When you’re bombarded by the stuff of life, getting clear on what’s most important makes focus possible.
You know that feeling you get when you have 18 different things to do and you can’t seem to focus on any of them? For me those things are Traylor Creative, my new business, spiritual direction, this blog, weekly communications for Church of the Ascension, Light of Christ and local Kenosha orthodontist, my test mailing for Blessings by Bookmark, mobile-friendly websites for LOC and Ascension….and I forget the rest. The truth is all of us are bombarded by choices that we have to make every day, some of which are only marginally related to what we do or who we are. So how can we determine what is important, where to put our attention?
Last week I enrolled in Platform University, Michael Hyatt’s online community of people who have something to say and are trying to build a platform from which to say it. The clincher in my enrollment was listening in on a discussion about crafting a “value proposition.” A value proposition is a statement about who you are, who your audience is, what you do for them and the outcome. A light went on in my head: “This is what I need. I need clarity—and that means hard work, and feedback from others!”
Since then I’ve been working on my own value proposition for this blog, but I realized in order to do that, I needed to identify the themes I want to communicate. In the past few days I’ve brainstormed 7 key themes I’m working on in life and addressing in this blog:
Blessing—God is blessing me and he wants me to be a blessing to others. One of the things I love about blessing is that it’s “non-denominational.” “The rain will fall on the good and the bad” (Mt. 5:45). God has blessings for everyone, not just Christians. I can be an agent of God’s blessing to everyone I have contact with.
Connections—Connecting things is about bridge-building, so you can get from one place to another–in this sense, it’s relational (see below). It’s also about putting things you think are unrelated into context so that it makes sense. This is why I am asking the question “How do Traylor Creative, Blessings by Bookmark and my blog fit together?” The smart thing to do would be to work on each on separately. But intuitively, they are all linked together, so I will continue asking the question and making connections until I understand the relationships between them.
Relationships—The people kind. These are the places God is meeting me most right now–in relationships with others. Those relationships are places both of blessing and affirmation with me.
Affirmations—Affirmations can be seen as a form of blessing. It is an identification of a positive trait, characteristic or action meant to strengthen the identity or confidence of the recipient. If that’s a little technical, then just remember the verse “Whatever is true, noble and right, think on these things” (Ph 4:8). We think on the true, noble and right because in doing so, the true, noble and right are built into our persons.
Calling—What God is asking you to do. This is a consistent, on-going charge to you specifically, that reflects your personality, gifts, stage of life and level of maturity.
Vocation—The basic definition of vocation is “how is God’s calling to me showing up in the work that I do?” This is a long-standing question for me because it is a lifetime question. We will always work in some form or fashion, so we should always be asking how to do that work in a way that honors God and reflects his calling to us.
Gratitude—Really, the end result of all of these key themes should be gratitude. It may be a buzzword right now, but that’s for good reason. Think of is as the “feeling” part of thanksgiving. Gratitude does not do its work in us without us feeling it—and we’re good at giving thanks in our minds without waiting for the sense of gratitude. It is from a place of gratitude that we can connect to God and receive his word of affirmation to us in that moment.
Platform University is going to help me get clearer on my goals not only for my businesses, but also for this blog. These 7 themes are going to help me focus my attention on the right things.
These 7 items are in wet cement, though. They’re just a guess at what’s most important for me and this blog. What I’d like to hear is whether you think they’re spot on, or I’m way off base. So, for the first time, I’m doing a reader survey! I want to hear from you: what you love about the blog, what works, and what doesn’t. You can also tell me what other things you’d like to hear about. For my part, I’d like to know who is actually reading this! I suspect it’s mostly women from 30-60, but that’s all I know about you.