Will 2024 Be A Year of Procrastination or Fortitude?

Will 2024 Be A Year of Procrastination or Fortitude?

I love writing, producing an award-winning program, or hosting a great event that nourishes souls. But it is often agonizing getting there. I know the destination, but the journey of getting there never stops being challenging. I have a beast inside me that occasionally rears its head, hissing that I’m not good enough, not worthy, and blowing flames of ensuing failure at me if I awaken it. This beast can wake me up in the middle of the night, prompting me to avoid the pain of attempting what God says I can do – “all things.” I end up in the pit of procrastination while watching others from the sidelines instead of doing the hard work to move forward.

Procrastination is a form of anxiety and fear. 

Judson Brewer, a psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and the author of “Unwinding Anxiety: New Science Shows How to Break the Cycles of Worry and Fear to Heal Your Mind,” said in a WSJ article, “Procrastination is a distraction. Anxiety triggers procrastination, especially for perfectionists, because we worry our solution to the problem won’t be good enough. Procrastination feels better than being anxious or trying to come up with a solution.”

No one wants to live in pain, so we stop moving forward to avoid failure and suffering. Procrastination holds us back. But it is a mindset that can be broken. God is a forward moving God who wants us to go forward and trust Him. Throughout the Bible, in story after story, God reminds us to make decisions on His Kingdom’s purposes and His will. We may not be good enough yet, but we can do “all things through Him who strengthens us” (Philippians 4:13). The issue is whether we are fully engaged and aligned with Him and His will, or are we just running to Him with our willful desires when fear sets in.

Our mind needs to be sound and calm when we are anxious so we don’t lose sight of the road in front of us. It’s a choice. When we only focus on the pain and not God’s promise to be with us through the struggles, we freeze and procrastinate. The squeaky wheel (our pain and fear) is heard, but the wheel isn’t broken. It’s still going around. Our job is to keep going forward; in time and with God’s guidance, we will prevail. The Bible tells us that we are to be “anxious for nothing” and to take our requests (not demands) to God (Philippians 4:6-7). He will empower us and find solutions to the squeaky wheel if we stay connected to His will, which may not turn out the way we planned. It’s a message I have had to be reminded of again and again and why my quiet time with God is essential.

Want to break through the fear and learn how to gain fortitude in 2024? 

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines fortitude as “strength of mind that enables a person to encounter danger and bear pain or adversity with courage.” In the world we live in today, we need fortitude and the strength to face the oncoming cultural winds that often bring pain and suffering. We need to take on the “mind of Christ” living within us. This year focus on where God is taking you. We are to “walk by faith and not sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). Kingdom purpose must be at the forefront of all we do, both for our families and for our careers. This year will you watch from the sidelines or push forward?

God’s on the journey with you, so trust Him to be there. Let’s roll!

Bold Self Confidence: Why It’s A Must For Today’s Leaders of Tomorrow

Bold Self Confidence: Why It’s A Must For Today’s Leaders of Tomorrow

While raising two daughters, I often reflected on how they were so different in approaching challenges. Kelsey, the oldest, was initially fearless and would jump at something new without ever giving it a second thought. One time, it even cost us a trip to the hospital for stitches; however, many times Kelsey would take the first leap and fail, which frightened her so much she wouldn’t attempt it again. It often held her back from pushing through challenges and being successful.

Our youngest daughter, Bailey, was different.  She wanted to think about it first. Maybe because she was younger and had a confident older sister, she would watch before acting. Many times, we had to coax her into attempting challenges; however, once she found success, she would push forward like a bull and become more confident. Bailey grew to love competitive sports. As a six-year-old in a karate tournament, she overpowered and brought down an eight-year-old boy twice her size to win the match. I remember feeling terrible for the little boy who walked away in tears, but his mother came running up to me and asked how I got Bailey to be so bold and confident. I laughingly told her, “She has an older sister!”

Leadership requires that we lead with confidence.

Yet confidence often has to come through experience and repeated failures. It requires us to be vulnerable and face challenges. It was the subject of our Influence Lab Women webinar, Emerge. We explored aspects of building personal confidence in careers and relationships. For the Church to find unity today, God requires that we be confident in who He says we are and what He has called us to become – willing leaders in scary and uncertain situations. When we become this, our faith grows and we can trust God more fully. It is especially powerful for those working in media and entertainment who are influencers with social media megaphones.

Confidence begins with mindset.

Scientists tell us our brains are complex. Because of the neural plasticity of our brains, neurotransmitters guide our actions and reactions through a multitude of experiences. These experiences educate and inform us, and either lock or unlock our confidence. Scientists go on to explain that changing the memory of bad experiences requires us to make new and different mental choices and adopt different postures in our heart. This then allows us to choose actions that activate the reward centers in our brains. When we experience the presence of God in our lives, He emboldens us. Each time we rely on Him, our renewed confidence feeds our heart’s desire that then allows us to act and take risks because we know we aren’t out there on the ledge alone (Matthew 28:20). Thus, we engage and trust God more.

Knowing your personality and how to react is key to overcoming insecurities.

We become better leaders when we know ourselves and know who we are in Jesus, who emboldens us. We can respond under pressure and stress to make the positive changes needed. Our natural tendency is to stay in safe places, but God has called us into the deep – into the world and unsafe spaces. To be effective in today’s culture, we must escape our “safe bubbles” if we are to grow ourselves and God’s Kingdom. We need diversity and discomfort to stretch our thinking and bolster our confidence to succeed. When we feel unsafe and insecure, we often run back to our safety zones, each time disallowing our brains to make new positive associations, connections, and choices. As we have learned from science (and what Jesus gently urged us to do), when we purposefully force our brain to think differently (think of His power and strength in us), it changes the actions of our hearts and passions. We can then boldly step into new challenges with a calm assurance that it isn’t just about us, but about others and achieving lasting Kingdom goals.

During The Influence Lab Emerge Webinar, special guest Lisa Kai shared how her Asian cultural past had influenced her, keeping her withdrawn from people and taking risks. It had affected her friendships and career. Her life changed when she realized that God saw her as intelligent and beautiful and that others withdrew, not because of anything she did or what she looked like, but because they felt insecure. So, Lisa embraced the vision of who God said she was in Him and overcame her negative mindset. It emboldened her to walk up to strangers and introduce herself confidently. Each time she did, it reinforced a positive change and vanquished her insecurity.

As my older daughter grew, she learned to make more mindful decisions and not quick, thoughtless ones before she acted; my younger daughter learned to step out of her fear and boldly try uncomfortable things. As adults today, they both evaluate situations more maturely, learning from their varied experiences. Most importantly, they have learned to trust God’s guidance and rely on Him when challenging decisions must be made. They have learned to breathe in Jesus’ strength and power, knowing He is the one “who always causes us to triumph.” (II Corinthians 2:14)

Write this down and keep it in a place where you can see it daily.

We stand confidently with grace, gratitude, and a mindset re-wired to react like Jesus. Philippians 4:12-13 (TPT)