Let's Talk

Posts Categorized: The Next Step

What Stories Are You Telling?

What Stories Are You Telling? | Focuswithmarlene.com

In preparing a speech and workshop for a group of writers on memoirs, I thought about how the threads of our past continue to have an influence on everything we do. Those threads are the many stories that make up our lives.

There are many stories that need to be told – stories that only you can tell. While we may live through similar times, everyone experiences those times differently and each of us will have a different interpretation of what occurred.

There will be funny stories and stories that break your heart, but all have an important message to share.

An Interview with Yourself

Several years ago, I did an interview with Stephanie Hill Williams, a Christian radio station host. Before the interview, I was given a set of questions to preview that would be used in our discussion. They included my childhood years, family, career goals and my aspirations as a writer and speaker.

This interview made me pause and think about who I am, what in my upbringing helped me achieve and what things continue to make me struggle. We rarely stop to consider who we are because we are too busy living life.

When facing difficulties, all the negative attributes we have placed on ourselves rush to the front and center of our thinking. We forget all the productive things we have done.

Exploring who we are may seem scary at first.

7 Ways to Turn a Major Setback into an Advantage

When you were little, life was exciting. Those first tentative steps as a toddler soon became an adventure as you ran around exploring your world. Before long, you were enrolled in kindergarten, then grade school, high school and on to college.

Excited about all the possibilities, you set out to conquer the world.

Then life hit. Others got the jobs you wanted. College debts mounted and your first paychecks barely covered the rent. Relationships you thought would last ended with bad feelings and the hope for marriage and family evaporated.

Each time we get knocked down, it becomes harder and harder to get up. The goals and aspirations we had are abandoned.

5 Essentials to Successful Goals

To complete this segment on setting and completing goals, I have listed five important considerations that can help you succeed with your plans.

5 Important Essentials Needed to Make Goals Successful

1. Goals are easy to make – they are not easy to complete.

We have lofty ideals and aspirations that rarely include the reality of how we will complete them.

Review your “what I want” list and eliminate items that are “wishes” which you are unwilling to commit to action.

Add to this list some personal development goals, such as becoming kinder and more understanding, a willingness to listen instead of rushing to judgment or discovering something to be grateful for every day.

What Goals are Right for Me?

Like you, I have made many goals. Some were completed but many others were not.

As I think about the goals I want to make for this upcoming year, I am challenged to ask, what made the difference between success and failure with past goals? Why did I abandon some but not others?

In reflection, I think one of the most important reasons was because I hadn’t been specific enough in defining my goal. To be specific you need to know what you want, why you want it and must be willing to work to achieve it.

So much of what we do is due to a moment’s desire: if I had such and such or could do such and such I would be happy.

Why should we bother with goals if we so seldom complete or accomplish them?

New Beginnings

Every January we start a new year – a new beginning – making goals we think we will keep but seldom do.  I am no exception. As I thought about what I want to accomplish by the end of 2019, I reflected on past times when I had succeeded with my goals. What did I…

Love

“For God so loved the world….”

Love: It seems we use it so casually, almost superficially – sometimes even flippantly. We often demean or reduce it to levels of lustful desire.

God: we exploit Him for our own purposes –throw Him in the trash can when we are no longer interested – group Him together with all the superficial little gods we create to make us feel good.

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only Begotten Son to die for us.”

In this simple statement, God and love come together in a comprehensive understanding. We are told exactly what kind of love God is offering us: one that is solemn and significant enough that it will die for us. People are being killed today in the name of some god. But would a god of hate die for us? I don’t think so.

Hope that Sustains

When I write or speak about picking up the pieces of our lives, I share my own personal life experiences of hope as well as examples from scripture and science.

Throughout the Bible, we read stories of God interacting with His people where faith, hope, and trust are played out. Within science, we know that the thoughts we dwell on will have an impact on us mentally, physically and spiritually.

Hope can change the chemistry in the body.

Hope says there is the possibility of something good happening.  It is not only a belief but a feeling that “something desirable” might happen.   Without hope, we give up or find ourselves repeating the words made popular in a song of the ’60s that said, “Is this all there is”?

Hope encourages 

When we are encouraged, we gain confidence.  Within confidence, we find courage.

Love – Hope – Peace

In reflecting the events of this past year, there were times to celebrate but also times when horrendous acts resulted in the deaths of innocent people.  Too often, the stories of the later were played over and over again in the media, and we would watch trying to understand; to make sense of it all.

What drives people to such extreme measures of killing others and self?  For many, it is the pain of mental illness or drugs along with a continued focus on resentment and hatred that create an ongoing inner turmoil.

In reflection, we have the opportunity to look at ourselves and how we have chosen to live our lives.  Do we reach out to those who are struggling?  Do we care enough to listen and offer compassion? While we can’t solve all problems, we can be an instrument of love, hope, and peace to all we encounter.

Love – Hope – Peace

Giving Thanks

I have so much to be thankful for this year and every year. How often we focus on the not so good instead of all the good things in our lives?  We don’t need to wait for Thanksgiving to be thankful and grateful.  Finding those kernels of blessings and gratitude are essential every day in helping us survive the fast pace, disappointments and huge learning curves.