A Little Bit of Focus

One thing I know of leaders is that they are wired to constantly be learning and to relentlessly be evaluating their lives and their leadership.  But as a leader, sometimes it’s easy to get stuck.  Sometimes you are so busy asking the questions of everyone else that you fail to ask yourself the challenging questions that push you to a new level of self-awareness and growth.

It’s easy to go days, weeks and even months without an outside voice asking you the tough questions or challenging you to reflect on your leadership and personal growth.  And because of that I’m always looking for tools and resources to force me to pull back from the daily grind and create some perspective for my life and leadership.

Here’s a series of 8 phrases that I force myself to complete every few months:

  1. Things I want to start but haven’t started…
  2. Things I want to change but haven’t changed…
  3. Things I want to stop but haven’t stopped…
  4. Things I started but haven’t finished…
  5. Things I want to do but haven’t done…
  6. Things I want to say but haven’t said…
  7. Things I want to learn but haven’t learned…
  8. Things I have felt but haven’t expressed…

Each time I complete these lists I come away with renewed perspective on some things that I need to prioritize in my life.  I encourage you to sit down with pen and paper and take 30 minutes to create your eight lists.  You never know what may come into focus.

What tools do you use to refocus your life and leadership?

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  • fullofboys April 21, 2009  

    I love this! I find that even as a mom and now a business woman that I am constantly having to evaluate and think about where I am, where I was and where I am going. This list is fantastic! I think I might use it! Right now I choose a day (or sometimes just a few hours) to get away and not do anything. No cleaning, talking on the phone, shopping…nothing. I find when I quiet myself I realize more about who I am and where I am going then when I am in the daily grind.

  • Mela Kamin April 21, 2009  

    I use something similar, my friend from Intentional Serenity (IamSerene.com) taught me: an intention list. Using positive, present-tense language, you share what you claim for your life in different areas. For example, “I am ending each day in prayer with my husband,” “I am reading the Word daily,” “I am speaking words of love and affirmation to my children,” “I am singing a song I wrote to an audience.” This process helped me clarify what is important for me, at this season of my life. And, the sharing, writing and focusing, really is powerful. With prayerful determination and God’s help, I am achieving what I set out to do. Not only that, the one intention a year ago, to sing a song, turned into 30+ songs and my debut album comes out in a month. I head out to Nashville tomorrow night to finish vocals and attend DOVE awards. God has shown up in amazing ways for me and I hope to show up in a big way for Him through my music ministry. In Christ, ~ Mela Kamin

  • Marla Saunders April 21, 2009  

    Great list, Jenni. I wandered over here today in search of…something…not sure what, to kick me in the rear. I’ve just come through one of those intense seasons of giving out, and have lost sight of some of the core values that make my life and ministry work. I think I’ll take your list and my journal to the back porch tonight and spend some time contemplating. I think perhaps number 8 is the spot God wants me to dwell in.

    Thanks, as always!

    Aren’t you sad we aren’t at Q? I am… oh well. Next year.

  • kc April 21, 2009  

    Great stuff! Thanks!

  • Jenni Catron April 21, 2009  

    @fullofboys – you are so smart to carve out that time for yourself weekly. I’m with you, only when I turn off everything else and have some space and quiet am I able to really reflect and hear God’s voice.

  • Jenni Catron April 21, 2009  

    @Mela – congratulations on seeing this passion of yours come to life. Can’t wait to hear your music!

  • Pete Wilson April 21, 2009  

    Oh Dang. Good stuff.

  • jan owen April 23, 2009  

    Great questions Jenni. I think – for me – I have to ask myself “What have I learned but not implemented? And why?”. That’s alot like your questions. I’m trying to take 24 hours away once a month and hopefully include some of that kind of introspection then as well.

    I’ll be praying for you as Pete is gone. I know your load might be bigger. I miss you friend! We need to get together. I’d love to hear what is going on in your life.