“They say a good love is one that sits you down, gives you a drink of water, and pats you on top of the head. But I say a good love is one that casts you into the wind, sets you ablaze, makes you burn through the skies and ignite the night like a phoenix; the kind that cuts you loose like a wildfire and you can’t stop running simply because you keep on burning everything that you touch! I say that’s a good love; one that burns and flies, and you run with it!” ~C. JoyBell C
I enjoy running, but haven’t given myself the time to make vigorous exercise a priority. It’s been too long since I felt the exhilaration of sweat and momentum.
Velocity hasn’t touched other areas of my life either. Whether it’s been in my business, friendships, or family life, I haven’t been running to win at much of anything. I petered out. During a recent annual physical, my doctor and I agreed that I’ve been suffering from postpartum depression. Surely, that must be true after birthing a 284 pound (The Chance to Choose) baby that lived in utero for a decade.
The acknowledgement of this fact shot me like a sufficient dose of antidepressants, which, thankfully, I don’t need.
What was the perfect prescription?
I had to clarify whether I was willing to run the race to win. The answer came by taking time in four areas:
Conversation. Isolation. Focus. Planning.
This first one is actually the most difficult. Honest conversation is hard work, but in my case, getting words out and listening was the most important first step, and will continue to be because conversation is an ongoing thing. That is part of its definition.
Somewhere along the long journey to uncover my unique path, and help you uncover yours, I was no longer feeling the support and backing from my husband. This is a problem. I’m sure independent feminist types disagree with me on this, but I refuse to run a race The Teacher does not support. I really believe the “one flesh” promise of scripture, so how can I go one direction without part of my body going with me?
Whether you are married or not, who do you consider an integral part of your life? Do you have that person’s blessing to run the race you’re hoping to win?
If you sense hesitation on their end, have you had the hard conversations about your own feelings and listened to theirs?
Turns out, I misread The Teacher’s seeming lack of support. He only saw my joyless efforts and questioned whether I really wanted to stay in this race, and, if so, was I in business for the right reasons? He was able to challenge my priorities, and how I define success. He asked hard questions. He didn’t just pat me on the head. He caused me to question, re-evaluate, and ultimately decide that the race I’ve been in has been a bit off-target, but I still want to run.
Then he said six words that cast me back into the wind: “I don’t want you to quit.”
Conversation helped me get back in the race I really want to win.
Sometimes we have to pause the race for a bit and run away from the noise. I went to the east side of the Cascade Mountain range without internet and t.v. to get true clarity on my race. I know not everyone has this luxury, but we must try to do whatever it takes to get quiet. It’s harder at home, but it can be done.
The reason we run half-hearted races is because we are too distracted. We miss the higher purpose in what we’re trying to accomplish. That’s why clarifying our race is so critical. Unplug–even if you only have a few hours.
Am I in the right race?
Why is this important to me?
Is this important to God?
What does winning look like?
Am I clear about the goal line?
Isolation helped me have a second conversation and hear the True Voice of clarity.
Number three is a bit like number two, but focus is about bringing even more clarity to your race. Its adding the word “by” to “I will” statements we create in goal setting. Let’s say, for example, the race you want to win is an actual running race. It’s not enough to say, “I will run a race.” It’s not even enough to say, “I will run a 5K in Seattle.” Adding the tiny word “by” makes you accountable to something. “I will run a 5K in Seattle, by the end of 2015.”
So what if you end up running the race in March of 2016. Because you set a focused goal, you are more likely to get to the finish line then if you never added “by” to begin with.
Here is how I brought focus to my business…
Because I had isolated time, I was able to clarify this statement for the direction of Chicks with Choices:
“I will build a business that trains and teaches others in quality decision making, by learning how to blend faith with ever day life through seminars, curriculum, podcasts, and books.”
My faithful readers may have noticed a decline in blog posts. I’ve spent considerably less time on social media. This is a decision, because social media and blogging will never propel me toward seminar development, curriculum writing, or integrating podcasts into my website. Sure, those other things are important for continued exposure, but they take maintenance and distract from higher goals.
Focus helped me realize that my daily actions weren’t propelling me toward the goal line.
Note: In life we don’t run just one race. I also determined that my daily actions weren’t fueling other areas of my life, like parenting and marriage. I don’t want to be found guilty of overlooking the most important people in my life in an attempt to win the business race. We can’t do it all! That is why focus will bring critical clarity to the exact races we want to run, while bringing the needed adjustments. I created “I will” and “by” statements for the other important areas of my life.
Implementation and me are not very good friends. I often joke that I like to make “to do” lists and then rebel against the list. It gets a good laugh and maybe I seem hip and carefree in the confession, but I’m actually sick of this part of myself.
Avoidance. Procrastination. Rebellion. They never win anything.
Good planning helps the implementation. It frees the mind. Because I planned it, I know that today I must get this blog written, not craft an entire CoffeeHouse Chats curriculum. I also know that all three of my children will be home for dinner (rare with three teenagers). As someone who works from home, the computer goes off tonight. The office door gets shut.
But here’s a problem I’ve made in the past with planning–going too far. There is no way I can know that I’ll have Wednesday afternoon on June 10th to call contacts about speaking engagements. Something else could become more pressing, but I do know that Wednesdays are the goal for focused attention on that aspect of my business.
The trick with planning and implementation is consistency! Wow–this is true for parenting, marriage, exercise, and so many aspects of life. Consistent action toward a goal will eventually yield results.
Planning helped me move toward successful implementation of specific goals.
Honestly, I can’t believe those 4 clarifying tips came out of my mouth. What I’m working toward is so far from the undisciplined hippy I used to be. That girl stays in the grass twirling her hair. Wildflowers are carefree, but they’re aimless. I’m tired of her.
Ultimately the prize we aim for is becoming all that God calls us to be and fulfilling the purpose for which we were created.
That is irresistible. Run that race. Burn and fly. Win that race…
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.” ~I Corinthians 9:24
Photo Credit: Flickr (Creative Commons)
Kim’s signature closing:
Welcome new readers, and those well loved! My blogs are focused on authentic Christianity and real life decisions. History proves that my readers interact most comfortably through an email exchange, rather than a public comment. You are always welcome to find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I welcome your questions or comments and will do my best to respond in a timely manner.
My deepest desire is for you to know Jesus real. He is not just a positive thought, a model to follow, or a comfortable space to hear love. He is life. Adventure. He can be the very air you breathe with just one decision. I never knew Him until I ended up sitting on a dirty field in India. He met me there, and that gripping tale of redemption is found in my life’s work: The Chance to Choose: Become Who You Were Meant to Be One Choice At a Time. I’d love all my reader’s to know the story. It is there where you’ll understand me, and the One I serve, best. Click on printed/signed copy, or Kindle version (also available on Nook and Apple iBook) to purchase, and if you need more, check out the book trailer below: