Words to live by or also known as anchor words. These are the words that act as your guide post, your pillars…
I have several. The first was the phrase “do unto others as you would have them do to you.” I know that when I learned them in my youth, I didn’t know it was a scripture quote.
Through the years, I’ve established different words, phrases or scriptures to help keep me from straying and chasing the shiny objects.
This year, I’ve been busier with taking care of my parents. I’ll admit there are days the feeling of overwhelm raises within me. But, to keep myself from those feellings or from a defeatist attitude I learned a little trick. I put together four words that have played a big part in my writing life, and in my life. I call them my “Pillar Words”.
The first word is focus. I’m not Super Woman, although sometimes I try. So, I’ve realized that I just can’t do everything for all people – offline and online. For me, focus contains two parts.
The first part is my five main core value words. I use these words to help me with some decision-making processes. Sometimes other authors reach out, inviting me to take part in summits, events, or book reviews. My core value words help me with decisions because I’ll ask myself if the task I’m invited to correlates with my core values.
Another way I use focus is the big question – What ONE thing I can focus on this week? Believe me, I have things I want to do – stories I want to write, crafts I want to make. But, while I have my overall list of ‘want to’, I work best now by choosing to focus on one thing for the week. If I finish that thing, then I can move to the next thing. Choosing the ONE thing to focus on that I know will give me a tremendous sigh of relief when it’s completed has helped me not feel so overwhelmed. However don’t get trapped in the do (as I am prone to do.) I’m learning to focus on a feeling as well. Feeling connected, peace, joy, rested – when I choose one of those focus words, God speaks to my heart in ways unexpected.
A friend of mine suggested I do this task both daily and weekly. I used to do it in the corporate world. But since coming home to retirement, I had slacked on this task. It’s called reviewing your day and week.
Where do you need to say “yes” to something or “no” to something in order to create balance in your life? The first time I did this excercise it was hard to put things in the no column. I’m more prone to be a yes person, do all for everyone… Saying no has been freeing in ways I can’t explain. Sometimes it means making an adjustment for a little bit. For instance, November is a big month in the writing world. There’s a challenge to write the draft for novel. However, Most of us can’t sustain writing 3,000 words a day like we do during NaNoWriMo. Those who take part do a lot of planning to get ready for that!
But, goodness, there are some days I can’t even get to the computer to turn it on! However now, I’m okay with that. I know my schedule. I’ve said no to things or invitations, and yes to others (or yes to myself to rest!) It’s so easy for me to coach others in this, but for me to do it for myself. Well. Let’s say I’m getting better.
Are you trying to wear the wrong shoes? Here’s the deal. Everyone’s idea of being productive is different. I judged productivity in a different way when I was in the corporate world. There were deadlines to meet, production to be made. But, most of my days are more lenient. However, I still have to be careful to not fall in the productive trap.
A trap? Yes, the comparison trap. Don’t wear the same “productive” shoes as Mary Lu or Sally Sue. They may wear a different size or may like high heels. Be you. But decide what productive means to YOU. Don’t compare. Some days, for me productive is that I get all the clothes washed and write for 30 minutes that day. Other weeks, maybe I let all the wash slide until one day and spend the entire week working on a class. My biggest hint for you is to give yourself the grace you give others. Remember, you aren’t Super Woman.
Productivity is fluid. It may not be the same each day. But, deciding what IS productive for me gives me a peace.
What does success and fulfillment mean to YOU? Fulfilled is another word whose definition varies per person. So, let me ask you… what makes you feel fulfilled? Truthfully, I used to hate this journal prompt, but now I love it. I’ve learned to embrace my uniqueness. I’m not chasing after thousands of followers and I’m not chasing the Best Seller list. I invite you to journal about it as well. Your thoughts may surprise you.
Well, that’s it!
These four words are important to me. I have them written on a sticky note and taped to my computer. When I get caught up in the comparison game, which I’m prone to do more often than I care to admit, these four words settle me down.
I’ll close with this. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 is a series of scriptures with the overall theme about the balance of life. In them we are taught that there are seasons of life when the focus changes, the balance is maintained by a shift or a pivot.
I invite you to spend some time in prayer and journaling, thinking about focus, balance, productive and fulfilled as they relate to your life, your passions and your heavenly pursuits.