Archives For focus

Stretching yourself is hard to do but it is the only way to grow. We try to avoid pain and discomfort but the truth is there is only one way to get stronger. I recently went back to my hometown for one of my closest friend’s wedding. I had a great time. I golfed with eleven guys all of which were much better than me. Fine dining with three forks with one above the plate which took me a while to figure out. I knew one person in the wedding party prior to the weekend. My point is, was it uncomfortable? Of course at points I felt left out and like a fish out of water, but I also had a great time. These 4 things will help you push through discomfort so you can grow!

comfort zone 55 Inspiring Quotations That Will Change The Way You Think

1. Everyone is uncomfortable. Do we really fully understand this? We all handle our insecurities differently. Some go, others quit, and some talk non-stop. We are all unique. Stop believing that the person you think has it all together isn’t insecure because they are. We all have something about ourselves that we wish we could change. We wish we could talk less or talk more. Other people are too busy worrying about their own insecurities to even catch yours. Walk in this freedom.

“People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet.”~Saadi

2. Small victories. Start small. Don’t go from zero to sixty. Build up small experience where you can, push through discomfort and get a quick yes. Isn’t it nice when we push through and get a desirable outcome? If you do this enough, your mind will learn that pleasure comes after discomfort. Often this is enough to push through to bigger victories.

“The price of doing the same old thing is far higher than the price of change.” ~ Bill Clinton

3. Practice. This goes with #2. Small victories over time will build and confidence in uncomfortable and new things will be a result. The more I push myself into the uncomfortable, the more my discomfort stops getting a vote. This is only the result of practice. Something else happens. I gain more life experiences and there is less time that I’m feeling awkward. Next time I have three forks I know what to do.

“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.~” Nelson Mandela

4. Eyes on the prize. All of these experiences gained me new relationships and new life skills. Also it reminded me of how other people are uncomfortable around me. It made me think of what made me more confident. Do you want to learn something new, meet new people, meet new business contacts, or share the gospel? All exciting things are also uncomfortable. Keep your eyes on the excitement; the spice of life.

Follow these 4 things to increase your growth! Do not stay where you are comfortable rather branch out to new and exciting things. Break out of the normal routine and change your life one step at a time. A world of opportunity awaits on the other side of discomfort.

What things help you to break through discomfort?


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Are you living your dream or the dream of your parents, coaches, peers, or mentors? It is easy to get pulled on by the people we respect and start living a life that we were not born to live. Sometimes it is a minor twist that years down the line you wake up and you have a life that was not what you wanted. Most people don’t pause long enough to look and see if they are headed in the right direction. These 4 things help me to make sure I’m living the dream God gave me and not what others force on me. 

“If you don’t know what your passion is, realize that one reason for your existence on earth is to find it.” ~Oprah Winfrey

1. Quiet time. At five in the morning I wake up to get time alone. You can read about that here. I spend time alone with my God reading the Bible and journaling. Sitting quietly at His feet. Seeking His plan, not the plan of those around me.

Photo: It really was wonderful!

2. Why do you want to be that? The why in life is the sweet spot. You have to stay in the sweet spot of life. The more I stick in my talents and abilities along with the why behind it, all the more my life is moving in a direction that I’m proud of. It really doesn’t matter what others think as long as I’m staying in that connecting area.

3. Dread going to work. If you continually dread work, you are not living out your dream. Start changing! The average American watches seven hours of television a day. Use some of that time to change careers. If you are having a bad day read this, otherwise change jobs.

4. You chose a career for the money. If you chose your career for the money you are probably running the wrong direction. When you are in your passion and skill money will flow. If you chose a career for the money that will not take you as far as connecting with your passion. Chase your passion first and the money will follow. This order is crucial to fulfillment.

“People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside of them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about, and what you value.” ~Stephen Covey

I think internally we all know whether we are living our dreams or someone else’s. Stop. Life is so much more alive when you chase what you were wired for. I can’t operate in the gifting of my wife as she is full of mercy. She can’t walk in mine which is exhortation. I would be miserable in her environment and she would miserable in mine. Live the dream of your life!

 What keeps you on the path you are suppose to be on?


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When headed toward a dream or goal we will almost always hit a rough patch. In these times it is hard to tell whether that is a light at the end of the tunnel or a train coming to run us over. This can be so scary in the moment. The bigger the dream or goal, it seems the potential train is ginormous and the small light of hope is tiny. These 4 things help me to figure out whether to hang on to hope or jump out of the way of the train.

1. Why were you chasing the dream or goal to begin with? Has anything changed since you started chasing the dream? The last five years have changed dramatically for me. In that time my wife and I have had three kids. Just a little different life now. From two incomes and no kids to just one income and three little ones that take time and money. Don’t get me wrong, they are such a blessing but they changed our world. My goals and aspirations have changed with my life. How about you? What has changed?

“Your dream is not big enough if it does not scare you.” ~Unknown

2. What is the worse that can happen? Chase your dream! Chase your dream with wisdom. I have to go slow with anything new. Life is full and I’m sure it is full for you too. If you are the sole financial provider, probably not a good idea to quit your job and start a business you have never run before. It could go great or it could be an ugly baby. Come on now, who thinks they have an ugly baby? No one, but there are lots of them out there.

3. Are you good at it? I’m not talking about going from zero to pro. But with time, are you developing into being good at the dream? I have never sang professionally before and even with hours of practice it still wouldn’t be pretty. On the other hand, running a business is different. I am better now with nine years of experience, but I was decent out of the gate.

4. Is it too narrow? Sometimes we pick a thing instead of the why behind it. Expand your vision. I love to restore people which is my why in many different areas, however, only one is paid. I am not providing for my family with this. It is just a way to expand my vision to encompass restoration into more of my life. If I said I am going to just write and that’s final, that is a big fat train.

Hopefully this list helped you to think about the light at the end of the tunnel with a fresh view.

What are ways you figure out whether to hold on to hope or jump out of the way?

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Achieve Your Dreams!

zechariahnewman —  June 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

“You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.” These lyrics by John Lennon described my life. Now I’m a recovering dreamer going toward a visionary. It seems as if most of us are dreamers. We go around with grand dreams saying things like, “If I win the lottery” or “if only I get a shot.” The problem is if my shot comes now I’m not ready. We see shows like American Idol and Hells Kitchen thinking how lucky they got picked and now life is great. This is not reality; the reality is it takes work and those people have put in a lot of time and effort before that brief shot. They were ready. These 3 contrasts helped me discover I was a dreamer and set my course towards visionary!

1. Victim thinking Vs. Empowerment. I didn’t even realize I was being a victim. Pretty sad yet the truth. I blamed other circumstances for different things. For example,          (1) when my pay check wasn’t what I wanted, (2) the economy, (3) those employees, (4) competition, (5) industry, (6) family, and (7) God. When we say, “Why God why, when God when?” I believe this is the heart of a victim, at least it was for me. Empowerment is different as it takes personal responsibility. If finances are bad, I’m to blame. If relationships went sideways, what can I do? If God is quite, did I do the last thing that He told me to do? It is completely focused on my part. In relationships, whether it is man or God, it focuses on my part of the partnership.

“Visionary people face the same problems everyone else faces; but rather than get paralyzed by their problems, visionaries immediately commit themselves to finding a solution.” ~Bill Hybels

2. Passive vs. Active. I was passive waiting for my fortune to turn. When you sit passively life happens to you instead of you happening to life. Reading my Bible was about as active as I got. Even waiting on God is supposed to be an active stance. What we really mean when we say this is, “I’m going to sit here and do nothing.” Active is uncomfortable; it is where do I want to be and how do I get there? It requires change in action. Change in thinking. Change in the questions we ask. Visionaries focus on what needs to change to fix the problem.

“Let your actions betray your uncertainties. Be not afraid.” ~Bob Goff

3. Not paying attention to the present vs. Realistic about present. This is what dreamers do. Someday mentality. They may say, “Someday I will have time to workout, fix my finances, eat right, be a good spouse, parent, write a blog.” Someday will never come. Today is never focused on and tomorrow the dreamer will focus on the next day. Visionaries are all about today. Focusing energy and passion into the day while still being focused on the vision yet paying attention to the steps today to create that vision. For the lives of great men and women are made up of many days.

“You have to be brutally realistic about your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future circumstances.” ~Jon Acuff

So if you realize you are a dreamer instead of a visionary the first step has already happened. Your eyes are open! A choice lays before you. Do not let the sun go down without making a decision. Do you keep dreaming? Or do something now and change your today. Do what God has called you to today. Make small choices that affect your individual calling today. Be weird, become a visionary!

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Half awake driving into work mind numb going through the same motions as the day before. Is this not how most of us live? There is no passion rather a begrudging attitude about having to work to pay the bills. The excitement of the new job is gone and everything seems gray. Living for the weekend and evenings, the day is going to creep by. How do we get that passion back like when we first had the job? These 2 things will bring passion back into your work so you don’t feel like you’re on a train track doing the same thing day after day.

1. Recognize the alternative. No job. That’s the alternative; all the weekends you want. Problem is no money, may go hungry, can’t pay the mortgage or keep the lights on. Scared, but lots of free time. Talk about stress! Anything I face at work is better than the lack of work and if it’s that bad, it’s time to find a new job.

“Great minds have purposes, others have wishes.”  ~Washington Irving

2. What are you here for? What did God put you on earth for? For me it is to restore people by giving them significance in their journey. So I view the world through this lens. If I focus on those parts of my job as a Figaro’s Pizza franchise, I love it. How can I play a role in restoration or significance there you may ask? Letting my employees know they are valued. Giving customers food with service. Hearing about their day. Sometimes praying with them. If I focus on what brings me joy and passion I have no more Mondays. If I focus on rolling dough, doing books, and making pizza my job gets stale.

“I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our Attitudes.” ~Charles Swindoll

These are just two quick things that bring passion and drive back to my day. In the end if this doesn’t help, as an employer I would say please find a new job. This is meant as a coconut on the head as we all need that sometimes. Would you pay yourself the wage you are making for the job you are doing? Sometimes my answer is no. If your answer is no all the time you are not going to feel fulfilled, but rather feel like a leach. No one likes to creep by in life. Stand tall, take charge of your attitude and nothing can hold you back. Choose to have passion!

Never Again

zechariahnewman —  May 22, 2013 — 6 Comments

In an uncertain world there is very little that is actually certain. Most things we love to argue about are not certainties rather opinions and stances. The thing that I can guarantee you is that unless Marty Mcfly comes along this will be the only time that 5/22/2013 will happen. We will never again get the opportunity to live this day again. This seems simple and redundant but it’s not. We spend our time so frivolously saying,  “I’m bored,” watching T.V., playing video games, killing time. These 5 things bring value back to this day.

1. Value of time. This is something that cannot be monetized. On our deathbed how much would we give for one more day with our family? One more day doing what brings us true passion. One more day saying, “I just need one more day.” I belive that the day is worth so much more when we are fully aware of our mortality. Live today like it’s your last.

“Lost time is never found again.”~ Benjamin Franklin

2. Time is finite. This goes along with value of time. There are no do-overs. Our time has an end. Some have longer than others, but your time on earth is not infinite. Don’t live as if it is. There are no “time stores” to go pick up more.

“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future. Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”
~ Earl Nightingale

3. Attitude of anticipation. There is no magic bullet here. I’m not saying that you will automatically have good things if you expect them. You do become like a thermostat in your environment. A lot of people walk around doom and gloom thinking, “Today is going to be awful,” and surprise it ends up being bad. Or worse it ends up not being bad and we have fretted for nothing. If you walk around expecting good things and exited for the day people can feel it. You know the person I’m talking about. When he or she is around the whole room lights up. Arms wide open, let’s be this person!

Photo By: K RouzaudPhotography

4. Opportunity to serve others are everywhere.  It is not a world of scarcity but of abundance. Start viewing the world this way if you are not. Someone else’s success does not dictate that you get less. Look for opportunity to praise, encourage, support, and engage with others. This helps me to value all interactions and in turn brings value back to today.

“The time is always right to do what is right.”~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

5. See the big picture. Even remedial tasks if viewed in the right light have meaning. Understand everything we do has value. The big picture of eternity helps bring significance to our journey.

Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

These are some of the ways that I conquer the feeling of killing time. As Michael Hyatt says, “Your life is a gift. Now go make it count!”

What are some things you do to focus on today?

Waves Of Life

zechariahnewman —  May 20, 2013 — 3 Comments

I’m sitting at the beach right now watching the waves come in. Wave after wave. Big and small, listening to the rhythm of the waves. Have you ever fallen down and had the waves pound on you while you try to get your breath? It can be scary and panic can come in. This reminds me of the waves of life. Sometimes the waves crash against us harmlessly and other times the waves come with such a force that it feels like we will die. The way to get through those waves is what surfers call a duck dive. You push the front of your board down, go into and under the wave. It allows you to go under the force of the top of the wave. It is the same way we should face the waves of life. Here are 4 ways to duck dive the waves of life.

Photo By: K RouzaudPhotography

“God never gives strength for tomorrow, or for the next hour, but only for the strain of the minute.”  ~ Oswald Chambers

1. Push into God. When the going gets tough the tough get on their knees. A personal growing relationship with Jesus Christ makes some waves that use to seem huge, small and harmless. He gives us the strength to push through the wave. So press into God and He will sustain you through the pounding wave.
2. Push into Family. When a big wave hits you gather around the ones you love and that love you. Draw close to them. Pray with them, cry with them and laugh with them. A lot of times your family will give you insight. You need people you trust in vulnerable times. You need to feel safe to be open and honest as this will help you get under the wave.
“Accountability breeds response-ability.” ~Stephen R. Covey
3. Push into an Accountability Partner. We all need someone outside of our family. Build a relationship with someone and get to know them. Meet at least weekly. When the wave of strife and trouble arise you may be tempted to hide. That is the last thing you should do. Have someone close enough that you can bear your soul to. That you can admit heartache, failure, or disappointment. Someone that will ask you the hard questions and give difficult answers. Not always fun, but accountability is worth the sacrifice.
“Haters never bother people who are ordinary, but the extraordinary are magnets for rocks. Keep going.” ~ Jon Acuff
4. Push away naysayers. In good times and bad it is important to push away naysayers outside of your iner-circle. We don’t need people pulling us down like an under current; making the pounding waves more ferocious, whispering in your ear that you have failed and are unworthy. I don’t have time to listen to the haters and neither do you.
So let’s take advice from surfers and press our boards down to go under waves, thus reducing the brunt force pressure on us making the waves roll over instead of crash against us. The key to most succesful things is time. Build these into your life now. The more time you put in to these four things, the smaller the waves become. 
What are ways in which you survive and thrive the waves of life?