I began this series by discussing the need to be clear on your mission. With a clear mission, you can catch a vision — something you must do before you can cast it.
In post two, I pivoted to mental resistance — the negative thinking or self-doubt that happens anytime we start a new endeavor. For a leader to be healthy, they have to acknowledge this resistance and battle against it. We cannot do things with and through others if we do not lead ourselves well first. We also cannot lead others if we are unwilling to fight through the resistance and move forward. This is why having a daily declaration is so powerful.
In today’s post, I’m sharing one last practice that has helped me reduce anxiety and increase focus. I know that’s a bold claim, but I am confident that if you practice what I am about to share, you’ll see the same benefits.
First, let’s level set.
Here’s what I know about the people that read this blog. You are people who are extremely active, professionally and personally. You’re go-getters. And you’re the kind of people I respect because you bring your best in whatever you do.
What’s my point?
My point is that you have a lot on your to-do list — and I don’t have to see your list to know that. I know that, like me, you get to juggle hundreds of emails every day, countless invitations to jump on a “quick call,” and kids who are in 93 after-school activities.
Simply stated, you cannot do everything. Most of you already know that, yet I don’t think you can be healthy unless you own that.
I confess that I struggle with owning that! This is why I returned to something I learned some time ago and created a new practice called “Three promises.”
The three promises are promises that I make to myself at the start of every single day. I read these promises out loud to myself immediately after reading my daily declaration.
I see my daily declaration as a pep talk from my brain’s “head coach” that helps reorient my psyche. It shares truth and puts the lies in my head in their place.
The three promises move me from the pep talk to the game plan. It reminds me that no matter what I have to accomplish today, I’ll keep these three things at the forefront of my mind and actions. More than intentions, these are promises that I’m making to myself. Period, bottom line, take it to the bank. This is my “line in the sand” moment.
Here’s the gist of my three promises:
- I promise to focus only on today.
- I promise to focus on spreading the Gospel (the Great Commission).
- I promise to give my best effort in everything I do. This is all I can do. I trust God for outcomes. Let His will be done, not mine.
And here’s why I chose those particular promises:
I constantly struggle with looking both forward and backward. In fact, I would wager that no one up in the middle of the night is thinking about the present; instead, they’re thinking about something in their past or future. My line in the sand moment came when I realized I had no control over either, so I promised to focus on today.
The second promise is the most powerful because it puts into perspective every issue I read, talk, and worry about. It helps me remember that the best thing I can do is share the love I have experienced through Jesus. Loved people should love people. I have work to do on this end, so this promise reorients me to what matters most. Obviously, you have to find what does that for you.
Finally, the third promise came after yet another golf failure. I realized that measuring my score wasn’t the best indicator of my performance — it was just one indicator. Is it the indicator I care about most? Yes. But the effort I gave it is the best indicator because it encompasses everything (body, mind, game plan, etc.). I learned that I could accept a bad score if my effort was solid — and the same goes for results at work.
Am I bringing my best? That is the question.
A Final Promise
In this series, I’ve shared a few of my leadership processes to inspire you to create your own. We do not drift into improvement; we must be clear on our mission, understand where we’re going, prepare for resistance, and develop a framework that will help us stay focused on what matters.
My last promise is for you. I promise that if you put these things into practice, you will find renewed focus and energy to do what you value most.