The Most Powerful Tool I Use Daily (In Addition to Prayer and Reading the Bible)
Setting goals and making plans is exciting! For many, the mere thought of simply beginning in the moment to transform life is a beautiful dream sure to be realized. Our dream destination may take us to where we’d rather be, feel led to be, or know is the next right place to be. However it calls to us, the dream is compelling enough to get us fired up for the work ahead.
When we’re all in, our dedication to purpose and hard work in achieving established goals is rewarding. Initially, we may not grow weary with the required heavy lifting. The dream promises a bright future and new adventure. It energizes us, because we are 110% sold out on achieving it!
Embarking on a new endeavor or heading in a new life direction can be daunting. We need clarity to determine what we hope to accomplish. What is the result we seek? What is the expected outcome?
We need to be sure of what is be required to assure our success. Developing astrategic, workable plan, with a realistic timeline and system of checkpoints helps to put us on the right course.
But wait… there’s more!
I used to create business plans for clients as a professional consultant. I know the mechanics of building a plan, as well as the pitfalls of carrying it out. There really is much more to planning than all this logical, step-by-step, work-the-system approach. I went through the additional steps with my clients, and they always thanked me for it, because they were ready to walk out of my office and get to work on their new project.
The something more is digging in deeply and really soul-searching about your plans, dreams, hopes and fears before you take the first step toward your goal. I do mean before you begin to work that brand new shiny plan.
You cannot truly be 110% in, if you don’t. If you don’t deeply consider it all, you’re simply sold on the dream itself, not all that comes with it, including the inevitable life changes. It’s the visual aspect of it that is drawing you in, not the reality it brings.
For my clients, I had a formatting that walked them through the steps, bringing them to the other side, so they could contemplate all of this deep stuff on their own. I remember helping one client who wanted to establish a new service business who, after presenting their plan, determined not to proceed (due to perceived risks). Please know I was (still am) in the business of encouragement and supporting viable efforts.
In my personal and business projects, I have found a solution that turns out to be the most powerful tool I use daily, in addition to prayer and reading the Bible. This is not a wild claim — I can prove it! I want to share it with you, but first a story to illustrate how powerful this tool can be…
In November, 2019, I registered for a conference I wanted to attend for years. The founder had personally invited me in 2014. Unfortunately for me, her invitation came after I had already attended 3 conferences that year. I had to turn her down, knowing I wasn’t in a situation to effectively apply what I would learn there. Five years later, I knew it was my time to attend.
I’m very particular about conference-going. Attending conferences for me is entirely purpose-driven. Prior to any conference, I establish goals to achieve while there, and specific outcomes in attending. Before committing to a schedule or track, I plan how to accomplish them within the confines of the event.
At all conferences, I take copious notes and work through what I learn at each afterward, before planning to attend another. In 2014, each conference I attended was on an entirely different subject, so I justified spending the resources. Packing in so much over a few months, made me feel like conference attending was again becoming an unwanted career, after too many years on the road and countless air miles with a heavy convention/meeting schedule coast-to-coast and internationally during my marketing days.
In 2019, the conference website featured a list of 18 keywords on the homepage. This intrigued me, because they represented what the conference was about and what was offered. I wondered how I could use them?
I decided these words would be an excellent source of preparation for the conference. I believed the most effective use of them (for me) was to select one (or two related words) each week, fully considering them and what they meant to me in my endeavors.
My goal was two-fold:
- To be fully prepared as an active participant at the conference.
- To get the most out of the conference, making best use of the time and my resources.
To accomplish these goals, I scheduled the list of keywords over the course of the 17 weeks prior to the conference. I journaled weekly on the selected word(s) of the week:
- I wrote about what the word meant to me.
- I prayed about it for me (and others), as I worked toward getting ready for the gathering.
- I prayed for God’s guidance and direction in it all, and for His blessing.
After journalling and prayer over the chosen word, in preparation for the conference:
- I laid out specific steps needed to take that week.
- I knew planning my work and working that plan, I would be ready.
When the time arrived for our conference I was indeed 110% ready, with all materials I needed in a nice, neat package. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more ready to attend a conference!
Unfortunately for all of us, COVID-19 also arrived and was looming, threatening to shut everything down. Which (as you well know) happened. It was crushing, but I held on to the promise of the conference being rescheduled. Knowing it was my time to attend, I waited.
The conference was rescheduled later in the year. A month prior to the event, I had to cancel, due to the health concerns my family had, with potential risks posed by COVID. I honored their request, but was profoundly heartbroken to not attend.
God’s faithfulness is so great! While I felt very much led to attend that conference, and in the end couldn’t due to circumstances beyond my control, He brought me through to the other side of my broken heartedness of missing-out on what I wanted, and He blessed me with what I most needed.
We don’t see what He sees, nor could ever know all God knows. In fact, we only see such a small part, our walking with Him in faith is the only way to get through. (2 Corinthians 5:7) How humbling to hear Him say to my heart one fine spring day in 2021, “See how I am answering your prayers!” Indeed I did, and I am blessed!
Journalling has been a big part of my life. As you can see keeping a journal — even a short-term special topic or subject journal — serves well in providing clarity and guidance.
Journalling The Word can help us through challenging times. Keeping a journal can help us explore complex issues and make valuable personal discoveries so we can move forward with greater clarity. My 9th book, The Grace Daily Challenge Journal, is designed to help readers and writers explore what the Bible says about grace and finding forgiveness, as they journal The Word.
The Grace Daily Challenge Journal is designed to create a personally-enriching, meaningful journalling experience with:
- 1,020 Bible verses organized according to topic as journalling The Word prompts.
- Chapter introductions set focus through topical discussion related to forgiveness.
- Content is presented to encourage journalling based on personal interest and study preference.
- Journalling tips are included, to make the most of the journalling experience.
MORE About : The Grace Daily Challenge Journal (Paperback and eBook)