Focus is a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity according to dictionary.com

My pastor preached this message for Watch Night Service on New Year’s. I found this quote by Tony Robbins that states,

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

The part of this quote that stuck out to me is the first part that says, “One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power.” I found this to be exceptionally true for me. I consider my self to be a “goal digger,” and I set goals for all aspects of my life, but it is a struggle accomplishing those goals. I know that success is definitely a journey, but in many areas of my life, I feel like my journey could have been shorter if only I was focused. Some people may say that it wasn’t right because of God’s timing. God gave us free will so that we can make our own decisions. Some of the decisions that we make derail us from God’s plan, so he now has to redirect our steps and it takes us longer than he intended.

So in order to focus you have to know what focus is…

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Are you ready to focus?

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This is the last Motivation Monday post of 2013 and I will keep it short and sweet. Around this time many people are creating their vision boards, writing their new year’s resolutions, or simply planning for 2014. I have yet to start any of that because I still have some unfinished business with 2013. So in order to prepare for 2014 I need to reflect on what took place in 2013. So here is how I set my goals for 2014. What I add to this list is based on my reflections, prayers, and conversations that I’ve had that have been enlightening. These categories are not particularly in any order of importance with the exception of the first four:

  1. Spiritual- my relationship with God as a Believer in Christ
  2. Relational- my relationships with people (family, friends, acquaintances, etc.)
  3. Financial- my relationship with money
  4. Health and Wellness- my relationship with my physical body
  5. Career- my next steps to move forward and my current responsibilities
  6. Educational- “learning begins at birth and ceases at death”- challenging myself intellectually
  7. Blog- my plans for the HGB brand
  8. Community Involvement- giving back to others- developing a spirit of generosity
  9. Character Building- How can I become a better me?
  10. Leisure/Self-Care- Doing things that I enjoy and that make me feel awesome!

So these are the areas of my life that I reflect on when developing goals for the new year and also when developing my vision board. I create a table and list a few bullet points for what I want to do throughout the year pertaining to those areas. Some categories can have somewhere between 3-5 bullet points, others may have one. I just depends on what I want to accomplish. I keep it posted near my night stand and jewelry board so I see it constantly.

How do you prepare for the new year?

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From our family to your we want to wish you a Merry Christmas! Remember Jesus is the reason for the season. Although the gifts are nice this is the time you spend with your family and friends. I am blessed to have such loyal readers and I wish you all the best on this day!

My Pastor often teaches the following principle:

We live life on levels and arrive in stages. Each stage takes us to a new level of relationships, knowledge, understanding, authority and responsibility.

Over the last few weeks he has been reiterating this principle that he has taught us many years ago and I now see how this principle is playing out in my life. One thing that he added a few weeks ago was “Everyone doesn’t arrive at the same level or stage when you do.” This does not imply that you are better than anyone, it simply means that you are moving in a different direction than others. Everyone is not meant to be on the same level or at the same stage in life as their friends, family members, colleagues, etc. Often, people want to stay on the same level as the people they have grown with, but if  God is taking you in a different direction who will you listen to?

mm-levels

For some people it is VERY difficult to change for a number of reasons. I’ve come to realize that most people are afraid of change, not because of the unknown at this new level or stage, but because of the reaction they will get from people who are used to them doing one thing. People equate the word change with the word phony, but it’s one thing to be fake and act like something you are not or are destined to be, than to reject God’s guidance in your life and head in a different direction. This brings me to one of my favorite poems by Robert Frost “The Road Not Taken”

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler,

long I stood And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

 

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

 

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

 

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Take the time to reflect and think about the direction that God is trying to take you. Are you headed down the road that everyone wants you to take or are you headed down the road that God has planned for you? When you realize that God always has your best interest at heart you will understand the new level of relationships, knowledge, understandings, and responsibilities that you now have to undertake. Taking the road less traveled doesn’t mean you forget the experiences, lessons, and people on your previous road. It simply means your interactions just change and you’ll meet new people as you head down your new path. You don’t burn bridges because you are no longer on the same path, you simply take a different course and maybe you’ll meet at the same intersection further down the road.

If you are still doing the same things that you were doing  5 years ago and are wondering why you have seen little growth in many areas of your life then that may be the reason; you’ve been doing the SAME THING. Change is the only constant in life. In order to move to a new level, you have to change and do new things and maybe even do these things with new people.  One of my favorite scriptures is Jeremiah 29:11,

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

There are no coincidences with God. Everything happens for a reason and has it’s purpose, so I ask you (as I have already asked myself this question),

Are you going to let God work his plan and take you to a new level?

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I have a confession to make, I sometimes have a hard time saying NO! It is a really bad problem. The word “No” is one of the most powerful words that you could use. I don’t know what it is about that word, but sometimes it is just hard to say.

A ‘No’ uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble.

-Mahatma Gandhi

I have to look at myself and evaluate where and how I make my decisions. Saying no is difficult because for me because I know I I don’t like being told no lol. I know that is strange, but I need to differentiate my Nos. Saying no is not only in my best interest, but also in the best interest of others. Gandhi captured EXACTLY how I feel and I’m sure many of you can relate.

“No is a complete sentence and so often we forget that.
When we don’t want to do something we can simply smile and say no.
We don’t have to explain ourselves, we can just say “No”.
Early on my journey I found developing the ability to say no expanded my ability to say yes and really mean it.
My early attempts at saying no were often far from graceful but with practice even my no came from a place of love.
Love yourself enough to be able to say yes or no.”
― Susan Gregg

Susan Gregg has given me a new perspective on the use of the word. Although the word sounds harsh, it can be said from a place of love. If you don’t say no, you will have a hard time getting through life. It will take a toll on you mentally, physically, socially, emotionally, spiritually, and even financially. Sometimes the things that people ask are just ridiculous and saying no is pretty easy, but sometimes people will be disappointed because you are unable to help or grant their request.

I realize that you have to get to a place within yourself where you feel content with the word no. Everything does not deserve a yes and we have be comfortable with that. No is not a bad word, it is life saving.