Glowing From Aglow Retreat

Praise God, I just returned home from a glorious two day retreat given by the Central Coast  Aglow International Organization.   According to information from the organizational webs “Aglow began in 1967 with four women who expressed a desire to meet together as Christians without denominational boundaries.”  The brochure adds that “Aglow International l is a transdenominational organization of Christian women and men with more than 4,00 local group in nearly 170 nations.”

I’ve been familiar with the organization for several years and know them to have some pretty dynamic speakers and teachers of God’s Word.  However, this was my first retreat with the group.  The beautiful thing is that I was home praying one day and told the Lord I really needed to go to a women’s retreat where I could meet some wonderful sisters in the Lord and refresh my soul.  The very next day, I got an email about this retreat; that was a total miracle!  Well, the retreat certainly was a refreshing to my soul and spirit.

The speaker was Julia Reiff, the California State Prayer Coordinator of Aglow International.  Julia is gifted in the areas of teaching preaching, intercession, & counseling and known throughout the Body of Christ for ministering healing and restoration to the broken-hearted.  For three sessions, we were blessed with a deep word from the Lord concerning the healing of the soul in order to allow God’s full purpose for each of us to manifest in the Spirit.  It was a wonderful spirit-filled event held in a location just steps from the beach in Pismo Beach, CA., which added to the peacefulness of the weekend.

If you are not familiar with Aglow International go to their website to learn more.  They even have an Institute of Ministry that provides multiples Bible related courses to enhance your knowledge of God’s word.

 

Use a To-Do List for Time Management

If time management is important to you, use one of the best management tools available; the to-do list.  This is one of  the most frequently used took when it comes to managing time and energy.  The concept is simple: keep a list of all the things you need to do.  But actually using a to-do list in a way that helps you reduce stress and get more  done is actually quite involved.

Have a system to writing your list.  Here are a few techniques you might want to adopt with your to-do list.

1. Create Different Lists for Different Places

What’s the point of having actions you can only perform at home on your to-do list when you’re at work?  Likewise, what’s the point in having things you can only do at the grocery store on your list at work?  Having all your to-dos in one list crowds the list and causes subconscious stress. It also reduces your sense of accomplishment, as you’re always looking at a big list of things you haven’t finished.

Instead, separate your lists. Have a list for home, a list for work, a list for shopping and a list for any other major area of your life.  That way, when you’re at work you’ll only be seeing your work tasks. At home, you’ll see your home tasks.2

2. Remove or Store Any Non-Action Items

Any item that doesn’t involve you taking direct action should be filed away. For example, let’s say you have on your to-do list to plan for that women’s retreat early next year.   However, you won’t know exactly what airline you want to take or hotel to stay in until you get more detailed information.  You’ve already put in your request for time off, so all you need to do now is wait.

There’s really no action for you to perform at this time.  Instead of having this item weigh down your list, just put it in a separate folder. This folder can store all the projects in your life that you aren’t actively working on.  You can have a major list at the front of the folder of all activities where you keep an eye out for the times you need to pull the event out and take action.

3. Things You Can’t Move On Yet

If you’re waiting for someone to get back to you on something, something to arrive before you can move forward or another task that you can’t move on now, put that task in a separate folder. Again, you don’t want to be staring at actions that you can’t do anything about even though you don’t want to forget about these either.

4. Review Your List on a Daily Basis

Spend 10 minutes each morning reviewing your to-do list for the day.  Add or remove anything that should be added or removed.  Look through all of the folders you put aside to see if there have been any changes to any tasks.

These few habits will help you keep your to-do list lean and efficient. You will be able to quickly glance at your list, identify things that need to be done and do them.  At the end of the day, you can look at all the things you’ve checked off and feel a sense of accomplishment.

What’s Your Experience

Have you used this valuable time management tool?  If so, what has been your experience with using a to-do list?  What have been the advantages and disadvantages?  Do you have any tips you can share with us about your to-do list experience? Just comment below to let us know.

Get 32 tips to increase your productivity without increasing your stress.  Click HERE for the audio.

Be Perfect – Is That Possible for the Woman of Faith?

“Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48(NASB). 

As if there wasn’t enough to worry about, I have to be perfect too.  This week was a tough one business wise and personally.  Maybe because of celebrating another birthday for my son which made me realize how time is ticking on for me.  Maybe it’s trying to find the perfect way to revise NACWIB to be more responsive to the needs of the members.  Maybe it’s just being tired from all the traveling I’ve done over the past two weeks. 

Whatever it is I asked the Lord to give me some direction. So He told me through prayer “Be perfect.”  You’d think a busy, trying to be professional Christian woman would get a break.  But God is a God of perfection. Therefore He doesn’t pull punches by giving us a day off from doing the right thing in every aspect of our lives.  And as women of faith we should all be thankful for that.

Here’s the deal.  In striving to revive the National Association of Christian Women in Business (NACWIB) it started to get a bit tough.  What do people really want?  What do I provide to be a real service to the members?  I was tossing and turning at night trying to figure this all out.  Then the problem became obvious.  I had gotten away from the focus I keep telling members to keep; keep the focus on God first and only. 

For some reason trying to go in a new direction with the Association made me feel unsure.  I tried to write posts to encourage you to keep moving forward in your business and I got stuck.  I wanted to tell you not to give up and I felt like a fake.  It felt too hard; I wanted to give up.  The easy thing to do would have been to keep writing as if nothing was wrong, like I had it all together.  Don’t I have to appear like I have it all together and tell the members how easy it is to keep going and never have a bad day?  The easy thing would have been to fake it till I made it.  But there’s a real problem with that when it comes to NACWIB. 

The questions I should have been keeping in the forefront included, what does God want for this organization? How would the Lord be glorified through the messages sent to the mailing list subscribers?  What would He do to benefit the membership at this particular time?  These were the type of questions that would begin the right shift for NACWIB – and for my life.  

I made a commitment long ago to create this Association to serve the Lord and be a blessing to you.  Therefore, I get stopped in my tracks when I’m not open and honest.  Sometimes, I really hate that.  I don’t feel “powerful” or like I’m in control the way I feel I’m supposed to be.  Instead of feeling like a powerful, empowered leader, I start to feel weak. But in that, I finally figure out how to gain real strength. 

In my weakness I remembered to call on the Lord to give me the topics to write about or to know the direction to move in.  I asked Him to show me how to do the work.  As I started pouring out my heart to Him last night He gave me the verse “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:48. 

I don’t know about you but this verse has always given me a double reaction.  First of all, I want to do the right thing before the Lord.  Secondly, I feel I’ll never be able to rise up to the task of being perfect according to what I thought this verse required.  So I tried to shake off the truth that this verse was given to me for this time. 

As you know, when God gives you something it’s going to stick for a long time.  Ignore it long enough and eventually the intensity start to fade a bit.  You might even be able to chase the thought to the back of your mind periodically.  But it will never go away for good.  I learned this a long time ago so I know to start praying about this instead of trying to fight it.  There are times when women of faith are required to face the hard commands if we like it or not and usually especially when we like it or not.  However, this is actually something God makes doable.

The Bible verse “be perfect” means to be complete, to reach a level of maturity in spiritual integrity that lets us exist in the world in a way that is a reflection of God.  God tells us to be set apart so we can be like Him.  Being exactly like God of course is impossible.  To reach the fullness of perfection will never happen as a human being.  Even the most powerful of the Biblical saints had their moments of frailty and outright sin.  Knowing that could actually provide a moment of relief.  But still a woman of faith can assess the grace to escape every temptation to overcome sin (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

Today, finding and accessing that grace is a real task.  More than ever the opportunity to fall off the wagon in the pursuit of perfection is more possible than ever.  Temptations include the normal daily interactions between people, accessibility to social media outlets, negative television programming, excuses to be angry, old problems that are unforgiven,  things that are confusing and lead to wrong choices, and on and on and on.  Doubts creep in, worry stops by to spend the night, sin happens.  You feel stuck, unworthy, like a fake, and get flooded with a lack of confidence. 

But that doesn’t take away the responsibility from Christian business women to be perfect.  Believe me, I wish it did.  Some days I’m just like any other normal business woman.  Sometimes I just want to slack off or forget about pushing forward in making this Association better.  I want to sit back and just hope people find the website, sign up, and become a member without putting in the effort to show them why it’s important or how joining will make their life better.  But that’s falling short of trying to reach a higher level of spiritual integrity as a Christian woman and a woman of spiritual integrity.  

Like every woman of faith my choice needs to be to decide to embrace that demand as a blessing.  I will be perfect.  I will pursue the integrity of doing business not only as something for other people but as a blessing to the Lord.  By making Him the focus of my everyday thoughts and activities I continue to seek being perfect.  I pray that you will be blessed as a result.

Strategies to Develop Self-Motivation

Being motivated to succeed is a key characteristic of any successful business owner.  While motivation in general is important what’s every more important is the primary characteristic of self-motivation.

Motivation in general comes from facing an unmet need.  Often this is seen as coming from some  type of external source.  For instance, a person might be motivated to please a boss, enhance pride or ego, or please  family.

As a business owner, many of those specific external motivators are not present.  Essentially you work and live inside a vacuum.  There’s no boss to keep tabs on you and pride and ego are not at the top of your list.  Family might or might not be there to support you; however, if you’re earning a supplemental income that motivation isn’t always very strong.

The Keys to Self-Motivation

The key to having self-motivation lies in creating goals that you feel excited about and are reasonable and feasible for you to attain.  A large portion of that then means you have to look within yourself to determine what motivates you and gets you excited in your business context.

For instance, are you motivated by money? If so, then you can set sales or profit goals to aim for to reach your monetary goals.  For example, if your monthly sales are $500, then you might create goals and strategies to double that monthly sales number.

Are you motivated by esteem and credibility? If so, then you may want to set goals that help you boost your business credibility.  These could include publishing goals, goals to increase your blog subscribers, comments or your opt-in list subscribers or similar activities.

Are you motivated by helping others? If so, then you might want to consider setting goals for increasing your customer orclient list, adding more value to your prospects and clients, or offering more products and services to serve a broader target audience.

Are you motivated by teamwork? Consider seeking partnerships, mastermind groups or mentors to help you find common purpose and goals and to expand your offerings through collaborations.

Making Motivation Real

When you pinpoint what gives you the self-motivation to move forward in your business along with the types of goals you to set, it’s time to do some creative thinking or brainstorming about how to turn your desires into reality. Follow these tips.

  • Create your goals. Consider both what motivates you and how the goal will help you grow your business.
  • Establish quantifiable measurements so you know when you can claim success. For example, if you’re motivated by money, then select an actual monetary figure to reach in a specific period of time.
  • Break the goal down into achievable steps. Doubling your monthly sales in six months is a large and somewhat vague goal. Instead, determine specifically how you will achieve that goal.  Are you going to release a new product? P artner with someone to offer more value to your customers?  Create a hard-hitting advertising campaign? Create a plan to achieve your goals. Include a timeline for each step of the way.  Don’t forget to include measurements so you know when you’ve achieved desired results.
  • Implement your plan and track your results. You can’t reach a goal if you don’t put it into action. Determine the steps to take to reach the goal and get started making your goal a reality.
  • Once you’ve achieved your goals, celebrate. Take time to relish your accomplishments.  Go to the spa, buy yourself something nice or even take a short vacation. You’ve earned it.

Once you’ve reached your goal and done your celebrating, be sure to evaluate exactly what you did to reach your goal.   Then you know the steps you used to be successful so you can repeat them when doing a similar task or proejct.  Now, take a look at what you want to accomplish next and get started.  There’s no end to what you can accomplish.

Want to Train Your Brain?

Want to increase your brain power? Looking for more creativity? Want to be more productive? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then cognitive training may be exactly what you’re looking for.

Business owners have a lot of hats to wear. You have to be a CEO, a sales person, a CFO, a technical advisor, a writer, and an innovator. All of this requires a lot of brain power. It also requires a lot of time and energy. Your brain, as cognitive theory goes, is like a muscle. The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

What is Cognitive Training?

According to many experts, cognitive training is the process of exercising the brain to make it stronger.  This of how you would lift weights to grow your arm and leg muscles; you can do exercises or “training” to strengthen your brain.

Most often people think of cognitive training when they’re assisting people who are suffering from brain injury or illness. We’re talking about things like traumatic brain injury or dementia. Doctors and therapists can devise specific exercises to help patients increase their brain power.

However, these same concepts can be applied to people without any impairment to strengthen their brain. One of the most powerful ways cognitive training can help is to help you learn how to focus. It’s often used for people with attention-deficit issues. Additionally, cognitive training can help you change your mindset. For example, if you want to become a more positive or confident person, you can use cognitive training to facilitate the process.

How Do You Use Cognitive Training?

There are actually several formal and informal ways you can go about strengthening your brain. Formally, you can find a number of brain training software programs online. They walk you through exercises and puzzles over a period of time. There are even mobile device applications devoted to the concept.

Informally, you can strengthen your brain by participating in a number of activities, including:

  • Ballroom dancing
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Learning a new language
  • Playing chess
  • Rubik’s cube type puzzles
  • Sudoku
  • Learning a new sport, game or activity that requires intense focus

People who have undergone formal brain training activities and programs claim that they experience the following benefits:

  • Clearer thinking
  • Faster thinking
  • Improved memory
  • Increased awareness
  • They’re happier, more joyful
  • Better concentration and focus

All of these are great attributes for life, and certainly for work and productivity. If you’d like to reap these rewards, cognitive training may be exactly what you’re looking for. And if you believe that if you don’t use it you lose it, then it certainly makes sense to exercise your brain.