't do. The destiny of our future is directly connected to what we process mentally today.
Take each moment to think positively about your life and your future. You have a reason for being here and going through what you are facing. Take every thought and make it focus on the reasons why you can do it. Be confident in reminding yourself that you can be successful at reaching your goals and overcoming the challenges of failure.
Your growth can take place by focusing on being grateful, reflecting on past achievements and thinking successful thoughts about your goals in the chaotic times of life.
Marilyn vos Savant said, "Success is achieved by developing our strengths, not by elimination our weakness." Have we noticed somethings that require little effort for us to do? Weather we know it or not, our strengths are within us. Our strengths might be a good skill or talent that we have but they are raw until we focus on developing them. Once developed we will be positioned to acheive a higher level of success in our lives. Let's focus on three areas that will help us maximize our strengths.
3 Focused Strengths
1. Concentration – It’s easy to loose focus on our strengths when all we can see is the big picture. To become stronger we must focus on where we need to be for the present moment. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "Concentration is secret of strength." Strength is increased when we are able to concentrate our best energy into the area that needs it most.
What are you focusing on at school or work? Are you concentrating on the problems and what you can't do? Start looking and improving in the areas that you enjoy and are strong in. Putting your focus here will drive you to have a clearer purpose for short term successes. Once short term successes are reached within your strong areas you will find new reasons to push for a bigger goal.
2. Statements – Our thoughts push us towards or away from our goals. Writing our thoughts helps us focus on what we desire to acheive. To help build our strengths, writing them down is fundamental to our success. One writer calls this process “strength statements". These are one sentence statements that capture the essence of our strengths. They are meant to encourage and keep us focused on building our strengths.
Here are a few openers to help you start: "I am strongest when I am fixing or doing...."; or "I am strongest when I am listening or helping others...." Remember your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, actions become habits, habits become values, and your values become your destiny (Gandhi). Use "strength statements" to help you focus your thoughts so that your destiny will be awesome!
3. Routine – If we are sporadic when it comes to working on our strengths, we probably won't see much change. We must focus on consistently doing what we are good at. Success comes from a routine that produces the results desired. John Maxwell said it this way, "We will never change our lives until we change something we do daily. The secret of our success is in the daily routines."
Look for people and places to help you consistently develop your strengths. Activities that leave you feeling confident, energized, and eager to do it again. Being able to do something easily doesn't mean you are the best at it. Invest in your strengths by constantly working towards your goals - Participate in or watch workshops and conferences in the area that you desire to be stronger. Read books and blogs that deal with your area of interest. Learn all you can to become the master of your strength through routine.
John Maxwell says that you should focus 70% of your daily energy on your strengths. Learn to work in your strength zone constantly by concentrating your attention, writing "strength statements" and developing a good routine. When your strengths are maximized you will be on a level of success.
Our true identity is the core of who we really are. It starts developing within us before we are born. When we are growing up or identity is nurtured. It naturally reflects our internal standards. It subconsciously communicates who we are without words. It is expressed through our demeanor, our style of dress, and even with the friends we find ourselves having. There are a host of things that are impacted by our identity. This is why we must develop it to reflect the best at all times. To help here are three areas to focus on.
3 Identity Focuses
1. Association – Who and what we hang around is vital to the development of our identity. I have heard and believe that if we hang around trash we can expect to look and smell like trash. Our identity will reflect what we spend the most time around. Our association does bring about our assimilation.
Change your identity by changing your association. When at school look for the individual or group that has similar goals, standards and images you desire to be identified by. At work find that co-worker or team that’s serious about doing what’s right and being effective and productive. In your life gravitate to those who want better and are doing better. Remember, you will assimilate to what you associate.
2. Boundaries – Our personal boundaries set the stage for our true identity. Boundaries for our lives are much like the fence lines for property. It keeps the chosen things close and the unwanted things at a distance. Our identity should have definite lines (boundaries) that let others know how far we will go in all areas of our lives.
Set your boundaries in places that reflect what you are about; your preferences, your rules, what’s acceptable and not acceptable. Your boundaries are the points where you say YES and NO! Your good boundaries give you a good identity.
3. Self -Worth – Our personal identity is connected to our self-worth, the way we see ourselves and the value we place on ourselves. It is also an emotional measure of how well we live up to our standards within ourselves. Our happy and sad times are connected to the worth of ourselves. The confidence we have or don't have will determine our successes and failures of self. We must identify ourselves as worthy not because we want to but because we have all the atributes of worthiness.
Increase your self-worth by adding value to who you are. Don't try to do valuable things, be valuable by demanding your mind to: be confident about your purpose, be honest about your experiences, poses a teachable attitude in the face of challenges and finally, respect yourself, God and others. When your identity increases your self-worth you are priceless.
Build a good identity by associating with good people, setting good boundaries, and increasing self-worth. Become identified with the best you!
The Other Side of Fun
"If it’s not fun, I'm not going to do it!"
"I really didn’t get anything from it, but at least I had fun".
These are some of the statements we say about doing something. Fun is defined as “a source of enjoyment, amusement, or pleasure." We also associate playful (boisterous) actions and speech as being fun, when it makes us feel good.
Fun has its place but should be treated as dessert and not the main course. It should not be our number one objective in life. Life has much more meaningful purposeful things for us that we should address before going after the fun ones.
3 Fun Clarifiers
F – Fruit - Fun should be the product (fruit) of hard work. When we go to school our objective should be to master the material and better our skills and increase our knowledge. When going to work our purpose should be to accomplish the objectives of the job that are before us. In each setting we should focus on the tasks to be achieve first. Then, if fun is experienced in the process, great! But it should not be our primary goal.
This week work to direct your attention "beyond the fun" by producing fruit that's worth picking. Keep fun as a reward for your hard work. Then the fun will be worth more.
U – Understanding - Having fun doesn't mean it's the best thing for us to do. We should look to gain and understanding of fun. Ask ourselves: What's the real meaning of this fun event? How will this activity better us? What will tomorrow benefit from our engaging in fun? Understanding what and why we are having fun is key to staying on track to meet our goals. If we do what's fun before what's needed to be done we can miss the opportunity to succeed.
Think about the possible consequences before you engage in having fun. Remember that, trouble will always take you further than you want to go, keep you longer than you want to stay and cost you more than you want to pay. That can be a lot for a moment of fun that gets you in trouble. Gain a good understanding before engaging in fun.
N – Nurture - What we feed the most will be the driving force in our lives. When our objectives are to only have fun, we can find that an unhealthy balance will produce unhealthy living. Just like our physical lives needs a healthy balance between nutritious food and junk food, our moral lives need a balanced between serious focused work and fun party times. We should work to nurture our goals of success. This will help us be health for productive tomorrows.
David Viscott said, “The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The work of life is to develop it. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” As you nurture your purpose don't get it off balanced with too much fun that is unhealthy for your future.
Go work to put fun in its proper place in your life by checking your fruit, gaining an understanding and nurturing your purpose. Today be better than who you were yesterday!
One day I was cleaning out the family car and was reflecting on when it was new - the new car smell and the fresh spotless carpet. I could remember the kids enjoying just sitting in it and wanting to learn about all the new gadgets and buttons. Everything about the car was cool. But, after several months of exposure, the excitement wore down. The new smell became less appealing, the carpet resembled spilled drinks and snacks, and the gadgets seem to be just another button.
In time our new goals will become our old goals. But, because a goal is old doesn't mean it has been accomplished. Success comes from reaching our goals no matter the age. To reach our goals, we must possess some "mental toughness" to resist being worn out. A great writer said it this way, "Mental toughness is when you find fuel in an empty tank." Let's look at 3 key boosters to keep freshness in the tank.
3 Fresh Boosters
1. Set Mind – We must keep before us the purpose of why we desire to accomplish our goals. A clear purpose can keep us fresh during the stale seasons.
Set your mind to fulfill your purpose everyday. If it's a degree, allow that purpose to drive you to study hard. If it's a position on the job, work to fulfill the requirements not the co-workers. Stay fresh with a mind set on achieving your purpose.
2. Open Mind – The challenges of working around obstacles can be like a maze. It sometimes requires us to go back in order to advance forward to our goals. This can be frustrating and tiring. But our minds must be open to the shifts that life brings.
Allow yourself to be open to small steps in a different direction. They are not always apart of failure. Keep this area fresh by reflecting on the larger picture which is the reason for your goals. Associate yourself with like minded people that can push you to see beyond your limits. The freshness of open mindedness can come when you allow yourself to have a teachable mind that always want to know more.
3. Focused Mind – Distractions can wear us out quickly. And one of the strongest distractions is staleness. This comes from grinding day-in and day-out. But to acheive success with our goals we must stay focused through the grind.
Stephen Richards says, "Never allow your mind to wander untamed like a wild animal....Tame your mind with constant focus on your goals and desires." Work to improve each day by focusing on making today better than yesterday. Excellence is never mastered it has to be achieved daily. Focus your mind to acheive your goals with excellence.
Be mentally tough by - setting your mind, opening your mind and focusing your mind. Go boost your life full of purpose, passion, and power!