Ahh, the last week of 2016. What has this year been like for you? Each year, I’ve picked a word that stands out to me. In 2015, that word was awe. Last year, the focus was letting go of “one day” and experiencing life to the fullest right now in the present moment.
Boy did we ever. This year was a huge one for us. This past year has been one of recognizing seasons in our lives. There is a time to sow, a time to reap, a time to plan, and a time to rest. To be honest, this was a rough year. We came back from Costa Rica last year to complete upheaval at home, as family dynamics shifted due to a divorce in the family. Even though my marriage was strong, that didn’t mean this didn’t jar our little family to the core as well. Divorce doesn’t just separate a couple – it’s impact reaches through the lifetime of relationships that were created within that marriage. Between the shift in relationships, plus super demanding work schedules and juggling three growing children, this year was intense.
We embraced “one day” as much as we could. We worked hard to push through and allow time to heal some of the frustrations we had, but we also made it a point to keep up the Costa Rica fun with the girls. Incorporating mini “stay-cations” to play and be present helped when it got too crazy. And we started plotting out our new adventure – RVing the States with our girls.
This year we are in this full-time. Today marks two months, seventeen days that we have been on the road in our trailer. We’ve traveled to eight states, seeing and experiencing so much. This year I want to settle the chaos of last year. I want to remember not to live in “one day” mentality, and I want to look for “awe” in everything I do.
My added word this year is FOCUS. I want to bring clarity to the chaos. I’ve already decluttered. I’ve emptied the clutter in my home, in my head, and my heart. Now that I’ve cleared it away, what will I focus in on?
I’ve created an acronym to help me stay present in the moment:
N – notice the present moment
A – ask “what is my goal?”
M – make amends
A – allow for feedback
S – stay silent and observe
T – take action
E – explore, respect. listen, connect. learn & love
Pay attention to what is going on around you. Don’t focus on tomorrow or even an hour from now. Let go of the past and all the feelings that may be bundled up in that. Remember, you can experience the emotions of the past, but don’t let them cloud your present so much that you remain looking back. It’s hard to see where you are headed when you are walking backward all the time.
When you talk to someone, ask yourself “What is my goal?” Make sure your focus is on that love and connection. Pointing out flaws, teasing, attacking – what result does that provide? What do you accomplish, and what feelings erupt – both for you and for the recipient?
In my Laughter, Humble Pie & Lots of Sex series, I talk about the importance of humility. Ask forgiveness and don’t hang on to hurt and anger. Be honest with your pain, journal it out, and let it go. Make peace with yourself first and foremost. Then, if you need to mend a broken relationship, do so. If it’s past repair, set boundaries out of love. Be intentional about who you spend your time with, and focus in on the relationships that provide the mutual love and support needed for a healthy connection.
I am guilty of rushing through with my own agenda and not getting feedback on how my actions and focus may affect others. In your own quest for focus, don’t get tunnel vision to the point that you are oblivious to the affects of your actions on others. Get feedback and allow others the opportunity to share their thoughts on how you are doing. Sometimes we are so stuck in our own worlds we are unable to see something that is glaring in the faces of everyone else.
“Think three times, speak only once.” I used to recite this in my head repeatedly, as my mouth would get me into trouble time and time again. Sit back and truly observe what is going on around you. Be still and silent, just watching and experiencing the moment. Observe the actions of others – the body language, tone, and what they are doing. Listen with no agenda for feedback. Quiet everything. Just sit for a moment before you make a move, and recognize that any move you make will create a ripple affect beyond you – so choose your steps wisely.
Now you are ready to do something with that focus. You’ve looked at the goal behind it, observed what is already going on and how it will affect it all. No bitterness, hurt, anger or pain is propelling you, and you are present-mind focused with a clear heart to embrace the next step. Now is time to start moving! Create baby steps to get you where you want to go. Make your focus manageable and look at what your very next action step is. If your focus is to create better relationships, for example, narrow it down to your interaction at breakfast with your children. Be intentional about that one time frame and those specific people sitting at the breakfast table. You don’t need to immediately take on the world. Try acting for just the next five minutes.
Explore, Connect. Listen, Respect. Learn & Love. This is our family vision statement. I’ve been drilling awareness on this website for years now. It’s not just about being aware in this world. We are not simply bystanders who are victims of circumstance. Get out there and explore. Look for new areas of growth, new opportunities, and new ways of thinking. Don’t just live on stand-by or through a screen. Experience life to the fullest, and explore the potential around you.
This coming year I will refine my focus. I know the words that stay as a common theme in my life – connection, passion, love, relationships, learning, growth. But I want to create some intentional focus around business. I have something powerful to offer the world – we all do! How can I harness this with a clear enough focus that I can speak to the people that may need to hear it? I want to refine my niche and serve my audience better.
To do this, I’d love to get to know you more. I have a short little survey here – when you are finished, I have two free printables for you! Please take a minute and answer these quick questions – I want to make sure you are getting all you can from this site!