what is the one thing?

Well – it’s a new year. What are you going to do with this precious gift?

One of my favorite books seems to intersect with a tradition we began in our family about five years ago. The book is The One Thing by Gary Keller. Gary asks what is called the focusing question –

“What’s the ONE Thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?”

Now, our tradition is that we did away with New Year’s resolutions and replaced them with a focusing word for the year. For me this past year it was Be Present (I know – that’s two words). An an INTJ, too often I was planning for the future or evaluating the past and my challenge was not being present with those important to my life.

So, what is your one word focus that aligns with your One Thing for this year?


work to your priorities

Achievers - priority Gary Keller Quote JULY 2014

which wolf do you feed?

blue sky Lauren AUG 2013With what lens do you look at your life? Is life an adventure or is it something to be endured? The thing is, our attitude, the way in which we view life is our choice. Granted, with some of the terribly difficult backgrounds some have or the trying conditions in which they now live, having a spirit of adventure in life may be incredibly difficult, but it still is a choice that can be made.

I mentioned that I am going back through Gary Keller’s The One Thing Book. in the book he tells the following story:

“One evening an elder Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two wolves inside us. One is Fear. It carries anxiety, concern, uncertainty, hesitancy, indecision and inaction. The other is Faith. It brings calm, conviction, confidence, enthusiasm, decisiveness, excitement and action.’ The grandson thought about it for a moment and then meekly asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’ The old Cherokee replied, ‘The one you feed.'”

Which wolf are you “feeding” each day? Do you dwell on your fears and feed them? Or do you live life with a mindset of gratitude and faith? Do you feed your faith each day?

Stop and listen to your self-talk; that tape that is continually playing in your head. Is it a tape of faith or one of fear?

Have faith and live as God intended you to.


developing more energy and becoming more productive

the1thingDo you feel tired most of the time? Is getting out of bed most mornings (especially Monday!) a laborious task?

More and more, people are writing about energy management and priority management and less about time management. The reason being is that the way most of us are working may be productive of efficient in the short term, it is usually detrimental to our long-term health and productivity.

I have been reading The One Thing and Gary Keller talks about a simple rhythm for the day that helped him become healthier and more productive. What he is saying has been said by others in different ways, but the core elements are much the same. Following is a slightly edited version of what he calls “The Highly Productive Person’s Daily Energy Plan”:

  1. Start your day with prayer
  2. Eat right and ensure you start your day with a healthy breakfast
  3. Get 7 -8 hours a sleep every night
  4. Exercise 5 – 6 days a week (just 20 – 30 minutes a day will be life changing!)
  5. Hug, kiss, and laugh with your loved ones
  6. Set your goals, plan, and calendar for the day
  7. Make sure you time block for your most important priority – what he calls the ONE Thing.

Most of this is not new, but I like the way in which he handles the subject. The challenge is that while we know what we should be doing, we aren’t. So, develop the desire, discipline yourself to incorporate healthy habits into your daily life (one thing at a time, you can’t do it all at once!!), and after you start seeing some small wins you will start feeling the motivation to continue. Remember, in this case, motivation follows action!


4 thieves of your productivity

the1thingGood morning – another nice day here in the Midwest!

Many of us have to contend with thieves. Thieves that rob us of time and diminish our effectiveness. In this case there are no police to call – it is up to us to do something about them.

Gary Keller in his book The One Thing, identifies the four thieves as:

1. Inability to say “No” – he repeats the old saying that “every ‘yes” must be defended by 1,000 ‘no’s’.” When yo say yes to the wrong things, you are not just distracted, you are hijacked. Learn to say no to the good things and yes to the best things.

2. Fear of chaos – focusing on one thing can actually be a bit messy. While you are focusing on your one thing, the world is still moving right along. When you focus on one thing, other things don’t get done. So, when you focus, it will get messy. That’s ok.

3.Poor health habits – when you don’t take care of yourself, when you mismanage your energy, you become less effective.To be productive and to be able to truly focus with your greatest creativity, you need to be managing your personal energy well. Get plenty of sleep, eat right, exercise and etc. Take care of yourself.

4 Environment doesn’t support your goals – Are the people around you supportive of your goals? How do they impact your attitude and your health? How about the people you hang out with? Are they good for you or bad for you? Do you need to change? What about your physical environment? Is it conducive to good work or is it a distraction? What distractions do you need to eliminate in your physical environment?

How do you plan on protecting yourself from these four thieves?

Blessings on your day!

when life happens – are you accountable or unaccountable?

field - KeelyGood Monday morning to you! Another beautiful weekend, plus we had some visitors from down South who had visited at Life Action Ministries this past week, so it was a very nice time.

I mentioned a book last week that I have been reading – The One Thing. One of the arresting statements in there on page 184 is “When life happens, you can either be the author of your life or the victim of it. Those are your only two choices – accountable or unaccountable. . . Every day we choose one approach or the other, and the consequences follow us forever.

While I may not entirely agree with that expression from a theological viewpoint, I do believe that how we react to the circumstances of our life is hugely important. We can choose to live with the hope we have in Jesus and face our circumstances proactively with cause for great hope and an excitement about the future, or we can become fatalistic and give in to our own weaknesses and miss the joy of growing through our challenging circumstances.

On page 185 of the book, there is a great graph showing the differences between someone with a VICTIM’s mindset and someone with an ACCOUNTABLE mindset.

First the VICTIM‘s approach:


1. Avoids Reality // “Asks no questions.”

2. Fights Reality // “That’s not how I see it.”

3. Blames // “If everyone would just do their job!”

4. Personal Excuses // “It’s not my job.”

5. Waits & Hopes // “If it was meant to be, it’ll happen.”

Now the ACCOUNTABLE person’s approach:


1. Seeks Reality // “What’s happening?”

2. Acknowledges Reality // “This is the way it is.”

3. Owns It // “If it’s to be, it’s up to me.”

4. Finds Solutions // “What can I do?”

5. Gets On With It // “O. K., let’s do it!”

What is your approach? If it was meant to be, it’ll happen.” or “O. K., let’s do it!“?

I choose – let’s do it!

Have a great week, 
Peace & grace to you,