Many leaders are fuzzy when it comes to their self-awareness.

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More than we’d like to admit… most of us need greater personal clarity.

Trapped by the many things we can do, have to do, or are expected to do, most have little time to do the few things that we should do. And when our true goals aren’t reached or even attempted, frustration, resentment and confusion set in.

So how do we break out of this cycle?

How do we find the time to do the things that are most important? A simple formula has surfaced down through the years that once again has helped me as I planned out this new year. It has also served (down through the years) to be one others have used to help gain greater focus and an ability to act:

FOCUS = Clarity + Alignment + Courage

CLARITY…. Knowing Where You Have Been.

It’s too easy to make choices on the fly without a reference point — a grounded purpose or set of beliefs, and to apply when making those decisions and choices. What we need is more focus-ed time. Kingdom living and contribution must reside within the values and beliefs, purpose and priorities, vision and direction authored by our King.

BLURRY? Step-back… Gain big-picture perspective. I have a Post-it Note time-line I just pulled out and reviewed again, to help me gain better perspective on where I have been in the past.

Without clarity in direction and a map (Time-line), we can get off course and end up in places we never wanted to go. A typical day can be choked with 50 things to do, many of which have nothing to do with what should be our focus. When your mind and efforts are scattered, nothing gets done well.

ALIGNMENT… Knowing Where God is at Work.

It’s too easy to make choices out of “logic and instinct,” as oppose to first surrendering to revelation that comes as Christ reveals His plans. The hard part for most of us is knowing the difference between what’s important and what just needs to be done; and what are the many things that get in the way of the few things that are most important. That kind of insight and revelation comes only as we surrender to Christ.

BLURRY? Go Deep… Go to the place of Surrender.

Follow the pattern that Christ gave to us in John 5:19.20… the prize of surrender is revelation.

“Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.”

COURAGE… Joining God in His Work.

It’s too easy to make choices that appear courageous but are just bold, ambitious strokes, sometimes even pride driven. Even the shortest of short-term goals don’t happen by accident. You have to purposefully decide to know  and join what God is at work doing, aligning your schedule with His work, and going after the resources you need to get it done.

Example: I know He wants me to focus on writing and finishing some projects. He has given me some clear perspective. I have some big ideas about the future that I want to explore. But my task now is to FOCUS on what He is saying… and join Him… and make time for what He wants.

BLURRY? Step Forward… Go with courage, based on what you know to be true.

Joshua was told four-times to be strong and courageous as he readied to take the people of God into the Promised Land. Why tell the most prepared  leader in the Bible to be “strong and courageous?” Because even when you know what God wants, it still requires you to step into it. Even when you know what’s right, you still must act.

What about all those distractions that often hold us back?

The 3-Day CHALLENGE:  Review the NEXT Three Days!

See if you can find THREE things in these next three days that were distractions from you being able to focus on what is important… and living into your God-given direction.

(1) Identify each of them. List them. (2) Think about a way/strategy on how it looks when you don’t fall into their traps. (3) Then, choose ONE of the detractors, and work to eliminate. Small wins. Do one detractor at a time. When new behavior comes in the first one, go to the next.

Three tools that can help:

Check out the THREE Core Processes from Leader Breakthru… CALLING (Focused Living), CONTRIBUTION (APEX) and CONVERGENCE (Resonance).

© Terry Walling 2014