Being intentional is all about keeping your focus.
A friend of mine talks about the need to focus more on the road laid out before us in her blog Neeserisms. Check out Stay in Your Own Lane here. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Distractions come in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it is difficult to discern best vs. good, important vs. urgent, delayed vs. instant gratification, what is right vs. what feels good. The best advice I have to keep your focus is:
- Set your priorities early on and when the distractions come, base your decisions on those pre-determined priorities.
- Establish a high standard for the way you think in every area of your life. How do you do that? This is the greatest guidance I’ve ever received:
“Summing it all up… I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned … what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.” (Apostle Paul in his letter to the Phillippians in the New Testament of The Message version of the Bible)
“This is your world. Shape it or somebody else will.” (Gary Lew)
When you make excuses, you deny yourself the opportunity to grow.
Are you being intentional about pursuing your purpose, or are you sitting back waiting for everything to come to you?
Just because you know the direction that God is taking you in your life, doesn’t mean that there isn’t going to be some hard work and decision-making involved. There are going to be many many opportunities come your way. You will not be able to take every single one of them, so you need to position yourself to know which ones you should take advantage of.
One area to be intentional in is building yourself a professional support system. This is different from a personal support system. Professional means that it has to do directly with implementing and maintaining your purpose and its goals with people with SAME/SIMILAR purpose and goals.
For example, here’s what I do in my life:
- Meet regularly with a friend who is a speaker, corporate trainer, and author to specifically to talk about business and ministry. We provide resources to each other, discuss our challenges, help each other set goals, and celebrate our accomplishments.
- Almost every month I drive about two hours north to attend the Northwest Christian Writer’s Association meeting (http://www.nwchristianwriters.org/). Almost always I dread entering the nation’s 10th worst traffic. Almost always I wind up in the wrong lane for the exit I need going back home very late at night. But always I wind up being glad I made the effort to attend. There is something about the atmosphere when you walk into a room where 50+ people are gathered for the same purpose, who share your values, and who go out of their way to encourage one another without any sort of competitive spirit.
- Find the industry leaders in my field and subscribe to their e-mail newsletters, Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, LinkedIn profiles, bookmark their websites, and join on-line discussions.
Even if your purpose is not typically classified as professional, you need to do research and find ways of connecting to similar-minded people. They really are out there. It may take extra effort on your part, but it’s worth it.
Discover your uniqueness; then discipline yourself to develop it.