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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Enlarge your Life

I will always remember instructor Katie Brazelton teaching women this concept. I don't recall if it was through coach training or in her Pathway to Purpose book and life coach training material, but nevertheless, this concept stuck:

Take a step, make a low-cost probe. 

Here is a little meme I just created on this theme:


I've decided, for the most part, to not to chase down opportunities, but to let God bring them to me. How he has done this in many cases is to give me an idea.  When the idea sits right, my low-cost probe is to investigate it further. 

One such idea was to make my mother-in-law an encouragement book. With that decision, I was led to a resource called canva.com where I've enjoyed making photographic memes like the one you see above. I hope my mother-in-law has found the book I made her helpful. Taking that one step has broadened my world so much!

Another idea I had was prompted by a friend. I was challenged to hold a local women's group with complete strangers. I did it! I learned from it. And from that experience came an opportunity to show my art on the walls of the bakery we'd held our group at. That's still to happen. 

This is how one step leads to another. 

I could go on about how opportunities open up, but I won't take up more space. I want to encourage you to take your silly, boring, grand, pretty, masterful ideas and develop them. Make investigations. Take steps. 

Doing so will enlarge your life. 


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

What to do When You Don't Know What to Do Next


Do you ever reach a point where you have so many options you don't know which to choose to work toward or where you feel paralyzed having nothing new to work on?

I have felt this way many times. A few years ago, I had an "aha moment" where I decided I "wondered" too much. I looked up all types of things on the internet wondering if I should head in a this direction or that. There were many things I could do. I could take a course at community college. I could apply for a new job. I could sign up to volunteer.  Get it?

What held me back was a feeling in my gut that told me I'd grow weary of my new thing quickly. So I decided to catch myself when wondering, searching, striving, or digging and only take steps when they were obviously set out and confirmed by God or when they were "low cost."

IDENTIFY YOUR PASSIONS 

I had another "aha moment" while watching a free webinar with Creative Live. The theme was organizing your creative business, but I took the challenges and applied them to life. Ultimately, I used the tools I learned to narrow down my top five passions. I explain the tools in my Kindle book What's Next in Midlife.

When we indulge in too many passions, we can lose focus and become lost. Do you know what your five top passions are? What are the things you know you MUST include in your life to feel balanced and happy? (Clue: I must have outdoor time, I must write.)

IDENTIFY YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES

Also important is to narrow down your top responsibilities. 

Who are you called by God to serve? Who do you need to be there for? Your spouse, children, inlaw, close friend? 

You are called by God to steward all he has given you. That means you are to tend your home, your car, your wardrobe, your garden, and so on. Tending these are assignments from God just a much as paid work is. 

It is key, if you're to have a sense of fulfillment, that you look at your responsibilities as your job not just something you do on the side grudgingly.  No, you won't get a financial reward for cooking or cleaning, but you will get an eternal reward when you tend to your responsibilities to the best of your ability.  

SERVE GOD

Always include God in your day. He expects you to learn his ways, to spend time in relationship with him, to consult him, to pray, to serve others and to shine your light in a way that brings him glory. That's a given. Still, many women need to book in time to do cultivate their spiritual life. 


WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR TIME

So what's all of this got to do with knowing what to do when you don't know what to do? Let me explain:

Once you know your top passions and responsibilities, you will have a short list of what to do with your time and energy.

Example: My passions are gardening and enjoying the outdoors, creating art, exercising, caring for my home and family, and writing and coaching through my writing. With each passion are umpteen mini-goals. I simply shuffle my time to work on each. Often, I'll post my mini-goals on Post-it notes and hang them on a wall where I can see them and shuffle them around. This helps me choose a day's priority. 


My Post-it Note wall of passions and responsibilities. Easy way to set goals.




I glued my Canva pieces into this book for
my Mother-in-law who is in the hospital.
I always leave room for God to expand my territory. Just recently, I was invited to show my art publicly. I also just finished leading a local group of women on goal setting. God has called me to do good deeds for extended family members. I recently wanted to create a motivational quote book that included quotes and Bible verses atop my digitized artwork. As a result, I began learning how to use Canva


A piece I did with Canva using my own digitized artwork.


I'm at my best when God reveals my next new thing gradually and naturally.

CRAVING NEW 

We tire of the same old thing. That's why I suggest you continue to learn and grow in the areas you've already identified. Try a new form of exercise if exercise is important to you. Start a new art blog if art is important to you. Look at Pinterest for new ideas for your home, lawn, and garden. Simply learn, grow, and expand your territory. Experiment. 

Don't grow weary in well-doing, for eventually you shall reap what you sow.