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The Ego and the Spirit

The Ego and the Spirit

Insights on Living, Loving and Letting Go
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Inkspirations for Breast Cancer Survivors

Inkspirations for Breast Cancer Survivors

Coloring Designs to Awaken the Healing Hero Within
edition:Paperback
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If you or someone you love is battling breast cancer, you know each day brings a rainbow of emotions—you may feel fearful or fierce, hopeful or helpless, cautious or courageous.

Whatever you're feeling, no matter your age or your stage, a positive attitude is an infinitely powerful tool for healing. Inkspirations for Breast Cancer Survivors was created by Beverly Vote, a breast cancer survivor, to help you destress, recharge, and renew so that you can awaken your hidden healer within.

Over two decades ago, Beverly Vote was diagnosed with breast cancer at age 38. With a bleak diagnosis and few resources, she felt helpless and overwhelmed. In 2006, she founded Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine to empower and encourage other women like her.

'We are all so unique and one healing size does not fit all,' she explains. 'Coloring is a great healing tool to relax and let our feelings flow without being critical or judgmental about what is being released.' Take time to unwind and release your stress and emotions. Reflect on the healing images and be inspired by the uplifting quotes and affirmations from fellow survivors and thought leaders. With heartfelt illustrations from renowned artist Ann-Margret Hovsepian, Inkspirations for Breast Cancer Survivors offers you a calming, creative, and restorative break.

©2017 HCI Books. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Inkspirations for Breast Cancer Survivors: Coloring Designs to Awaken the Healing Hero WithinBTITLE. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

 

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OMG!

OMG!

How Children See God
edition:Paperback
tagged : inspirational
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Who Is God?
(That's the question I set out to answer, only to discover there are so many answers and even more questions.)

 

God is a spirit.
—Layla, 8; Olivia, 8; Adrian, 3

 

God is a girl.
—Isabella, 4

 

God is the King of the World.
—Kelly, 9

 

God is the creator of earth.
—Saskia, 12; Eli, 12

 

God is the Lord, the Creator.
—Zoe, 10

 

God is the guy who created the world.
—Ari, 8

 

God is the person who created the universe.
—Maddi, 8

 

God is a holy man that makes planets and the world.
—Angel, 6

 

I have no idea. But gods are good guys.
—Daphne, 6

 

God is someone who died a long time ago and he owns heaven and he's very kind to let people go there. 
—Maude Rose, 9

 

God is God!
—James, 8

 

God is my dad.
—Josiah, 7

 

God is someone that listens to me, someone that is always there.
—Katrina, 11

 

God is like a king only better.
—Alex, 7

 

Grandma is God.
—Piper, 5

 

I think God is a big hug that goes all around the world.
—Liam, 5

 

I believe that God is everything. He is our ruler, he is our father, and he is our friend.
—Stephany, 12

 

God is love.
—Xainyia, 7

 

God is a really, really famous spirit.
—Leo, 5

 

He's a man or a woman.
—Kaela, 8¾

 

I think God is a myth. I like myths like unicorns or dragons, and I like him.
—Jonny 7¾

 

God is a grownup. And he absolutely loves people. He doesn't like people that fight. Neither does Santa or Jesus!
—Liam, 5

 

He is a person who looks over us making sure nothing is getting out of hand! However he cannot stop things from happening, but rather he hopes for the best.
—Olivia, 11

 

God is my best friend.
—Joshuah, 11

 

God is like an umbrella that protects people from bad things. Like an insurance company.
—Anonymous

 

©2015 Monica Parker. All rights reserved. Reprinted from OMG! How Children See God. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

 

 

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Getting Waisted

Getting Waisted

A Survival Guide to Being Fat in a Society That Loves Thin
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Raising Huck and Ted

Raising Huck and Ted

A Mother's Guide to Parenting
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Introduction

 

Huck and Ted are brave, resourceful, and fictional boys. They materialized one evening at bedtime when our sons Ted and Marshall were young.

 

'Would you like me to tell you a story?' my husband Steve asked our boys and that's when Huck and Ted were born. Steve chose the names at random but it was understood that Marshall, our younger son, was Huck and Ted was—well, Ted. Night after night Steve drew out the adventure story, weaving aspects of Ted and Marshall's daily life into the fabric of the tale.

 

Huck and Ted faced epic challenges of Steve's making. There were wrongs to be righted and evils to overcome. The two boys joined forces, and relying on courage, humor, and ingenuity they resolved conflict and reestablished harmony.

 

Over the years those make-believe boys, Huck and Ted, have come to life in our sons. Like the bedtime story boys, Ted and Marshall have turned out well. So it may seem odd that I have never told either son that I am proud of him. People have strongly suggested it—nearly insisted on it. 'You must be so proud of those boys,' friends have said over the years. But I don't say that and our sons understand why.

 

I only know how to take pride in something I have worked at and accomplished myself. I have worked hard at being a good parent and a good role model. Well, most of the time. Sometimes I've succeeded: providing opportunities for our boys to learn and grow, holding them to the expectation of being the best Ted and the best Marshall they could be, and even the simple chore of making nutritious meals . . . of these things, I am proud.

 

But when our sons have been complimented on their work ethic or their ability to infuse fun into the workplace, when they have fought their way back from a critical illness, when they have worked without complaint or taken a stand for what they believe, this is what I've told them: 'I am in awe of you. You have earned my deepest admiration and respect. I look to you as an example of how I might live my life. For the choices you make, the responsibility you take for the outcomes, and all the rewards you have reaped, you should feel so proud.'

 

I love being their mom, and I dedicate these stories to them.

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER 1

 

Welcome, Earthlings

 

Being pregnant was not my favorite thing—not because of getting fat, although that wasn't my favorite thing either, given that 'maternity fashion' in those times was a complete oxymoron. I was over-the-moon excited about having a baby; it was just the how of it that creeped me out. I felt drawn into an alien experience that could not have been more bizarre.

 

The good news? You get to have a baby. The even better news? How you get to make the baby. But guess where the microscopic seedling is going to develop and grow? Inside your body! Then, after it has stretched your skin and poked and prodded all the places previously occupied by your own tissue and organs and bones, after it reaches its full width and length and heft—guess where it wants to come out? I'd have been better suited if I'd been a chicken or a robin, loyally content to sit on my offspring until they hatched.

 

I wasn't much of a baby person, either. Definitely, not one of the naturals. I recall sitting in the chair in our hospital room holding our firstborn. He was all wrapped up in a little blue bunny rug. The morning shift of the nursing staff had just come on the floor, and we hadn't met yet; this baby boy had been delivered just before midnight. A pretty young nurse stopped to admire the new addition. 'What's his name?' she asked.

 

There was a painfully long silence until I realized she was talking to me. All I could think as I looked into her lovely, inquisitive face was, How am I supposed to know? I just met him, too. And that's the look I gave her.

 

Realizing she was waiting for an answer, I filed through the options we'd discussed. Sam? No. But we'd come close to choosing that. I looked at the small face. Ted. That's who he was. It seemed suddenly very arbitrary, but apparently this was Ted.

 

It wasn't that I didn't love our babies, because I did. I liked how they both smelled like warm biscuits. Actually, there were lots of things I loved about them; it was only that much of the time I couldn't understand them or what to do with them.

 

My sister, Nancy—now there's a baby person for you—seemed to understand them. 'I don't know what else to do!' I complained to her as Ted wailed in the background.

 

'Put him down for a nap,' she instructed me. 'He's just tired.'

 

'How do you know he's tired?' I demanded.

 

'Because that's a tired-baby cry,' she told me. In about the same tone of voice she'd have used to tell me where eggs come from. Like it was something everybody knew.

 

I looked at her blankly. 'What do you mean a tired cry?' I asked.

 

My sister shrugged. 'Babies have very different cries; there's one for when they're hungry, one for when they're tired, and one for when they have gas pains. They're all distinctive. That is the sound of a tired baby.'

 

I listened intently, training my ear to pick up this nuance. 'Nope, it just sounds like crying to me,' I told her, now certain I was not a natural.

 

But I suspect my sister is right. These newest earthlings arrive with a language all their own. They also come so wonderfully packaged, with all the remaining characteristics of people: little fingernails and tiny whorled ears, exquisitely small insteps, and filaments as eyelashes. I used to sit and stare into their miniature faces as they nursed and wonder, Who are you?

 

At the same time, I was wondering when we could be finished with the whole nursing thing. I'm a great proponent of breast-feeding, and I'm always the first to recommend it as healthy and convenient (unless you'd hoped to ever sleep through the night again) and a beautiful experience (if you ignore the breast pads), but I'd never asked for big boobs, and certainly not ones that leaked.

 

 

 

 

 

©2013. Liz Parson. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Raising Huck and Ted. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

 

 

 

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The Power of Focus Tenth Anniversary Edition

The Power of Focus Tenth Anniversary Edition

How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Confidence and Certainty
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The Power of Focus for College Students

The Power of Focus for College Students

How to Make College the Best Investment of Your Life
edition:Paperback
tagged : success
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Excerpt

 

Focusing Strategy #1

Making College Count
in the 21st Century

A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.B.A.,
or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don't have a J.O.B.

                                                    —Fats Domino

    Let's tell it like it is. You can either go through the motions of college and end up with a degree, or you can maximize your college experience and end up with an abundance of cool career opportunities doing something you will love. The reality is, most students just go through the motions, defaulting into one of three postgraduate scenarios. The following are real-life examples.

Name:  Teresa Martin    School:  University of Texas, Austin

Degree:  Psychology     Debt:  $0

status:  Working at a local sports bar in Austin and still living
at home. Has been working part-time since her junior year, and this evolved into a full-time position after graduation seven months ago. Under pressure from her parents, she is considering going back to school to study law.

frustration:  Although Teresa doesn't mind working at the bar,
it isn't where she pictured herself ending up. Her parents, after paying the big tuition bills at a reputable college, are naturally disappointed. They wish she was applying her degree, pursuing a more attractive career and living independently.

    Constant pressure from her parents is driving Teresa up the wall. She simply doesn't know what career she wants to pursue and is struggling to find a way to apply her degree. She wishes she had put more thought into this and explored her options in greater depth while in college. Applications are due for law school in a few months, but she is paralyzed with indecision.

Name:  Taylor Smith      School:  New York University

Degree:  Finance          Debt:  $67,000

status:  Working as a securities analyst for a large bank in New York. With a serious girlfriend and 18 months in a stable career, he is well-settled into postcollege life.

frustration:  Although successful in the eyes of his friends and family, Taylor has great disdain for the career path he chose. 
    Long hours and routine work are wearing him down, leaving him with little energy for himself and his girlfriend. He now realizes that the image of the finance field he carried through school was candy-coated by the high salary and prestige.

    Taylor wishes he had pursued something he was truly interested in and excited about—sports broadcasting perhaps, or journalism. With growing expenses and a seemingly inescapable debt load, Taylor feels stuck. He would love nothing more than to be able to go back to college and do it all over again.

Name:  Steven Lee        School:  Colorado State University

Degree:  Comp. Sci.     Debt:  $31,000

status:  Finished school eight and a half months ago and is still unemployed. Sent out more than 120 resumes, yielding only two interviews with no callbacks. Now spends the majority of his days playing computer games. Has basically given up on the job search, having recovered from the shock of realizing there was no corner office waiting for him upon graduation.

frustration:  He knows he has the skills to excel in a variety of information technology jobs and is deeply frustrated about not being able to get his foot in the door. He blames the economy, but knows there is more to the equation. As the weeks drift by with no job in sight, his self-confidence and self-worth continue to plummet. The only thing getting better is his computer game scores.

    What's wrong with these pictures? Why didn't those thousands of tuition dollars propel Teresa, Taylor and Steven into more fulfilling futures? Sadly, Teresa, Taylor and Steven are only three of the millions of college graduates who each year fit similar profiles. A great many of us drift through college hoping that life will work out later, hoping that the degree we earn will be a ticket to a successful and fulfilling future. In the last century this approach may have worked. Now, however, things are much different. In this first focusing strategy you will learn a new approach to college. Adopting this new approach is an essential step in making college the rewarding investment it should be. By putting these concepts into action, you will begin discovering what career you really want to pursue and start developing experience that will make you invaluable to employers. Best of all, college will become less stressful and a lot more fun. But first we owe you an explanation on why this new approach is so badly needed.

 

The Information

age

    The Information Age has taken the world by storm. The black-and-white televisions, typewriters and snail mail that our parents grew up with have been replaced by plasma TVs, cell phones and the Internet. Think for a minute—what would this week be like if you didn't have a cell phone or an Internet connection? Weird, isn't it?

    The Information Age has changed the way the world operates. Global borders have become almost invisible, competition has soared both locally and internationally, the pace of life has picked up speed, and keeping up with technology has become as hopeless as chasing a Ferrari Testarosa in a Ford Tempo. Buying purses to match shoes has evolved to include matching cell phone face plates and top-40 ring tones. Also, kids in Malaysia now bob their heads to Jay-Z and buy chromed-out rims for their mopeds.

Let's take a look at what else has changed since the disco days of the '70s:

 

•    In the '70s there were less than 800,000 college
 graduates per year; today this number has more than
 tripled to 2.4 million.

•    In the '70s the average 38-year-old had changed jobs 4
         times; today the average number of jobs is up to 10!

•    Since the '70s, more than 1,000 new colleges have
         sprouted up across the country.

•    Since the '70s, the number of 26-year-olds living with
         their parents has almost doubled.

    In this age of information we have more of everything—400 channels on the TV, 10 different flavors of Coke, more life opportunities, more available jobs and more job shopping.
The times of stability and predictability that our grey-haired parents lived through have morphed into a fast-paced flurry of information and innovation.

 

    This new era is different in another significant way. Distinc-tions alone are not enough. The value you offer a company is less and less dependent on what degree you have and what college you attend. Companies want people who can think outside the box, identify their own strengths and weaknesses, work well in teams, adapt to change, and communicate effec-tively . . . and that's just the start. Aspiring artists and ambitious entrepreneurs also need these skills to succeed and survive in this new world.

What Employers Want:

Getting Hired in the Information Age

'It's not the pedigree—the school, degree or GPA—that is important. It's what the person brings to the table. Internship experience, extracurricular activities and sheer enthusiasm for
the job are what I consider the most important.'

Judith Harrison, Senior Vice President of Human Resources,
  Ruder Finn Worldwide

'Employers want focused individuals who know what they want and who can clearly state goals in field-focused terms.'

Burt Nadler, College Career Services Professional, author of
  The Everything Resume Book and The Everything Cover Letter Book

'The students who impress us the most are those who have shown real passion and delivery in some field of their life. They may have led a team on the sports field, changed lives through a community project or increased sales in a part-time job. The actual activity is less important than the energy and enthusiasm they put into it.'

Linda Emery, Head of Recruitment, Unilever UK

    This new era has not only changed the needs and desires of companies, it has changed the needs and desires of individ-uals as well. People want more because they see that more is possible. Opportunities and knowledge are no longer dependent on social status, family name or material wealth. Today, people want more out of life than a safe and secure job. On average, people will change jobs 10 times to seek work that is more fulfilling. The pursuit of wealth, quality of life and Louis Vuitton accessories is widespread and achievable by anyone with a strong enough drive.

 

The World Has

changed

    Life was much different in the Great Depression of the 1930s—workers were laid off in droves, businesses closed their doors, and those who could find work were few and far between. Jobs were almost impossible to come by and so were cheesy accident lawyers. Job security was a rare luxury. Basic survival was the focus.  But after the Depression and World War II the economy took flight, creating an explosion of jobs and a phenomenon known as the Baby Boom. The workforce demanded more skilled labor, and as a result more colleges were built to train people to become everything from doctors and lawyers to engineers and accountants.

    As the hippies and peace signs of the 1960s turned into the disco jockeys and afros of the '70s, college enrollment continued to soar. In the decade between 1970 and 1980, college enroll-ment shot up 31 percent. By the year 2000, over three million more students were enrolled in North American colleges than there were in 1980. The prestige of a college degree was being diluted by the day.

The times, they are a changin'.

                                                                 —Bob Dylan

    The education system has not changed. Once upon a time, college was a means to an end. The system worked like a well- oiled machine, where the world needed workers trained in specific skills and colleges were the places that trained students to fill this need. For the most part, baby boomers were more than happy to accept the jobs for which their college education had prepared them. Most stayed in these jobs for the majority of their working lives. The world has since changed—people want more and employers want more—but the education system has stayed pretty much the same. The gap between the demands of the world and the offerings of the education system continues to widen.

The most dangerous way to approach collegeis with the idea that all you need to do ispay your dues and get your degree.

                                                                 —Patrick Combs

    Few colleges have programs and courses that help students determine what field of study best fits their talents. Nor do they teach them the life skills needed to excel in this competitive environment or encourage them to pursue their dreams in this new age of opportunity. A dangerous scenario has been created. Students who approach college with the same mentality as their parents or grandparents are preparing themselves for a world that no longer exists—leaving them unable to capture the plentiful opportunities available.

 

 College Success in the

Information Age

    The good news is that college can still be an incredible investment—arguably the best investment of your life. How-ever, to make college a good investment in the Information Age, one change is critical—a change in mindset. You can have one of two mindsets toward college: a degree-focused mindset or an experience-focused mindset.

The Degree-focused Mindset

    This is the traditional way of thinking, passed down through generations. This mindset is founded on the belief that degree qualifications are the ticket to a promising career
and a bright future.

How to recognize a Degree-focused Mindset:

Say Things Like . . .

'Getting involved in school activities and clubs is a waste of time.'

'I hear that Art 202 is a guaranteed A!'

'I'm studying to be an accountant because there are a lot of accounting
jobs available.'

'I just want to be finished with school . . .'

Are Known To . . .

Compete with their class-mates and constantly dispute their grades.

Take two majors to increase the prestige of their degree.

Take additional courses or study in the summer so they can get their degree sooner.

Do the minimum required courses so they can finish as fast as possible.

Most students start college with a degree-focused mindset. If this is the mindset you currently have, don't sweat it. It isn't your fault.

    This mindset has been passed down from your parents' generation because it was the mindset in their time. Some students have a change of mindset during college, but many never make the transition at all.

Three Misconceptions of the Degree-focused Mindset:

Selecting Your Major is a Priority

    About 75 percent of students will change their major at least once during college and, according to career expert David Swanson, 75 percent of jobs are filled by people without the proper degree qualifications. That means only 25 percent of people actually work in the field they studied in college. Don't sweat your major.

Your Grades are What Matter Most

    Yes, grades are important. You need to meet minimum levels so they don't kick you out, and if you choose to go to graduate school you may need a certain average to get in. Cassandra McCarthy, a highest GPA award winner from Edinboro University says, 'As exciting as it was, my award for the highest GPA has done little for me. What continues to bring the most opportunities my way are the extracurricular activities I was involved in, the people I met and the real-world experience I gained.'

    A survey conducted by Stanford University in 2003 found that GPA was ranked 11th on a top-20 list of what employers look for when hiring. The top three were communication skills, integrity and interpersonal skills.

Finishing Faster is Better

    College is the best place to make mistakes. Use your college days to determine what career you want to pursue. You can get qualified people to help you without being invoiced for their time. You can also participate in internship programs, international exchanges and a variety of events that will help you discover an ideal career. You can build connections and experience that will help get your foot in the door. When you rush to finish in four years, you limit the number of experiences you can have. However, be warned—when you start receiving more invitations to weddings than keg parties, it's time to move on.

The Experience-focused Mindset

    The experience-focused mindset didn't exist a few decades ago—it didn't need to. Students with this mindset anticipate that the experience they gain in college will contribute most to accelerating their careers. By experience we mean much more than work experience—we are referring to the college experience as a whole.

    Experience-focused students want more than an 81/2-by-11- inch piece of paper in a fancy gold frame—they want to determine their interests, improve their skill set, build a network of valuable contacts, create opportunities for them-selves after graduation and have fun at the same time. They look at college as a window of opportunity. To them, college is not a means to an end; it's a journey of discovery and dev-elopment. They don't rely on their degree alone to showcase their credibility. Instead, they differentiate themselves from the pack through the experiences they seek out, and through the knowledge and skills they learn along the way.

How to Recognize the Experience-focused Mindset

Say Things Like . . .

'I'm running for a VP position on the student government.'

'I hear you can learn a lot in Public Speaking 101!'

'I chose to major in architectural design because I have always been interested in it.'

'I don't mind taking an extra year to finish.'

'I only get one shot at college. I better make the most of it.'

Are Known To . . .

Volunteer for several events, clubs and activities.

Have multiple groups of friends and contacts.

Take fewer classes to free up time for extracurricular activities.

Change majors, spend a year working and/or studying abroad.

Seek out internships to develop new skills and clarity on career interests.

Andrew:

    The university I attended had one of the most innovative programs in the nation. It had won several awards for excellence and had received rave reviews from student participants. The course prided itself on putting theory into practice—using case studies and community projects as teaching tools, rather than overbearing text books and boring professors. It came time to make a decision. Do I participate in this highly regarded, award-winning program and enhance my experience or do I double-major and increase the prestige of my degree? At the time, I was inebriated by the degree-focused mindset—taking more classes than I could handle and guarding my GPA from any courses that could be a threat.

    The grades and the degree won me over. I pansied out. I was more concerned about what my degree would say on it than what I was learning in the process. By the end of the year my poor decision was painfully obvious. More than half of the students in this innovative program were selected to compete in the country's most prestigious case competition.

    To make a long story short, they ended up dominating the competition. They were flown across the country on an all-expenses-paid trip, featured in magazines, news-papers and on TV, and after it was over they had numerous employment opportunities. Do you think I had regrets? You better believe it! It was the second-worst decision I had ever made in college (second to a not-so-inconspicuous attempt to relocate a vending machine to my dorm room).

 

 Maximizing Your Return

    On Investment
 

    Investing in college is much like investing in the stock market. Your investment approach depends on market con-ditions and your desired rate of return. Market conditions
of the Industrial Age favored workers who were trained in specific skills—the return on investment students desired was a safe and secure job. The degree-focused mindset was the investment approach that best met these market conditions.

    But what are market conditions like today? An interesting phenomenon is taking the world by storm . . .

College Investors be Warned

A new demographic has surfaced that is continuing
to grow in greater numbers every year—not only in
North America, but across the world.

This demographic has caught the eye of the media
and been assigned interesting labels:

    The victims who wear these labels are the struggling college grads whose college education didn't pave the way into prom-ising futures, as they had hoped. Twentysomethings Inc. found that 64 percent of college grads move back in with their parents —a percentage that has nearly doubled since the 1970s and is continuing to rise each year.

Parents feeling squeezed by rising tuition fees are growing frustrated with their children's struggle to become self-sufficient after graduation. They don't understand why a college degree isn't leading to good opportunities, like it did back in their day.

Graduates are also frustrated. Their expectations of life after graduation are being crushed by not landing a job or not knowing what they want to do. The longer they live at home, unemployed or working at meaningless jobs, the more their confidence and motivation erodes, thus compounding the problem.

    College investors everywhere are frustrated with the market conditions and the new phenomenon that is taking place.

    Interestingly, in the midst of the current volatile market, some students are managing to make college an amazing invest- ment. They clarify what career they want to pursue, develop the real-world skills employers want, are recognized for their involvement, meet tons of interesting people and thoroughly enjoy college life. These students have discovered the invest-ment approach that works best today. What investment approach are they using? You guessed it—the experience-focused mindset. This mindset allows you to discover the real-life skills you can combine with your academic learning so you can walk out of college into a career full of opportunities . . . and avoid having to move back in with your parents. Students who adopt an experience-focused mindset are the most savvy investors. Not surprisingly, they are earning the greatest returns.

    According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average cost of an undergraduate college educa-tion is just shy of $60,000. How you approach this investment is your choice. If you want to become a savvy investor, we recommend you read the next section carefully. You will learn what only a small percentage of successful students know—how to use the experience-focused mindset to make college the best investment of your life!

 

 The Experience-focused
Formula
Those who approach college with an experience-focused mindset will see a playground of  opportunities before them. From internship programs and international exchanges to extracurricular activities and innovative degree programs—college offers a variety of fun and invaluable opportunities. You can discover what careers interest you most, build life-long friendships and gain experience that will guide you along the path to success.

Andrew:
 

    It wasn't until halfway through my sophomore year that I had my first glimpse of an experience-focused mindset. 
    I attended a five-day student business conference in the Rocky Mountains of Jasper, Alberta. At the conference I met a different breed of student—a breed I hadn't seen before. They had a different outlook on college and did more than just study (which at the time was my compulsion). They ran student clubs, organized student events, attended conferences and had a good understanding of what they wanted to do upon graduation—not to mention they were having the time of their lives!

    What also intrigued me was the fan club of corporate recruiters present at this conference. They paid a lot of attention to these proactive students. By the end of the conference my mindset toward college had done a complete 180. I realized that college had more to offer than boring books and long lectures, and that it was involvement in these events that impressed companies. These students were learning real-world skills. The day after I returned from the conference I applied for an executive position with a club on campus. By the time
I graduated I was club president, had started a variety of new events, programs and clubs, attended more than 15 student conferences nationwide, and had been recruited by over half a dozen companies. This simple change in mindset literally changed my life.

    Ready to learn the magic formula? Here we go . . . . The experience-focused formula contains the following key components:

 

International Exchanges + Internships and
Co-op Programs + Extracurricular Activities + 
Innovative Courses and Programs =

The Experience-focused Formula

1. International Exchanges

    Getting sick of your campus scenery? Thinking it's time you made a trip to a beautiful tropical beach with mesmerizing white sand and crystal clear water? Imagine you could get course credit for doing such a thing… you can! Believe it or not, every college student is capable of doing an international exchange to des-tinations as far north as the Canadian Rockies or as far south as the Australian Outback. It's a pretty cool setup—you fill a seat at a college overseas and in exchange an international student fills your seat at your home college. In addition to studying abroad, programs exist that allow you to work abroad in an international setting. You might be thinking: 'My GPA isn't high enough to
be eligible for these,' or 'My faculty doesn't offer these types of programs.' Even if your college doesn't offer an exchange program or has a long list of bureaucratic criteria that could prevent you from being eligible, you can still go!

    Treasure #1, your first free gift, awaits you at The Focus Zone. Go to www.focusedstudent.com to receive 'Exchange Your Life—eight ways to study or work anywhere in the world.'

Andrew:

    With my new experience-focused mindset I became an eager beaver, looking to take advantage of every inter-esting experience my university offered. I decided to go on the 'five-year program' and extend my studies to allow enough time for an exchange program . . . or two . . . or three. A year and a half later I had gone on three different international exchanges, visited more than 12 countries and could mimic the airline safety instructions.

    My experiences abroad were nothing short of AMAZING—the most enriching experiences of my life. Words cannot describe how much I learned, not only about other cultures but about myself as well. Exploring tropical islands and shopping in exotic markets wasn't too shabby either.

Many benefits come with studying abroad:

 

•    You gain real-life experiences that can't be learned from  
 a textbook, no matter how overpriced or overweight.

•    You demonstrate to employers that you have experience
         adjusting to unfamiliar circumstances and handling
         unpredictable problems—traits needed in this new era
         of rapid change.

•   You'll meet new friends from across the globe—it's always
         nice to have a place to stay when the travel bug hits you.

•   You'll acquire interesting stories and memories to last
         a lifetime—yup, expect to be sharing travel tales
         with your kids.

2. Internships and Co-op Programs

    According to a study done by Northwestern University, these two exciting opportunities—internships and co-op programs—have a 64 percent chance of landing you a full-time job. So what are they exactly? Internships are short-term jobs that are unpaid and offer you experience in an industry of interest. You can find internship opportunities through school programs, or by contacting companies directly or searching online. Co-op jobs also offer real-world work experience but are usually longer term, paid and offer course credit. To gain access to co-op opportunities look for a co-op programs office on  your campus.

LUC:

    When it was time to apply for college, my strategy was to look through magazines and Ivy-league listings for the most reputable schools. I figured that the better the school, the more valuable my degree, and the more plentiful the job opportunities would be. A few weeks before I started my college application blitz, I was at my aunt's house for dinner and met Todd, a well-dressed guy in his late twenties who had an attractive girlfriend and drove a flashy sports car. I instantly admired the guy, or should I say I admired his lifestyle. Over the course of the evening Todd recommended that I go to a school with a great co-op program—not surprisingly, he highly recommended the university he had attended. He ranted and raved about how important work experience was,and not the degree.

    A few weeks later when I started the application process to all the high-profile schools, I added co-op programs to my list of criteria (now I had two). A few months later, to my delight, I received acceptance from all the reputable schools I had applied to, but I was most excited when I got accepted into the school with the best co-op program in the nation—the school Todd had recommended. It didn't take me long to choose which offerI was going to accept. Although I didn't know it at the time, I had taken my first step in the direction of the experience-focused mindset.  

    In addition to the future hook-ups that internships and co-op jobs offer, they also provide fantastic opportunities to discover your interests and determine what type of work you enjoy. It's kind of like shopping for clothes—before you commit to a purchase you get to try on different sizes and styles until you find the perfect fit. Your college (or its career center) is like the shopping center; it has a selection of good jobs to choose from, and it ensures they meet specific standards.

    By enrolling in an internship or co-op program you save search time, gain great experience and develop a better under-standing of what type of career is a good fit for you. They also are a ticket to working at some of the coolest and most cutting- edge companies around. When it comes to finding a summer job, check out these opportunities—it's hard to go wrong.

LUC:

    During my second co-op term at the height of the dot-com era, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and get into Information Technology. I spent four months bored and frustrated as a programmer. I used to gaze out at the marketing department across the hall, dreaming I could be on the other side.  When I got my review at the end of the co-op placement it read, 'Luc is a hard-working employee, but not cut out for IT and should consider something different. Overall rating: Satisfactory.' Satisfactory was the lowest possible rating and really was a synonym for you suck!

    My next co-op term I got a marketing job and absolutely loved it. Not to mention I got a much better review and the highest possible rating—Outstanding. It's chilling for me to even imagine working as an IT programmer full-time. I'm glad I tested the waters before diving in.

    Some amazing internship and co-op programs are largely unknown and not specific to any college—all students can apply. These programs give every student an opportunity to land a dream job in Hollywood, or to work in a skyscraper in New York City, or to help staff one of the most advanced research facilities on earth.

    Treasure #2 in The Focus Zone at www.focusedstudent.com contains a comprehensive list of the coolest internship programs on the planet. Check 'em out to make your job search exciting rather than exasperating.

3. Extracurricular Activities

    Extracurricular activities can include things like clubs, conferences, sports teams, fraternities and sororities. If you have survived the first week of college, you have likely been bombarded by these organizations begging you to sign up for an event, join their club or brand yourself with their apparel. It's easy to turn a cheek to these sometimes overbearing volunteers, pick out faults in their organization or make excuses why you don't have time to get involved. Retreating to your next class is the easy and painless solution. As a result, many students overlook and miss out on the HUGE benefits these extracur-ricular activities offer. The best thing to do is to join something that interests you. If necessary, persuade a friend to join as well.
ANDREW:

    In high school I thought I was too cool for school. I avoided extracurricular activities and student councils like the plague and hung around with the 'tough crowd' to try to sustain a cool-kid image. College was a much-needed wake-up call. Employers weren't going to care how big the subwoofers were in my buddy's car or how crazy my friend's cousin was. Employers cared about practical experience. Volunteering and student clubs ended up being my ticket to a much cooler future.

    If you are interested in marketing, you might join a student association like a marketing club or an advertising society. This is a tremendous start for taking advantage of extracurricular activities. If you want to take your experience to the next level, there is another type of association you can join that is arguably the best and quickest way to network with people in the indus-try, remain up-to-date on the latest trends, meet people working in your dream job and add killer lines to your resume. Over 90 percent of students don't know about these associations, and for that exact reason they are your opportunity to really stand out from your peers.

    These are called . . . (drum roll, please) . . . professional associations! So, if you want to 'go pro' then join a professional association that meets your interests. Everything from the American Marketing Association to the Video Game Devel-opers Association exists—there are literally thousands to choose from. Flick through the Encyclopedia of Associations at your local library or do a search online for professional association lists.

Traveling the Nation on a Shoestring Budget

    You might have caught wind of a little something called conferences. Typically weekend events organized by student clubs, they are usually focused on a specific topic and include well-
known speakers, entertaining events, four-course meals, hotel accommodations, and nightly parties. Students from across the country are invited, and travel fees are often subsidized by your school or covered by corporate sponsors. Attendees get to meet like-minded students and mingle with recruiters from the nation's largest companies. In short, these events are action-packed with amazing experiences and a lot of fun!

The catch

To be in the know about these conferences and sometimes to be eligible to attend, you need
to be involved with student organizations.

Here are a few of the benefits of extracurricular activities:

 

•  Differentiate your resume by adding impressive lines like 'Coordinated budgeting and event logistics for a fundraiser hosting over 400 students and university faculty,' or 'Managed a team of 12 executives responsible for five committees and a $150,000 budget.'

•   Meet students with similar interests and ambitions.

•   Improve your communication/interpersonal skills.

•   Get first dibs on cool events like listening to famous
        speakers, hosting wine and cheese gatherings for
        corporate recruiters, BBQs, attending all-expenses paid
        conferences across the nation, attending sporting
        events and intercollege parties (to name a few).

•   Gain leadership and teamwork experience that employers
         and grad schools are looking for.

•   Make a positive difference on campus and in the
         community by putting your ideas and skills to the test.

 

4. Innovative Courses and Programs

    Are you fed up reading boring textbooks for the sole purpose of regurgitating the information you memorize on the next exam—only to forget 90 percent of it a few weeks later? Sadly, this situation can't always be avoided, but it can be offset with innovative courses and programs. Most colleges have started to realize the void in the system and are now implementing education alternatives that involve hands-on learning through projects, real-world applications or educational competitions. These might take up more time in your schedule or involve additional effort to get enrolled, but in the end you will learn far more, enjoy the process more, develop greater experience and better retain the information. In addition, these programs often lead to prize money, free trips, job offers and nationwide exposure. These innovative programs, classes and competi-tions exist on all college campuses; however, many can also be found off-campus.

    Being a child  of the theatre, I was excited to get accepted into the Trinity College La Mama Program. It took me to New York City to study the performing arts for an entire semester. I got to see over 60 different performances, work at a well-known theater and meet some of the most accomplished performers in the city. At the end of the semester my supervisor offered me a full-time job. I haven't stopped smiling or dancing since.'

Jill Weinstein, Trinity College

Courses and Programs (continued)

'Having an entrepreneurial spirit, a class called New Venture Analysis caught my eye. In this course we developed a business plan then competed with the plan against other students from all over the world.  We ended up winning over $70,000 in cash and prizes, and twice qualified to enter the Super Bowl of business plan competitions—Moot Corp—where we won best-written plan. Our success at these competitions attracted over a quarter of a million dollars in seed capital, allowing us to turn this school project into a full-time business. This class was the foundation of my entrepreneurial future.'

Kevin Michaluk, I.H. Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

'The best course I ever took didn't have boring lectures or a daunting textbook. We had one assignment for the entire semester: to create a full-fledged PR campaign on the topic of education and ethics. For the second half of the course we competed against schools from across the country and ended up with an honourable mention from the Public Relations Society of America. I learned more in this course than I did in my entire freshman year. More importantly, I discovered that I loved PR and that it was the career I wanted to pursue. The following summer I landed a job in New York working for one of the largest PR firms in the world. The lady who interviewed me happened to be a judge from the competition. Taking this innovative course definitely paid off.'

Jaci Herbst, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Treasure #3 in The Focus Zone contains a top-10 list of the coolest college courses and competitions worth their weight in gold. Go to The Focus Zone at www.focusedstudent.com to find out what they are.

    There you have it—the four key components of the experience-focused formula: International Exchanges + Internships and Co-op Programs + Extracurricular Activities + Innovative Courses and Programs. But even after learning about these exciting opportunities many students still don't pursue them. This happens for two reasons—time and fear. Participating in these experiences requires reallocating time away from your daily study routine. It may also require pushing back your grad-uation date. Students who use the time excuse usually feel that high grades are a better option for securing a good job after college. Unfortunately, this assumption is false. 

    The second reason students shy away from the experience-focused formula is due to fear and a lack of confidence. Electing to participate in these experiences, and taking the initiative to get involved, often requires that you JUMP out of your com-fort zone. The next section will show you how to do this easily.

 

 Step Outside Your

Comfort Zone

    'The eagle gently coaxed her offspring toward the edge of the nest. 'Why does the thrill of soaring have to begin with the fear of failing?' she thought. As in the tradition of the species, her nest was located high on the shelf of a sheer rock face. Below there was nothing but air to sup-port the wings of each child. 'Is it possible it might not work?' she thought. Despite her fears, the eagle knew it was time. Until her children discovered their wings, there was no purpose for their lives. Until they learned how to soar, they would fail to understand the privilege it was to have been born an eagle. And so one by one she pushed them, and they flew!'

—Excerpts from Even Eagles Need a Push,
    David McNally

    For baby eagles to spread their wings and fly, they have to leave the comfort of the nest. The nest is their comfort zone, a place where they feel safe, at ease and free from risk and fear.

 

    Like baby eagles, we enjoy staying in our comfort zones. Why wouldn't we? It's more comfortable there. We talk to the same people in class, buy the same style of clothes, work at the same jobs and eat the same food. This placid existence is our comfort zone—our nest. 

You miss all the shots you don't take.

 —Wayne Gretzky

    Are you happy with your current knowledge, accomplish-ments, experiences, friends and bank balance? Do you have absolutely no interest in growing as a person and in achieving new things? Not likely . . . or at least we hope not! You know that those who never take risks will never reap the potential rewards. Those who never visit unexplored territory will live boring lives. Those who do not challenge themselves will never grow wiser, and those who do not shoot will never score. To grow, you'll need to step outside your comfort zone into
the area of uncertainty, risk and challenge. What would happen to the baby eagles if they never left the nest?

Luc:

    When I moved away from home, my mom accompanied me on the cross-country trip to help me move into my anything-but-elegant dorm room. After three days she left—pushing me out of the nest. I stood alone in the parking lot waving to her as she drove away. It was two days before introduction week, and the school was deserted. I did a slow 360, examining the foreign environment. I didn't have my familiar car, I didn't have my trusted friends and now I didn't have my mom. I was 100 percent outside my comfort zone. Although I felt naked, I knew I had been

What Does Your Comfort Zone Feel Like?

Try this:

1.  Fold your arms in front of you. Feel comfy? Natural and ordinary? Good. This is what your comfort zone feels like.

2.   Now try folding your arms the other way—the opposite arm on top. Feel strange? Uncomfortable? This is what stepping outside of your comfort zone feels like.

pushed out of the nest and it was my time to fly!

    What's cool is that the more experiences you take on, the more challenges you tackle, the more times you feel naked, the larger your comfort zone becomes. For example, after moving away from home you gradually become comfortable with the change and could do it again with ease—your com-fort zone has stretched to include this new experience.

The more one does and sees and feels,
the more one is able to do.

                                                                 —Amelia Earhart

    Once stretched, it stays bigger. Constantly stretching your comfort zone moves you toward your full potential, gives you more experience to draw on and allows you to enjoy the many riches that life has to offer.

    The experience-focused mindset gives you access to the finest opportunities college life offers, but you'll need to step out of your comfort zone to seize them. In the bigger life-picture, college is a brief window of time. It's easy to let it fly by, only to regret later that you didn't take advantage of the unlimited experiences and opportunities available to you as a student.

Ships in the harbor are safe, but that's
not what ships are built for.

                                                                 —John A. Shedd

IT'S EASIER . . .

It's easier to settle for average than strive for excellence.

It's easier to be saturated with complacency than
stirred with compassion.

It's easier to be skeptical than successful.

It's easier to question than conquer.

It's easier to rationalize your disappointments
than realize your dreams.

It's easier to belch the baloney than bring home the bacon.

—Author Unknown

    In college, it's easier to stay in your comfort zone than to step outside into the world of risk and uncertainty so you can grow and experience new things. What are you going to choose? Easy or experience—the choice is yours.

 

    In the next chapter you'll discover the importance of finding your passion. You'll get to complete a puzzle that will help you define the best career choice for you, one that is totally in synch with what you love to do.

 

 

 
conclusion

    College can be the best investment of your life . . . but only if you maximize the experience.

Take Note—The World has Changed.

-  The wants of individuals and employers have increased, and for the most part the education system has stayed the same —a void has been created.

College Success in the Information Age

-   People who have the degree-focused mindset anticipate that degree qualifications are the ticket to a promising career.

-   People who have the experience-focused mindset anticipate that the experience they gain in college will contribute most in accelerating their careers.

The Experienced-focused Formula

-   Work abroad or study abroad—or do both.

-   Participate in extracurricular activities such as clubs, conferences, sports teams, frats and sororities, etc.

-   Gain practical work experience through an internship or co-op program.

-   Sign up for innovative courses and programs. Step Outside Your Comfort Zone and into
the World of Opportunity

-  The world of new growth and opportunity always lies outside your comfort zone.

-  Stretching your comfort zone accelerates your progress and gives you more experience to draw on.

-  The experience-focused mindset requires that you step outside your comfort zone constantly.

Are you ready for the first round of Action Steps that will help you accomplish what you really want? They start now.

Action Steps  

Online version available in The Focus Zone at: www.focusedstudent.com

The Experience-focused Formula

Expand Your Comfort Zone

The Experience-focused Formula

 

    Write down the component of the experience-focused formula that appeals to you most. (Example: international exchange, extra-curriculars, internships and co-ops, or innovative programs.)

    Describe the specific experience you want to have using this component. (Example: going on an exchange to Paris, running for president of the geography club.)

 

    What is one specific thing you can do this week that will move you closer to implementing the experience you described above? (Write this in your calendar so you don't forget.)

Expand Your Comfort Zone

           

What is something you would like to do or feel you should do that will require you to step outside your comfort zone? (Example: ask a question in class, move away from home, go to a conference.)

What are the benefits you will reap by taking action?

If you want the benefits above, describe what you will do to take action. Be specific. Include the date you will take action and the steps you will take. 

©2005. Les Hewitt, Andrew Hewitt, and Luc d'Abadie. All rights reserved. Reprinted from Power of Focus for College Students: How to Make College the Best Investment of Your Life. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442.

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The Power of Faithful Focus

The Power of Faithful Focus

What the World's Greatest Leaders Know About THE SECRET to a Deeper Realtionship with Christ, True Spiritual Commitment & Abundant Living
edition:Paperback
tagged : spiritual
More Info
Excerpt

Faithful Focusing Strategy #1

Seeking God, Finding Purpose

 

If you're taking on God's purposes, He will provide the power.
—Bruce Wilkinson

           

 
Picture yourself as a vibrant young seventeen-year-old.
You're looking forward to all that life has to offer. It's summer, a great time to be alive, swimming and hanging out with your friends. One hot July day as the sun is setting you dive into the murky waters of Chesapeake Bay. As your body courses through the depths your head strikes something hard and unyielding. Suddenly, in a moment, everything changes. Seconds later you're lying limp, face down on the bottom with a broken vertebrae. For the next two years you will be sequestered in a hospital, one year of which will be spent in a geriatric ward. Your only means of transport will be a wheelchair. The term paraplegic hasn't fully sunk in because this was never supposed to happen. The onset of depression only compounds your agony.
How would you handle a tragedy like this? Where would God show up in your thinking? If this tragedy happened to you, could you possibly foresee an agreeable future, never mind a meaningful purpose for your life? These are tough questions if you have never experienced this type of situation.
Joni Eareckson Tada had plenty of time to reflect on these questions. She was the teenager who suffered the pain of that life-changing accident and still does today, thirty-seven years later. However, her depression has long since gone, replaced by a thirst for God and a passion to help others facing similar chal-lenges. Remarkably, her heart today is overflowing with gratitude.
Joni's transition to faith was slow. On searching the Bible she realized that God hates suffering. In the course of her rehab she discovered a talent for painting. Of course, compared to almost every other artist in the world there was one little difficulty—she couldn't hold a paintbrush! Undaunted, she developed the skill of mouth painting, gripping the end of the brush between her teeth, slowly applying the strokes to her canvas. Now her paintings hang in galleries in major centers like New York. It takes six months to a year to complete one piece of art. 'I want to paint slowly but give the impression that the work was done quickly,' she says.
But that's not all. Joni's talent and drive to live every day on purpose for God knows no bounds. She has written numerous books, has her own radio program broadcast weekly through more than 1,000 outlets, and she's a disability advocate recog-nized at the presidential level. Joni was appointed to the National Council on Disability when the Americans with Disabilities Act became law.
Her company, Joni and Friends, has four flagship programs serving thousands of people around the world. Her awards and accolades are too numerous to list here. Simply put, she is on fire for God and has found a purpose through him that allows her to live abundantly, despite the daily trials of pain and the need for others to feed and clothe her.
Joni's attitude is inspiring. 'I'd rather be in this wheelchair with God than walking without him,' she says. 'Suffering is God's way of waking us out of our spiritual slumber—like a splash of cold water. The weaker I was in the wheelchair the more I had to lean on God, and the stronger he became for me.
A wheelchair can be a passport to joy. I look forward to heaven because I'll have my hands back!'
Maybe you're thinking right now. 'I could never do what Joni did; she's one of a kind.' But that's the good news—we're all one of a kind, unique in our own way. You'll learn, as we start our journey together in this book, that seeking God is directly linked to finding purpose and fulfillment. God has a plan, and you're part of it. Our purpose is to give you some practical guidance and direction to help you clarify what lies on the road ahead.

when life knocks you
to your knees,

You're In A Good Position To Pray

A key component underlying the ten focusing strategies in this book is called the Faithful Life Quadrant (FLQ). There are two stages. The first is designed to sharpen your knowledge and awareness. The initial step toward any improvement in your life is awareness. For example, if you wish to have a higher level of fitness you might start by consulting an experienced personal trainer, or by taking a course on nutrition. Gaining more knowledge increases your understanding so you can make better decisions.
To create a life of faithful focus requires that you first become more knowledgeable about God, yourself, the most important people around you and your life purpose.
The second stage is all about love—learning to love God, loving and respecting yourself, loving others (especially those closest to you), and loving your purpose. When you move from knowing to loving in all areas of the quadrant, you will truly experience the power of faithful focus.
Take a moment and consider how you feel about each part of the FLQ:

•   Is God merely a concept, or a person with whom
you are really in touch?
•   Is your self-knowledge superficial or substantial—
         have you moved beyond clichés to real self-respect?
•   Are you living free from anger, enjoying a variety
         of healthy relationships?
•   Do you have a specific sense of purpose and at
         least the start of a personal plan?

 As you allow the FLQ to awaken your heart and mind toward God and your future, we want you to know that Jesus Christ himself is the tangible truth for which all thoughtful people are longing. Jesus is the model of a life of love.
He loved his Heavenly Father, he had a humble and confident view of himself, he gave himself in his life and death for others, and he fully understood his purpose.
With Christ's love radiating from the center and embracing the four most important areas of your life, you are blessed beyond measure.

The Faithful Life
Quadrant:
Stage I
Knowing God

Having God in your life is the most important relationship you can have. He is your infinite and intimate Heavenly Father, and He's longing for a close, personal relationship. Through Jesus Christ we discover that the Lord did not come 'to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.' (John 3:17) How do you do this? There are lots of ways. Bible study, prayer, courses, books, inspirational music, mentors and your church pastor are all great sources. Meaningful movies and documentaries can also help. Better still, talk to Him every day. Tell Him your concerns. Ask for guidance and the discipline to know Him better. Make time with God a daily habit—schedule it in your planner so you won't miss the opportunity. You schedule other appointments throughout your day, from business meetings and family functions to sporting events, so why wouldn't you schedule specific time to rendezvous with God?
LES:
I like to connect first thing in the morning, just in case my day goes off course later. I enjoy this quiet time with God before the phones start ringing and I become immersed in my latest project. Being grounded in faith each day gives me strength, and at the same time keeps me humble.
CHARLIE:
Here's a great way to give your marriage a boost. Schedule time with your partner each evening to talk to God together and enjoy a few moments of inspirational reading from the Bible or another great book. I guarantee you will be refreshed. You will resolve conflicts and more easily feel closer to each other. Think about this: in the presence of the Lord, who said to his Father, 'not my will, but yourwill be done,' how could you possibly say to your spouse, 'my way or the highway?'
Knowing Yourself
You might be thinking that you know yourself pretty well because you hear your own voice more than you hear the voice of anyone else. On the other hand, you may be saying, 'What do you mean? Is this some philosophy class where I stare in a mirror or follow some self-help guru's idea for instant enlightenment?' Not at all. We want to help you get beyond the surface noise in your head, or perhaps really think about your life for the first time.
Really knowing yourself requires a much deeper level of understanding. It means knowing what you value, knowing your philosophy, character, level of integrity and self-esteem. It involves your deeply ingrained belief systems, your strengths and weaknesses, and your attitude about life. Are you clear about who you are and what you stand for? What do you enjoy doing the most? What type of work inspires you and gets your adrenaline pumping?
Knowing Others
Life is really all about relationships. When you pause to think about it, what are the truly enduring and enriching aspects of your life? Bank accounts don't bring happiness. Power is fleeting. Even sexual pleasure is temporary. It is authentic marriages, friendships and professional connections that really fulfill us. Who are the most important people in your life right now? Consider your immediate and extended family, friends, colleagues at work, business clients, and customers. How much time do you spend with these people? For most, especially if you work full time, the answer is not enough.
Have you noticed that we are losing the art of face-to-face communication? We interact electronically more than ever before, and the trend is growing. Clipped, bullet-point phrases have replaced the art of flowing speech and heartfelt expression. Church attendance is declining, especially among young families. For many people the race for wealth and material success is all-consuming. As a result we have fractured families, high stress and little time to connect with each other, never mind have fun. We've forgotten how to play!
In the chapters ahead you'll learn how to strengthen your relationships and have a lot more time for you and your loved ones.
Knowing Your Purpose
A lot has been written lately about purpose and meaning. Rick Warren's runaway bestseller, The Purpose-Driven Life, is proof that millions of people want something more than their present drifting.
The dictionary has a wide variety of words to describe purpose. These include a guiding principle, the root source, driving force, your vision and ultimate aim. When you resolve to live God's purpose through you and surrender to it completely, you can anticipate feelings of joy, enthusiasm and happiness.
How do you find your purpose? It's connected to your God-given talents, the ones that have been instilled in you since birth. Part of life's puzzle is uncovering these talents.
Some people know what these are from an early age, even in childhood. Others may take half a lifetime or more to
discover them. Are your gifts in service to others, making money, creating unique products, teaching or parenting? Maybe you'll touch the world with your creative talent in music, painting or per-forming. What's most important is to know that God has a purpose for your life. When you truly believe this, it inspires confidence and trust. The Faithful Life Quadrant will help you define your specific purpose.
LES:
I used to feel a little guilty about being an entrepreneur and growing my business. I often asked myself, 'Is it wrong to focus on becoming strong financially?' Then I'd ponder if I was supposed to be in mission work overseas. But with a young family and all the normal restrictions— education, buying a home, paying the bills—I didn't feel called to volunteer abroad.
Over the years I've come to realize that the best service I can provide is teaching others, particularly people of influence in business, how to live a faithful, focused life. This is my true gift. If financial strength occurs for my clients, and for me, it creates more opportunities to tithe and support people whose talent is not around money. They in turn are free to serve God in other ways, including missions.
Here are two areas that need God's help: our families and worthy organizations that are struggling.Your family needs real attention. Take moments for quiet reflection—and exuberant recreation! Make time for mean-ingful discussion instead of fleeting commentary, like ships passing in the night. Create a statement of purpose that resonates with who you are and allows you to fully express your God-given gifts. Set aside time to really contemplate this; preferably take a day or two away in solitude with a pen and notepad. Few people follow through on this. You be different! The rewards are enormous. When you know your purpose, decision-making becomes simpler and your focus sharper. You'll experience a deep sense of fulfillment the more aligned you become with God's plan for your life.
Sadly, many small charities, community groups and churches are struggling these days, even though they are served by good people with great intentions. The reality is that financial support is critical not only to their growth, but to their sur-vival. People in business need to step up and contribute more so that overworked staff can live their purpose and focus on what they do best. Being office administrators through the week and gearing up for the 'money pitch' at every meeting is simply not a good use of their time. Are you doing all you can to help? As you grow closer to God and God's purpose for you, your place in contributing to the community will become clearer.
Make sure you complete the Action Steps at the end of the chapter. They will help crystallize everything for you.

The Faithful Life
Quadrant:
Stage II

 

Your awareness will evolve into greater love as you seek God through Christ and sincerely desire to honor Him and to serve others. Notice how your growing awareness becomes intense affection, which in turn will lead to practical action.
Loving God
Love, according to Francis Schaeffer, is 'the mark of the Christian.' 'God is love.' (I John 4:8) This simple confir-mation is the bedrock for faithful living. Jesus proclaimed that, 'God loved the world so much that he gave his only son Jesus Christ, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.' (John 3:16, NLT)
If you have a son or daughter—your own flesh and blood—would you make that same sacrifice? The enormity of this is staggering. God's love knows no bounds, and all he is asking from you is to return the favor by loving him and others. (Matthew 22:37–40)
To be faithful in loving God requires the highest form of devotion, allegiance, unswerving loyalty and dedication to Him, steadfast and true. Is your love for God dependable and unwavering? True faith requires this high standard. Moses spelled this out clearly: 'The Lord your God requires you to fear him, to live according to his will, to love and worship him with all your heart and soul.' (Deuteronomy 10:12–13)
The next question is, 'How are you demonstrating your love for God?' Just follow his instructions. Jesus said to the people who believed in him, 'You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying my teachings. And you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.' (John 8:31–32)
There are three things that will endure—faith,hope and love—and the greatestof these is love.
                                                                                      —1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)
The Bible is clear. Study it. Start with Christ's call to love God and others as your core values. Then embrace the other key components of the Faithful Life Quadrant, and you will learn a new life of love.
CHARLIE:
Recently a couple came to me for counseling. They were tense. Money was tight, schedules chaotic and Christ was only thought about briefly on Sunday. I showed them a simple graphic of the Faithful Life Quadrant and asked if they prayed together. They seemed almost offended by the question. I then asked them to join hands and pray a blessing for each other. No preaching at each other—just words of blessing. In thirty seconds they were in tears.
The presence of God was strong. They immediately apologized for their attitudes. I saw the couple two weeks later and they were radiant. The wife said that her husband was a new man! By choosing to love God together they were able to attack the other issues as a team, instead of as adversaries.
Some well-meaning religious people turn God's invitation for a wonderful relationship into a list of duties. Yes, disci-pline is required if you wish to live life with God's approval. However, Christ invites us to delight, not just duty.
Let love be your highest goal.
                                                                                      —1 Corinthians 14:1 (NLT)
To love God means that you want your life to be a thank-you to Him for all he has done for you in Christ. This is not a duty. The creator of the universe and savior of the world really wants to be close to you. Take time every day to reflect on how much God loves you. You are a child of the King, a friend of Christ, and worthy of our Lord's suffering.
Loving Yourself
This isn't an opportunity to boost an unhealthy ego or to become vain, narcissistic or full of pride. God will punish those people in due course. Loving yourself means having a core belief that you are important to God and that your life is meaningful, not to be wasted. When you truly believe this, it strengthens your resolve to overcome any obstacle that gets in your way. Healthy self-respect emerges from our secure relationship with Christ and from growing appreciation of the uniqueness of our personalities and gifts that have been given to us by God.
Ephesians 1:3–14 is the greatest passage on affirmation in all of Scripture. The terms St. Paul uses to describe believers are staggering. These words apply to everyone who loves Christ, not just a few super-talented people! Read this passage slowly, pondering the terms: chosen, adopted, beloved, redeemed (liberated), knowledge of God's will, included in Christ, sealed by the Spirit—we are infinitely loved and impor-tant to God. How encouraging! God's view of us is not a fantasy, but a faithful delight in who we really are—his masterpiece, created for something special. (Ephesians 2:8–10)
What's important is how you respond to each situation. Consider your life as a series of challenges, with God watching to see how you handle each hurdle. He's testing your resolve, your attitude, your commitment, so you can strengthen your character. Remember Job?
How do you practically strengthen your self-love without going too far? How do you avoid the pitfalls of vanity and arrogance? You do this by receiving God's love for you, his unconditional and unlimited affirmation, and releasing it to others, especially those who cannot return the favor.
Feel good that you are a child of God with a thinking mind that can do amazing things. You are privileged to be the crown of his creation, made to be a steward of his wonderful world. (Psalm 8) You have the ability to create, to love, to serve and to make a difference in this world. You are not a rat or a frog! Maybe being a dolphin would be fun for a day, but even dolphins cannot write poetry, build a skyscraper or bring the gospel to a distant land.
Every day remind yourself of the supreme advantage God has given you. Never underestimate his support and power. Seek Him first when you get stuck.

Dr. David Eckman is a typical pastor.
Well-educated and warm-hearted, he has helped hundreds of church members grow spiritually. Being spiritually mature and emotionally sensitive, he discovered that just knowing theol-ogy was not enough to meet the real needs of the human heart. For the past fifteen years he has confronted the deep hurts and needs of others and brought biblical truth to healing and free-dom. As founder of Becoming What God Intended Ministries, today he and his team are serving thousands of people. Here's a summary of one of his key themes:
'It's important to understand the connection between loving God and loving self. So many people find it hard to love God the Father because their own fathers and mothers were abusive or neglectful. The key to healing is to realize that each of us is worth the death of God's son! When we realize that Jesus had us in mind when he was on the cross and that our Heavenly Father loves us passionately and unconditionally, we will have spiritual and relational confidence in our lives.'
Loving Others
You cannot pour genuine love and appreciation into other people if you don't have a healthy respect for yourself. Oh,
you may fake it convincingly enough—but at a deeper level there's a disconnect, a tension that prevents you from being 100 percent real. We'll share more about this healing in Chapter Three. In the meantime, just know that lasting wholeness may take time, prayer and help from others. God is present to help you, if you are willing to release your rights to victimhood and choose to live going forward, pursuing the best future possible through Christ.
Let's look at how we need to love others. The most difficult aspect of this is preferential treatment. It's easy to love people with whom you have synergy, people who have the same interests, ambitions and positive attitudes. It's like a magnetic attraction. Have you ever been introduced to someone at a social event, and within five minutes you feel at ease and genuinely interested in who they are and what they do? You just click.
When it comes to a male/female attraction that leads to a happy marriage with wonderful children, it's easy to show your love and affection. As the family matures however, every day may not be in harmony—stress happens! Nevertheless, there is an underlying love and level of commitment that overrides the bumps along the way.
But what about loving less amiable people? The Bible gives us clear evidence that to be steadfast means offering your love
in many ways. Once again Jesus cuts through the excuses. In Luke 6:27–33 he tells his listeners to love your enemies, do good to those who hate you . . . bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you . . . do to others as you would have them do to you . . . then your reward will be great, because your Heavenly Father is kind to the ungrateful and the wicked.
All you need is love.
Love is all you need.
                                                                                      —Lennon, McCartney
As you will find out in chapters Three and Six, we are not advancing any notions of codependent or self-destructive behavior. Real Christianity is not about getting along with 'the beautiful people.' Rather, it's about watching God use faith and love to unite people who, apart from their Christian beliefs, never really knew each other.
This is why we eat together at a Communion table, sing together each week, and laugh and cry together as we pray and teach each other. God has chosen that our personal wholeness comes in community with others.
But what about outside the church, back in the real world?  It's easy to offer someone in distress a helping hand. You see an old gentleman pulled over at the side of the road. His battery has died and he needs a boost. His elderly wife anxiously sits in the front seat of their small motorhome, concerned that their first vacation in three years is off to a bad start. As you size up the situation, unhesitatingly you decide to help. In a few minutes you've provided the boost they need, and you smile as the old man's wife gives you a hug, tears of gratitude rolling down her face. It's a busy freeway and you are the only one who took the time to stop. This is what it means to love others in times of need. A Christian attitude of helping people in distress is commonplace with true believers. (I John 3:16–20)
But let's stretch your comfort zone a few notches. Imagine your brother has been brutally murdered. Your sister-in-law, a mother of two children ages five and three, is now a widow wracked with grief and confusion. Imagine you are face to face with the shooter, the man who callously took your beloved brother's life and who showed no remorse at the trial. What compassion for the murderer can you summon? Can you love the unlovable?
In our natural, human hearts the answer is no. We might be able to control our reaction, but we would want that person as far away as possible. But God has something even better for us. He can turn enemies into friends and totally change their hearts. The story of the Apostle Paul is a perfect example. There are five versions in the New Testament (Acts 9, 22, 26, Gala-tians 1 and Philippians 3). That's a good reason to pay attention!
Paul was an arch-enemy of the church and a leader of the opposition. He threw people in jail and even approved of the stoning of St. Stephen. He was a crusader against Christ. Everything changed when Jesus spoke to him from heaven. What a turnaround! The great persecutor became the great preacher. A man who wouldn't be in the same room with most of the world was now eating and worshiping with slaves! It took a while for the Church leaders to believe the change was real. Paul was determined to live for Christ and serve others, even when he was not always understood or appreciated.
God's grace was so powerful in Paul that he could feel at home in any community. He could celebrate his ­Jewish heritage with a special vow (Acts 20) and he could enjoy communion with the new church he founded in pagan Athens. (Acts 17) Paul knew that when people came close to Jesus Christ they were united, and this created a new community of love and hope.
The same grace helped Paul to reconcile difficult rela-tionships from the past. He and Barnabas ended their ministry partnership because they disagreed strongly about Mark joining the team. By the end of his life Paul was thankful for all the help Mark had given him. The very person Paul said was not fit, became his assistant. 
As you grow to love God more and appreciate what Christ has done to forgive your sins, are you willing to model his love for others as you face the unexpected challenges of life?
Will you forgive your spouse quickly for not remembering to enter a check in the ledger and balance the account?
Will you choose love by taking some extra time to really hear your friends' prayers and see if you might be part of God's answer? Test your ability to love by reaching out to people with whom you normally would not interact—a home-less person, someone suffering from AIDS or a terminally ill cancer victim. Yes, you may be way out of your comfort zone, but God won't put you into situations you are not able to handle. Practicing selfless love that is truly unconditional, where nothing is expected in return, is something worth striving for. In fact, God commands it. (James 1:22–27)
Singer-songwriter Ken Johnston1 penned the words to this powerful illustration of God's love.
Approach each day with child-like curiosity
and you'll see God's touch all around you.
                                                                 —Les Hewitt

IT'S ALL ABOUT YOUR LOVE
You live in my heart
You have from the start
You have always been there
And I have been too blind to see
That it's not about me
It's all about your love
That's the reason we're here
To give us the life you hold dear
And surrender to your love
Will I ever let go
Trying to master this show
On a stage made of sand
And now that I know what's true
Am I ready to give
All of myself to you
Or hold on to this pain that I feel
When I hold back giving my love to you
And yes, I've made my decision
I'm not turning back
As weak as I am,
Because I know, I know in my heart
It's all about your love.
It's all about your love.
It's all about your love.
Loving Your Purpose
Can you imagine going through life hating your purpose—grinding your teeth every morning and proclaiming, 'Oh no, not another day serving God with my unique talents!' Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?
The only thing worse is drifting blindly along every year with no purpose at all, not understanding that life must not be wasted or used only for material gain. That's why a midlife crisis is so valuable—you get to ponder that all-important question: 'Is there more to life than this?' And the answer
is yes, a thousand times yes! If you are ready for God's touch at this point in your life, he will open the door so you can see the bigger picture.
In the next chapter you'll learn how to evaluate your strengths and apply them in a purposeful way. It's worth noting that you don't have to be forty or fifty years old to discover a fresh purpose. Any age will do. It doesn't matter if you're ten, twenty, thirty, sixty, seventy or one hundred, God has wonderful things to share with you that will help you design a life of spiritual and personal abundance.
If you already have a clear sense of purpose, that's great.
Be alert, however, to the constant pull of our modern world with all its enticements to live the easy life. Living on purpose will enable you to have a deep sense of joy in the midst of difficulty and suffering—as well as humility when the applause is deafening and all is well.

Brett and Lyn Johnson live life with purpose.
They grew up in Hout Bay, South Africa, and now live in California. At the age of twenty-five Brett was one of the youngest senior consultants of a major firm and the pastor of his local church. Such honor came suddenly because the previous pastor had left under difficult circumstances. Brett and a team of elders found themselves in charge of a hurting con-gregation. Rather than quit his job to be in full-time ministry, Brett and the team developed models of ministry that released scores of lay people into new levels of service for God. This little church soon gave birth to several more churches as Brett continued to rise in his corporate role.
This has spawned several new enterprises for the kingdom of God. Brett and Lyn do more than promote ministry in the marketplace—they know with certainty that business is their ministry. As these words are being written, Brett and Lyn are in South Africa with ten Christian business leaders, consulting with ten South African firms about how to do business Christ's way. Lyn is one of the top producers in a global organization and is responsible for 1,100 personnel. Brett and Lyn embody the concept of living-with-purpose, integrating their business, family and ministry into a seamless whole and challenging the old-fashioned notion that some roles in God's kingdom are more spiritual than others. Their full story is found in their book, Convergence (www.inst.net).

Do you long for a sense of meaning and significance in what you do every day? Have courage. Know that God does have a specific purpose for you and your family, and that this purpose is more than just making it. In fact, here's a saying that's worth repeating when things get tough:

GOD WANTS ME TO THRIVE
Not Just Survive!

 

©2008. Les Hewitt, Charles Self. All rights reserved. Reprinted from The Power of Faithful Focus. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the written permission of the publisher. Publisher: Health Communications, Inc., 3201 SW 15th Street, Deerfield Beach, FL 33442

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