3.11.2016

3 Reasons You Need a Life Plan

I so appreciate my friend Michael Hyatt and his vision to help people create a Life Plan. It’s something my husband and I did early on in our marriage and I can honestly testify to what a huge difference it made in our family. I’m thankful Michael is guest posting on the blog today to share just how beneficial a Life Plan can be.

I was fried. It started when my boss quit, and I was tapped to fill his position as publisher of Nelson Books, a division of Thomas Nelson.

Pretty cool, right?

The trouble was our division was in the tank — I’m talking dead last in the company. And I was supposed to pull it out of the fire.

I got a plan and went into beast mode. Early mornings. Late nights. Always traveling.

The good news was that within eighteen months my team and I took our division from dead last to first place. We became the most profitable group in the whole company.

But there was bad news too.

Risking Everything

Rescuing the division meant endangering everything else. I had a wife and five daughters at home then. The long hours meant they hardly ever saw me.

My health suffered too. My weight went up as my time exercising went down.

Finally, I landed in the emergency room with a heart attack. Well, I thought I was having a heart attack. It turned out it was the worst case of acid reflux ever. But the scare woke me up to what was going on.

I had a plan for my division. But if I didn’t get one for my life, I was going to lose it all.

A Better Plan

Thankfully, a friend introduced me to an executive coach named Daniel Harkavy. He convinced me I could get a plan for my life.

That was more than fifteen years ago now, and my Life Plan has meant more purpose, satisfaction, and peace than I could have dreamed when I first created it.

In our new book Living Forward, Daniel and I share what a Life Plan is and how to create one for yourself.

Recipe for Sanity

A Life Plan is like a recipe for a balanced, meaningful life.

It’s a short document — eight to fifteen pages is all it takes — that articulates what you want your *whole* life to look like, not just one or two areas.

When we focus on just one or two areas, we inevitably lose sight of the rest. And that can mean disappointed family members, rocky friendships, troubled finances, bad health, and worse.

Here are three things a Life Plan can do for you:

1. **Clarity.** No matter where we are, most of us spend a lot of time in reaction mode. Our spouses, bosses, kids, churches — everybody has requests, demands, and plans for us.

But what do we want for ourselves? A Life Plan clarifies our priorities so we can know where and how to use our yeses and noes.

2. **Direction.** A recipe has a goal in mind. All the ingredients work together for a desired end product. A Life Plan provides direction two different ways:

* Painting the picture of the end product
* Giving you a plan of action

No matter how much disarray you might experience, you’ll always know when to add what and how much so you finish with something desirable.

3. **Motivation.** One thing I know from studying goals is that the more exciting the outcome, the more motivated we are to achieve it.

A Life Plan helps us paint a truly irresistible picture of our relationship with God, family, wellness, work, friendships and finances. It excites us to pursue the best in every area.

And here’s what’s really great – it works for everyone.

You don’t have to be a burned-out business person for a Life Plan to make a major difference in your life and the lives of those closest to you.

I’ve seen it help people at every stage and station: parents, homemakers, professionals, college kids, you name it.

We all have lives brimming with potential. We can make the most of it with a plan, or we can drift to a destination we don’t really desire.

I’ve seen where that goes. Maybe you have too. A Life Plan can give us all the focus, direction, and motivation we need for something far, far better.

livingforward Michael Hyatt is a popular blogger and the coauthor of Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want. Get your copy here!

2.27.2016

Dealing with Deep Grief

Losing someone you love can cut into your heart so viciously it forever redefines who you are and how you think. It’s what I call deep grief.

It strains against everything you’ve ever believed. So much so, you wonder how the promises that seemed so real on those thin Bible pages yesterday could possibly stand up under the weight of this enormous sadness today.

I once stood at the side of a casket too small to accept. Pink roses draped everywhere. And I watched my mom as she lay across the casket refusing to let go. How could she let go? Part of her heart lay within, so quiet and so still.

I stood paralyzed and stunned. Just days ago we were laughing and doing everyday things and assuming that all of our lives stretched before us in spans of many, many years. And then suddenly . . . it all stopped.

If you’re in this hard place of deep grief or know someone who is, I’d love to be the friend who takes you by the hand to walk you through this. You can read more from my post over at (in)courage today by clicking here.

1.28.2016

Lord, protect me from the world’s wonky view of love

I have a sign displayed in my home. It reminds me, redirects me, and protects me from the world’s wonky views of love.

Our love isn’t a romantic movie where I wake up in full makeup in a pristine house and nothing on my to-do list but for my husband and I to take a little canoe ride through a pond filled with swans.

Here’s the thing about love. It’s sometimes complicated. Sometimes blissful.

Some moments are incredible. Others incredibly difficult.

Love breaks us. It makes us. It shakes out all the good and bad.

It’s the most beautifully painful sacred surprise you could ever hope to grow through.

It’s a package deal. It’s a gift that doesn’t always feel like a gift. It’s the thing that makes me less selfish. And gracious, I need to be less selfish.

I want the best version of love. So I need to bring the best version of me to my love, my man, each day.

And choose to make our love a little less complicated.

A little more sweet.

A little more inviting for the best version of him to take my hand and whisper, “Hey babe, we can do this.”

Yes. Love is a choice. One we are still making. And as a visual statement of the vows we exchanged 23 years ago, we keep this simple reminder in a place where we constantly see it.

The “We Still Do” sign and frame are now available in the Proverbs 31 Ministries bookstore along with some of my other favorite marriage resources. Click here to find out more.

And if decorating your home with hints of your love story sounds painful because you’ve been begging God for a sign that He hears your prayers for your marriage, He does. I felt so strongly to share this with you today. He hears and He cares. I’d love to share a free 5-day devotional with you called Praying Boldly for Your Marriage. Sign up here.