Tag Archives: believe in yourself

7 Steps to Building a Great Business and a Great Life

Where is my life going?I think about my purpose in life with some regularity, but particularly when I’m starting something new. “Am I doing the right thing, going the right direction?” is a question that comes up regularly when I’m on a new path. I think about those questions on my own, ask God to give me guidance and wisdom, and ask other people questions about purpose and direction to get their thoughts.

I was having some of those conversations last week. The question came up “Can you be great in the world if you’re not trying to be, if you’re not focused on trying to do great things?” On the one hand was the valid argument that your thoughts do a huge amount to guide what actually happens in your life, positively or negatively. On the other hand were all the stories of great men and women from a variety of circumstances across time who ended up doing something amazing without trying to BE amazing.

My question became: do I have to visualize being a great teacher and speaker and writer in order to be one, or might I find when my life is over that God used me in amazing ways that I couldn’t have orchestrated on my own anyway?

The answer to both questions – to a degree – is yes. Visualizing the accomplishment of concrete goals often opens up your subconscious to seeing things you hadn’t seen before that will get you to your goal faster with better results. Researchers have found that the brain uses muscle memory as much as any other muscle in the body.

But we all can think of times in our lives when things worked out in a way we didn’t expect and couldn’t have forced to happen by force of our will and actions. Sometimes it’s absolutely divine intervention. Sometimes the unexpected happens because of dozens of tiny actions (driven by your beliefs) over the course of time. If you hadn’t been visualizing your goal, you wouldn’t have noticed the opportunity that led you to the circumstance that suddenly gave way unexpectedly to something amazing.

Nevertheless, in my experience pursuing greatness as a goal will almost never lead you there. Pursuing money seems to be the same. And if that worked for you – great. But I have tried pursuing both and ended up farther away from them than when I started. Who knows? Maybe that’s divine intervention, too, so I won’t get distracted my actual purpose for my life. ๐Ÿ™‚

What I do know is this. I talked to several people in the last week or two about whether you have to believe you’ll have an amazing impact for good on the world, or if just focusing on doing what you believe you should be doing is enough to end up at the same place. In the end last Sunday, I decided I would bring the conversation back to God and ask him to help me figure out how/where to focus.

Bible 1 Peter 5 picThe next morning the Bible app on my phone blinked the verse of the day. This time I felt like opening my actual Bible rather than the app. And I got my answer.

In 1 Peter 5, I had highlighted verses 2-4 and written in the margin, “My writing career! ๐Ÿ™‚ Nov 12, 2010.” In 2012, I’d underlined part of verse 2 and wrote “June 12, 2012” in the margin.

I read and re-read the first eleven verses. With a little bit of thought, and without taking things out of context but trying to apply the intention to my own situation, I saw a prescription for building aย great business there.

1. Serve not because you must but because you are willing.

2. Don’t be greedy for money, but be eager to serve.

3. Listen to those with more life experience.

4. Be humble before God and men, and God will reward you in time.

5. Cast all your anxiety on God to free yourself from that wasted negative energy.

6. Be self-controlled and alert.

7. Understand there will be hard times, but God will give you strength.

I could go into each of those steps in greater detail, showing you how exactly I’m implementing them in my business. But I don’t want this post to be longer than you want to read. ๐Ÿ™‚ And you might get more out of it by thinking about how you can use these steps to build your life and business.

This passage in my Bible now has a new notation in the margin. “Reiterated Aug 3, 15.” I can’t wait to see what great things happen next!

“Hard” Is Not the Same as “Bad” – Remember That!

I just wrote a post for my Routines for Writers blog called “Hard Times.” I mentioned some of the things that have been stressing me out lately and that have kept me from writing much. It’s hard to feel good about yourself as a writer if you’re not actually writing.

But it’s important to remember that “hard” times aren’t the same as “bad” times. Life is cyclical and there are always situations that are more difficult than others. I told John today that I can handle allย of our stressful situations one at a time. It’s having to go through all of them at the same time that drains me of strength and motivation.

One thing I’ve learned over time is that gratitude is bad attitude prevention. This morning, for instance, I was so darned grateful for a good night’s sleep that I woke up happy! The birds sounded beautiful instead of like a too-early alarm. When I’m stressing about how to get from “stop” to “go” on a hill at a traffic light driving a stick shift for the first time in years, I remember how incredibly grateful I am for this car – a gift from amazing friends of ours!

When I stop and thank God for all the needs he’s provided for us, I get a lot more hopeful about the future. We have a great apartment, in a beautiful area, and it was the second cheapest one we found! We have had so many friends loan us cars since we got back in the States, and now we’ve been given a car! When one car broke down, it was the day the movers came so we only had to unpack a little to find clothes and other necessities to make it through! A new co-worker shuttled John to and from work, and I could walk to a grocery store!

Yes, the exclamation points are on purpose. If we don’t keep track of what’s going right in our lives, we risk getting overwhelmed by what is going wrong. Hard isn’t the same as bad. Look at the paragraph above again. Hard times, but nothing bad.

I wish I knew whether this comes through in my writing. It’s important. I’m passionate about seeing the good side of things, of looking for – and finding – the blessings in life. My sister helps handicapped kids find mobility and self-worth. I write “silly romantic novels.” It’s hard not to compare. Sometimes I think if I believed, really believed, I were making as big – though different – a contribution to individual lives and the greater good, I would be so motivated to work hard that I’d be putting out two to three books a year.

It’s not bad to not fully believe in yourself and your work, but it is hard. However, I absolutely, positively believe that God has a perfect design planned out where each of us plays a critical part. Which part are you? A gear, a wheel, a spoke, a washer? I think I’m a bolt, one of many. I help hold things together, bring other parts together, give added strength to a process. I can see it when I’m talking to people, hanging out, emailing. It’s a lot harder to see in your work. I guess that’s where hope and faith come in.

And that’s not a bad thing.