How often have you started out your year strong, with lots of excitement and a vision for the future, only to have completely forgotten about those ideas just a few months later? It doesn’t matter whether you are a CEO of a large company, or you’re a mom who homeschools and volunteers at your church, it can be tough to stay focused on what is truly important to you and to the things that God has called you to do.
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In episode 206, I walk through 6 strategies to stay focused on your visions as a Christian leader. No matter what time of year you’re seeing this, think about how often you fizzle out of good habits you may have set when the New Year rolled around.
There are so many distractions that life throws our way, in addition to the major crises that may come along throughout our year. So I’m sharing with you some of the strategies that I have used in my own life and leadership to stay focused, regardless of what my title, role, or responsibility may be.
6 Strategies to Stay Focused as a Christian Leader:
All of these strategies are ideas, and you may choose to do one of them or all of them – pick what you feel will be most helpful to you at this stage and season of life!
Get clear on your purpose
This is pretty foundational, I believe, as a Christian woman. It’s vital that we know what our bigger purpose is beyond the day to day responsibilities we carry. Holly and I dove into this way back in episode 10 of the podcast.
As Holly and I shared in episode 10, we often overcomplicate this process of finding our purpose, and I believe that we all have a general purpose in God’s kingdom. Phylicia Masonheimer touched on this last week in episode 205 by reminding us of our ultimate purpose – go back and listen to that episode if you missed it!
But we also are all created uniquely and have gifts that we can offer the world that are different from others. So while our ultimate purpose is the same, our specific purpose may look different from woman to woman.
If you are not clear on your specific or unique purpose, then I want to invite you to grab my free guide: 8 Clues to Finding Your Purpose.
Write your mission or purpose statement
Once you know your purpose, I recommend drafting a personal mission or purpose statement. This is a short statement that basically encapsulates what you do, why you do it, and who you serve. It is often used for businesses and churches, but I love having one for my own personal life.
Here is mine:
I am here to shine a light in the darkness, to help others learn of the love of Jesus in a dark and hopeless world. I believe that when we truly understand God’s love and walk in it confidently, we can accomplish more than we ever imagined.
I believe Christians should be creating and influencing culture positively and that we should lead the way in how we love each other and communicate with those around us. I want to inspire other women to love fiercely, to lead with confidence, and to transform culture.
As I review that, I realize that it needs a little updating. But overall, it reflects what I want my life to be about.
Define Your Values
Values are the things that are most important to you in your life. But to be effective, they will be a bit more specific than just: family, faith, friends.
You’ll want to dig a bit deeper into the ways you make decisions and the factors that influence you in how you spend your time.
In episode 199, Sonita Reese defined your values as “who you want to be on the journey”. It’s really about the things that shape you as a person and how you want to show up in your life and leadership.
So, if you haven’t taken the time to define these, then make this a priority.
This might seem obvious, but setting goals can truly help you stay focused in your leadership role. The problem is, we all have a bit of a different approach to setting goals, and what works for me might not work for you.
Regardless of how you feel about them, goals can be a valuable tool for staying focused and a way to help you become the woman and leader you want to be.
Episode 28 discusses the difference between project goals and habit goals.
Big Dream or long term goals are another type of goal, but is one that might be something that is going to take years to accomplish.
No matter the type of goal, research shows that setting goals AND writing them down increases your likelihood of accomplishing them.
Choose a word of the year
Another idea to help you stay focused is to choose a word of the year.
In case this is a new idea for you, the concept is that sometime near the beginning of a year, you might choose a word or a phrase that sums up what you have for a vision for that year. Or a word that you feel God wants you to keep as a focus point for the year.
For me, this word often comes as a result of prayer as well as taking time to reflect on my previous year. Sometimes, it takes me a while to land on my word. Other times, God drops it into my heart in a moment and I know right away that is it.
Create a long-term vision
The last thing I want to share that might help you stay focused is the idea of creating a long-term vision for your life and leadership.
Some people do an exercise where they write their own obituary or eulogy. I don’t know that you have to go that far out, but it is helpful to think about what will matter most to you when you are 80 or 90 years old.
If that feels too hard, then just think about 5 years from now. What do you want your life to look like? How will your leadership be the same or different? What about your family life?
Of course, we know that God is the ultimate author of our future. So when you create this vision, you need to keep your hands open to God and recognize that He may have a different plan for you. If you cling too tightly to the vision, then it’s going to be even harder for you to accept when perhaps God leads you differently.
At the same time, you can ask Him to put HIS vision into your heart as you create this picture of what you’d like the future to look like.
All of these tools are just that – tools. Of course, the main resources that we want to continually rely on as we walk in our leadership are God’s word and the Holy Spirit to guide us each and every day.
But these tools may be helpful for you to stay on track and be focused on the things He has called you to do and the person He is developing you into.
Quotes to Note:
“While our ultimate purpose is the same as Christians, our specific purpose will look different in how we live it out throughout our lives.”
“When you define your values, it will make it so much easier to say ‘yes’ to some things and ‘no’ to others.”
“As a leader, if you want to stay focused on what is most important to you, on what God has called you to do in this season, and on the things that you hope your life will be about, then setting a few goals will help you do this.”
“When we craft a picture of what we want the future to look like, it helps us to make decisions about how to spend our time today.”
Upcoming Mastermind Retreat:
Are you longing to connect with Jesus-loving business women in a beautiful, relaxing setting… all while discovering practical strategies that grow your impact and income?
At the Uplift & Inspire Mastermind Retreat, you will be able to:
- Discover New Strategies – You will learn at least one marketing or business strategy that will move your business forward.
- Mastermind Together – Each attendee will have an opportunity to mastermind and brainstorm with brilliant women to solve a problem or develop a new idea in your business.
- Connect with God – During our time together, you’ll have opportunities to connect with God through dedicated reflection time, nature, prayer, and Biblical encouragement.
Tickets are available now for the retreat, and space is limited! It’s happening March 19-22, 2023 in Gulf Shores, AL. And it will be the only event of its kind that I host this year.
Head to estherlittlefield.com/retreat to get all the details!
Other Episodes Mentioned:
- How to Increase Focus and Decrease Stress with Sonita Reese – Episode 199
- Purpose Series
- Goal Setting Series
- Setting Goals & Making Plans That Bring Peace Instead of Stress – Episode 181
- Sharing the Truth in a Post-Christian Culture – Episode 205
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