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The Gift of Being Present

 

Christmas_bauble_black_and_whiteI used to love the Holidays!

I remember when my husband and I first got married, we shopped very carefully and specifically for the decorations we put in our home. I even remember feeling a little sad that our tree was decorated with store-bought ornaments instead of the handmade treasures that hung on my family tree. I looked forward to future Christmases when our future children would hang their treasured gifts made at school and church.

Flash forward MANY years. . .These days, it seems there’s barely time to put the tree up, let alone sit in front of a roaring fire making family memories like those I see in the faded Polaroids of my childhood. It seems I run from one event to the next—a choir concert here, a band concert there. The Advent activities of our church calendar are penciled in between shopping, preparing, and juggling an assortment of activities that flash by in a frenzy, only to collapse in a heap on New Year’s Day wondering where the time went and promising myself, “Next Year. . .”

Have you found yourself feeling the same?

Give yourself the gift of being present for the things that matter most. Don’t just survive the holidays this year! Enjoy them!

Be determined to slow down and not over-extend yourself. Give the gift of time and joyful experiences together. Choose to do the things that truly matter and release the rest.

Yes, there will be concerts and chaos. But this year, release the “should’s” and “have to’s”. In order to be fully present, we must let go of busyness and only do the things that truly matter.

What activities or routines can you release this year so that you too have the gift of presence?

  • Ask your family what their most favorite traditions are, and only include those. You might be surprised at the things they identify as unimportant that you believed were critical to their happiness!
  • Include your family in the activities you have selected to do—shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc. Don’t do it by yourself in an effort to get more done, quicker.
  • Let things go! Create a schedule that is balanced and not overcrowded! Stop living in the margins of your life, and embrace the true blessings of this amazing season and the true gifts of Christ’s abundance through His birth.

Repeat after me: “This year, I promise to be fully present in the allotted 24 hours a day I’ve been given. Being fully present is the gift I’m giving to myself and to those I love. I will spend time with God in gratitude and Thanksgiving for all that He has brought into my life, and, through the overflow of His Holy Spirit, I will choose the true gifts of Love and Time for my family and friends as we make memories together. I choose to give myself permission to do only the things that matter the most—not what we ‘have always done’ or ‘what we should do.’”

My prayer is that you truly experience the joy of the holidays and the true meaning of Christmas in ways you never believed possible.

 

Shannon Marketing photo 2Shannon Spencer is the Founder and CEO of The Savvy Woman Business Network, Executive Coach, Joy Strategist and Marketplace Minister. A life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about shining the light of Christ through all she does, she has a strong background in retail management and specialized in Mental Health and Wellness. Shannon lives in the wine country of Kennewick, Washington with her amazing husband and talented teenagers, where she teaches and empowers Christian Mom-preneurs to fulfill their missions at home and through their work with joy. Kingdom living is her passion. Find out more about Shannon—and her newest program, Cultivating a CEO Mindset for Savvy Mom-preneurs—at www.TheSavvyWoman.org.

 

Lazy vs. Busy

 

10678664_832972266720785_8468406001767063149_nThis morning, I woke up at 6 a.m. and helped my two kids fix breakfast, lunch, and, for one, an after-school snack. Then, I drove them to their separate schools and returned home at 8:15 a.m. to start my own daily routine. As I walked by the TV on my way to shower, the perky-and-perfect morning show host on the TV announced their next segment, “How to Stop Being Lazy and Be More Productive.” For a moment, I was completely stopped in my tracks. As I showered, I thought about the busy day ahead and the clients I work with. This past month has been focused on helping people identify their priorities and create more productivity in their lives. (This is especially important this month as the kids have returned to school, and we Mom-preneurs feel like we should finally be able to “get more done.” Being lazy is definitely not one of our problems.)

I don’t think anyone I know is lazy. I doubt many sitting down to watch that morning show are actually lazy. Overwhelmed, exhausted, over-worked, and under-rested are the descriptors many of my friends and clients would agree they relate to. There is so much on our never ending To-Do lists that they have become I Wish I Could Do It ALL Lists.

Lazy doesn’t seem to be the problem. Busy seems to be the problem. And by busy, I mean busy-work—not the highest priority tasks but all of the little things that make us feel productive. We’re able to check off lots of quick easy tasks that we’ve accomplished, but as fast as we cross them off, we add two or three more. Especially now that school is back in session and we have PTA meetings, Booster club meetings, sports, and music activities, there never seems to be enough time in the day! Social media, with its cute animal videos and connecting with our equally “busy” friends, has taken over where talk shows and soap operas used to offer us solace. But is spending time on our personal devices and watching a little television actually being lazy?

Our society demands we pay attention to all kinds of entertainment through a variety of media devices. We’re told we need to focus on self-care, and we need to save the planet by not using convenient forms of plastic, and we should stop eating processed food and return to making healthy food from scratch, and we need to. . .

I say, stop!

If we want to be more productive, then we need to do what matters the most to us. We need to prioritize and do the things that provide the highest value.

SAVVY TIP: If you find that you routinely avoid doing certain tasks, answer the following questions:

  • Do I know how?
  • Is there no way?
  • Do I have no desire?

As women, we are the controllers of our environments. We are the Helpers and don’t often ask for help for ourselves, but we should! We cannot possibly “do it all.” We weren’t meant to. God is a communal God, and He created us as communal beings. He knit us in our mother’s womb with a variety of gifts, skill, talents, and passions, but not all of them. Research shows we are the most productive and happy when we spend 80% of our time doing things we are good at. In fact, we are the most joy-filled when we are doing the things we excel at! If we don’t know how to do something or we have no vision or desire for it, it keeps getting kicked to the bottom of the list.

  • If we don’t know how, we need to reach out to our support system and learn how.
  • If we don’t see a way to do something, we need to reach out to our support system to identify what we are missing. If we’ve thought about it, then there must be a way to get it done.
  • If we have no desire to do it, then face it, ladies. We will never do it, unless it’s the only thing that will get our kids or our husbands to stop complaining. If this is the case—delegate! Find the person who loves to scrub the bathroom or create the newsletter or do the filing.

We need to prioritize rest and joy so we have the energy to do the things that have the highest impact in our lives. As Christians, we need to prioritize our time with God so He can supply us with the energy and the focus we need.

Instead of continuing to run through our days doing as many things as we possibly can as quickly as we possibly can and avoiding the rest, we need to stop and create a new plan: A plan that gets things done and actually allows us to be “lazy” and not feel guilty about it.

The steps to identifying your priorities include:

  1. Identify your Values—know what’s important to you.
  2. Understand how you’re “wired” (your personality, strengths, and talents)—do those things that honor yourself. Delegate the rest.
  3. Develop your personal vision—know why you do the things you do.

If tasks or requests for your time match your clearly defined priorities, then go ahead and schedule them. If not, delegate them to someone who truly values them as a priority.

If you would like help identifying your genuine priorities and creating an action plan that will allow you to get the important things done and all the rest of the list, too, please contact me! I would love to share with you how working with me to develop your Joy Strategy will change your I Wish I Could Do It ALL List to your DONE list. I love to work with clients one-on-one, but I also have a Mastermind Group starting very soon that will also address these issues.

Shannon Marketing photo 2Shannon Spencer is the Founder and CEO of The Savvy Woman Business Network, Executive Coach, Joy Strategist and Marketplace Minister. A life-long entrepreneur who is passionate about shining the light of Christ through all she does, she has a strong background in retail management and specialized in Mental Health and Wellness. Shannon lives in the wine country of Kennewick, Washington with her amazing husband and talented teenagers, where she teaches and empowers Christian Mom-preneurs to fulfill their missions at home and through their work with joy. Kingdom living is her passion. Find out more about Shannon—and her newest program, Cultivating a CEO Mindset for Savvy Mom-preneurs—at www.TheSavvyWoman.org.

 

Focus On Your Journey

 

JoyceFocusI am an entrepreneur at heart. My journey as a writer and speaker started four years ago. However, this is the year I feel I am finally taking off.

The past four years have been my boot camp. I took classes, joined groups, and watched more webinars than I can count. I’m still striving to learn how to share the calling God placed on my heart.

Now I am ready to fly solo, but I still need a wing man or woman.

Take Baby Steps

In June, I released my first Bible Study, and I have learned so much. My journey is speeding up now, but I have much more to learn. When I look at other writers and speakers much further down the road than me, I erroneously think I need to do everything they are doing to grow my influence. After a few moments of feeling overwhelmed and wondering how I can accomplish all they are doing, I remind myself they did not start their journeys with five published books, a podcast, a YouTube channel, and a monthly program for women to join!

They started just like me: with one book, one blog, and few followers. They worked hard every day to write more and grow their presences online and offline. Now five, ten, and fifteen years down the road, they have book series they have written, podcasts, and thriving followings who want to hear from them. They paid their dues, consistently produced, and worked hard.

Keep Your Focus

I can’t compare my beginning to their middle. I can, however, stay focused on the calling God laid on my heart. Be consistent and continue to grow as a writer, a speaker, and a woman of influence.

Four Ways To Enjoy The Journey and Stay Focused:

  1. Take it a day at a time.
  2. Set 90-day goals every quarter.
  3. Track your progress financially, through social media, and through any other ways you track your business.
  4. Hire a business coach to guide you, encourage you, and cheer you on.

I have made some lofty goals I had to adjust, because they did not work out. As an entrepreneur, keep your focus and adjust what you do each day to align with your focus. Have a plan for each day to take steps towards your goals.

Have goals for the month and the quarter. Write them down!

Recently, I learned the importance of tracking your progress. If you don’t know where you have been and where you are right now, how will you know if you made progress? Set up an Excel sheet or Word document to track your progress each week. This has really helped motivate me and keep me focused.

This is the first year I hired a business coach. It is one of the best decisions I’ve made. It is not easy, but it is worth it to have someone stretch you to do more than you imagined you could. Someone who is further down the road than you can help you navigate the murky waters and map out the best path to take for your business.

Realign Your Priorities

This week has helped me realign my priorities and focus. I made a big decision to drop a program for now. It was putting undue pressure on me and taking me away from my true focus. It was paralyzing me. I had so much to do, I did not know where to start, and I knew I would end up going in circles to nowhere.

Being an entrepreneur is a journey. Each year, you want to get further down the road. Life may throw you some curve balls in the form of illness, divorce, or major financial struggles. The economy can take a nose dive, and you have no control over how people spend their money. Keep pressing on!  God will show you the path to go when you seek Him daily!

JoyceGJoyce Glass is a writer, speaker, and lover of God's word even more than chocolate! Her desire is to encourage you to walk closer to God. Dig deeper in your faith. Pray in earnest daily for God to teach you His ways, and serve Him right where you live and work now. She is the author of  iNeed God - daily downloads for your heart.  A 90 day journey closer to God! You can connect with Joyce online. Connect with Joyce on her blog, Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.