Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

I am mostly offline, attending a business conference. I have asked several bloggers to post in my absence. This is a guest post by Mary DeMuth. She is an author, speaker and book mentor. You can read Mary’s blog or visit her on Twitter. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

I love it when I get to spend time with my friend Randy Ingermanson who runs AdvancedFictionWriting.com. I always come away from our conversations challenged and changed.

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/kryczka

Our recent conversation happened in a hotel lobby in Dallas where he shared about something he learned about goal setting.

“When we make decisions based on fear,” Randy said, “we eventually won’t progress.” He likened it to making a decision to follow Jesus based on fear of hell. The farther away we move from the fear, the less sway the threat holds in our decisions to grow.

The result? We stagnate because we’re farther away from what initially motivated us.

However, if we live in light of what we will gain in heaven by leading a faithful life, that looming goal woos us onward. It compels us to change in light of the future—a far more proactive way to live.

It made me think of my own life, how I’ve made so many business decisions based on fear. Because I was being reactionary, I didn’t grow.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “We mistake panic for inspiration.” But if I make goals based on who I want to become, those goals will entice me forward.

How can we apply this to our own entrepreneurial endeavors? Here are two ways:

  1. Evaluate those times is your life when you reacted out of fear. What happened? What was your response? How did you fare in the aftermath? Do you regret what you did? What did you learn from your response in the long run? In what ways did you stagnate?
  2. Envision what you want your professional (and personal) life to look like. Then work your way toward that goal.

    For instance, a looking-back goal based on fear would be something like, “I need to do anything I can to make money so I won’t be poor like I was as a child.” The farther away you move from that goal, the less you will grow, because you have nothing pulling you forward.

    But if your goal is, “I want to come to the place where I can donate as much money as I can to charity,” you will be moving in forward momentum toward that goal.

So what about you?

Picture your life five years in the future. See yourself as less harried, more intentional, and fully purposeful. You are living in the midst of your dream. What is that dream? Write it down.

Paint the picture of you joyfully pursuing what brings you deep satisfaction. Then place that dream in God’s hands, asking Him to woo you forward.

The past is gone. It cannot hold you. Present worries are poor motivators and eventually will fizzle in their ability to shape you for the long term.

But living your life in light of the future will change your perspective. It will move you from fear-based decision making to a joyfully proactive life where you anticipate the next step with joy.

Question: What decisions do you regret based on fear? What future goal would be powerful enough to move you forward? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

     As I’ve gone deeper down this blogging path, writing is becoming a part of my future goals.  I want to keep blogging, but I think there may be more to it.  This is definitely an area that will keep me moving forward – perhaps to a book.

    • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

      I agree! I’m going to consider it as well.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         The lure forward can be the joy of accomplishing what many want to accomplish: a completed manuscript.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       So what would you write, Jon? I’d be interested in seeing where your writing journey took you.

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

         This is where the wrestling begins.  I’ve thought about writing a book about Stretching (of course).  I’ve also played with the idea of writing my thoughts on my experience(s) related to mental illness.  I’ve thought about writing something about being a dad, a husband, or a Christian in the workplace.  Obviously, I need to work on my idea.

        • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

           You might look through your posts and see what themes emerge and how often. If a number of them overlap or are interconnected, you might have the beginnings of a more substantive piece. I noticed that to be true in January when I reviewed some of my earlier writings.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Or ask your readers to identify the posts they resonate the most with.

          • Guest

             stepxy

            I had been sick for years now, i lost all of my possession due to this
            illness, every member of my family became tired of me cos to them i was now  a liability, i
            bless the day i got introduced to this fellow at okuntemple@gmail.com when
            he requested for 350 dollars to buy the items for the spell to cure
            me of my illness  i felt  he was a spam then i told the person who introduced me to
             him and she said
            to me that she paid 500 dollars to save her marriage so i was convinced
            to pay the money and i did two days after , he
            cast the spell i was  cured  of all of the diseases that i was
            attacked with. And also he said to me that my wife that had ran away will
            be disturbed to come back home to be with me and exactly what really took
            place…This man at okuntemple@gmail.com is just so good at his spell work.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I’ve learned the best way to finally write a book is to finally write a book. Make it a goal this year, then do it.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        I did that with my first E.P. don’t think about it, just do it!

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Congrats on finishing it, Daren.

      • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

         Thanks for the encouragement, Mary.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           My pleasure, Jon.

      • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

        I heard a story recently about a gentleman named Jeff Arch who wanted write a book. Working as a cameraman in Los Angeles at 22, a fellow cameraman named Conrad Hall encouraged him to follow his heart and write. When he was 30, he wrote an off-broaday play that flopped. The ordeal discouraged him, and he stopped writing. Three years later, he started writing again, stating that he just “kept knocking on the door until it came down.” When he finished his work, he called it “Sleepless In Seattle.”

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Wow, that’s awesome!

      • Guest

         stepxy

        I had been sick for years now, i lost all of my possession due to this
        illness, every member of my family became tired of me cos to them i was now  a liability, i
        bless the day i got introduced to this fellow at okuntemple@gmail.com when
        he requested for 350 dollars to buy the items for the spell to cure
        me of my illness  i felt  he was a spam then i told the person who introduced me to
         him and she said
        to me that she paid 500 dollars to save her marriage so i was convinced
        to pay the money and i did two days after , he
        cast the spell i was  cured  of all of the diseases that i was
        attacked with. And also he said to me that my wife that had ran away will
        be disturbed to come back home to be with me and exactly what really took
        place…This man at okuntemple@gmail.com is just so good at his spell work.

    • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

      I’m still kind of new to this blogging thing, but people have been telling me my whole life that I write well. My current goal is to get my blog more established, then I may try a book some day.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Great goal, Rob. And the posts you write for your blog might, in fact, be some of the content for your book.

        • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

           I agree.  In fact, I believe this would be a good starting point for my “book.”

          • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

            What’s your book going to be about?

      • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

        Rob,

        I just started my blog last weekend and am figuring it all out along the way. 

        Michael Hyatt had a post last month entitled “10 Ways To Generate More Blog Traffic” which may help. You can search for it in this site. His first “This Is Your Life” podcast focuses on this post and provides more info too. 

        • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

          Yes, those were actually some of the things that motivated me to get back into blogging. His tips have been great.

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

             That’s great news.

  • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com/ Patricia Zell

    My goal is to fully experience the life that Christ came to bring us (life more abundant than the loss, death, and destruction the thief brings–John 10:10). Add that to my determination to love God with everything I have and to love my neighbor as I love myself–today will be sweet and so will the future.

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Love God. Love your neighbor. That sounds familiar. Go for it, Patricia, and I’ll join you in that goal.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       To make this more specific, what does that look like in your day to day life?

      • http://www.godsabsolutelove.com/ Patricia Zell

        Well, I wake up telling God how much I love Him and how wonderful He is. Through the day, I tell Him everything and ask Him for knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. He is my life and I never let Him forget that. As far as loving my neighbor, I set my heart every day to be kind to everyone I come in contact with–if I am in a position of conflict with anyone, I look for ways to decrease the conflict. Once it is resolved, I do not hold on to any hard feelings–I have confidence in God’s ability to work things out for the good of the whole human race. Finally, I love myself by taking care of me physically (eating well, sleeping enough, etc.), emotionally (giving myself leeway, saying no to overcommitment), and spiritually (telling God how much I love Him and resting in His absolute love for me). My prayer is that everyone in the world will know and understand the power of God’s absolute love for all of us.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           You sound like Brother Lawrence, Patricia!

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I love this, Patricia.

  • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

    Interesting perspective – I’m not sure if I have seriously considered whether I was making decisions based on of fear of the past or passion for the future. Thought provoking post – good work!

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Good sound byte, Michael–fear of the past or passion for the future. That’s easy enough to weigh in a moment of decision. Am I making this decision based on the fear of the past or on a passion for the future?

      • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

        So true. Thanks Neal!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Michael. When I heard about this concept, I had to do some soul searching, only to find that I’ve made many decisions based on fear, wondering why I’ve fizzled out. I’m setting goals differently now.

      • http://www.michaelnichols.org/about Michael Nichols

        Many of us come to the same conclusion when we take time to evaluate our decision-making. Thanks Mary.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

          Sure, Michael.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Me, too. It took me several minutes after reading your post to connect with my true motivations for past decisions. Half the time I don’t think I even realize(d) what is/was driving my decisions.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Sometimes it’s good to stop a moment and ask why.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      It’s the difference between being motivated out of guilt and out of love. Do I buy my wife flowers because I feel like I have to and am afraid not too, or do I buy her flowers because I love her and I want to. It can totally change the same present.

  • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

    Shortly after my high school graduation, my older brother fought and lost a battle to cancer. It was horrible time in my life, and I didn’t know how to process my feelings. So I sought counseling to help me through it. He suggested that I begin journaling my thoughts. The idea was to move those poisonous memories and thoughts down my arm, through my hand, into a Bic pen, and onto the paper, thereby emptying me of the pain. I didn’t know how to write or explain myself. I just started writing. 

    Over the course of many years, the pain subsided and I moved on, but I kept writing and journaling, filling 20 three-ringed notebooks. And over time, writing became my passion. I pursued other ventures in my life, thinking that writing would not monetarily support me. But I was never really happy with my choices because they were based in fear of becoming destitute, rather than trusting God with this gift He gave me. 

    While taking a Critical Thinking and Writing class at a local college, the professor read my blue book assignments and suggested that I do something with my writing. I explained to her that I was already doing some writing at work, but I didn’t know what type of writing it was. “What you’re doing Steve is called technical writing. You’re translating complicated processes into procedures that people can understand. And that’s a career you can pursue.” So after many months of prayer, I quit my job and enrolled in a full-time masters degree program in technical communications at a university. And when I completed my schooling, God provided me with a new career as a technical writer for a great company. 

    When I look back on how God grew me into a writer and I rejected the idea, I realize that I based my decision on fear rather than faith. Had I trusted Him with His gift to me, I would have saved myself many years of searching for the “right” career and moved forward with a writing career. 

    • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

      Wow!  Great testimony, Steve.  Thanks for sharing!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I think a lot of us who are bent toward the arts make this kind of decision. Of course we have to consider economic realities, but we also have to consider the way God made us. I’ll never make a lot of money at what I do. But I’m living my dream. And that’s priceless.

      • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

        I agree. 

    • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

      It’s amazing how God empowers us in our weakness. What a great God! My wife has been going through a challenging time in her life, and she has recently had people encourage her to start writing songs. She hasn’t committed to it yet, but I can tell she’s been thinking about it. I’m excited to see what happens from it!

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I love your story Steve.

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Steve,
      Thanks for taking the time to share your story—very powerful!

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    Some of my work decisions were based on fear. At one time, I switched companies for fear of the changes that were coming at the current employer. It also looked like it would be a better career choice.

    It didn’t work out the way it looked. The new job floundered and I was let go. 

    But I recovered and landed the job that I am currently employed at while I am working towards my goal.

    That goal is to inspire others and move them forward. I’m moving towards it and can’t wait until it becomes our main income source.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       That’s a great future-oriented goal, Joe.

    • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

      I think it was Dave Ramsey who said that FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. 

      • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

        That’s a great acrostic for fear.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         Wow, perfect.

  • http://www.ChristianFaithAtWork.com/ Chris Patton

    Thanks for the post, Mary.  You really have me thinking.  Like Michael, I have never thought about my decisions or motivations from that perspective.  

    I have a lot of thinking to do!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Think away, Chris! Let us know what you come up with.

  • http://www.BrianJones.com/ Brian Jones

    “Evaluate those times is your life when you reacted out of fear” – that’s an incredibly important point. I can’t tell you how many times I missed a great opportunity because I was afraid to fail. It’s about pride, really. At least for me. Wonder if that’s the case for others too…

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       You’re onto something, Brian. There also can be a root of perfectionism in that fear. We don’t try new things because we fear we won’t be perfect at it.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Good insight, Brian. I hadn’t thought about the pride element while reading and processing this post. But that certainly is a factor for me too … my fear of failure, fear of disappointing others, fear of looking foolish. All of that is pride dressed in different costumes.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Mary, Randy’s always seemed insightful (and humorous) to me. Your insights based on ya’ll’s conversation are wise and helpful. I just released my debut novel, “Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes,” this week and fear would have held me back from that venture. The desire to honor Christ propelled me forward at times when I would have shrunk back in fear. I now move forward with the same energy in marketing the book with the desire, as you shared in your example, to give back to the Lord and others with greater acts of generosity. Good start for the morning.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Amen to that, TNeal. Every day is a blessed adventure.

  • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

    Is there a third path we sometimes take?  Not fear of something in the past, but fear of something in the future?  Fear of failure can be paralyzing, and keep us from reaching for the prize that is before us.  I think in work contexts this leads to stagnation; to coasting.  What it doesn’t do is establish and position us for success.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Yes, but what is deeper than that? The next question would be, “Why do I fear failure?” Another: “What do I lose by failing?”

      • http://www.thegeezergadgetguy.com/ Thad Puckett

        Well said.  

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Thanks Thad.

  • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

    Thank you Mary, these are very powerful words… it is all about our focus and vision! Keeping our focus on God will help us avoid making decisions based on fear.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Chris. Glad this post resonated with you.

    • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

      The only fear we will then have is a healthy fear of the Lord.

      • http://chrisvonada.com chris vonada

        Amen to that Daren :-)

  • Henry McLaughlin

    Mary,
    Thank you for sharing this powerful insight. I’ve always been big on goal setting and always pictured them as motivated to move toward something. This blog will help me ensure that my mind and heart are in the right place and moving me toward a future detiny. One of my favorite scriptures is Habakkuk 2:2,3 where God tells us to write the vision–our goal, where do we want to be, waht do we want to accomplish. And then He cousels patience when He says “Wait for it. It will surely come.” For me the waiting is where we take the small steps to achieve out larger goal. We take these steps prayerfully, under His direction and guidance.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Hi Henry. Ah, patience. I’ve made more mistakes by not waiting for the next thing in God’s timing, and preferring my own.

  • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

    There are a lot of small decisions I have made based on fear (didn’t want to get hurt or look foolish), and I ended up watching others (my family mostly) from the sidelines having fun. I missed out. My future goal related to this is to make memories with my family and to take advantages of those opportunities to connect with them.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       That’s a really practical application to the post, Kari.

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Now I need to follow through. That’s the real challenge.

        • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

          Kari –

          I’m in a similar place, myself. To paraphrase Anne Lamott, I’m taking it “Memory by Memory.”  One at a time!

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

             Love that Lamott quote!

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Amen. So true.

  • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

    Recently, I tweeted a quote by Henry Cloud from his book Integrity:  “The good ones learn something and grow to a point where what they are doing can no longer contain all that they have become.”

    It was a quote I relayed to a friend because he was looking at moving into a new ministry job after being very comfortable in another one.  The only thing preventing him from making the move was the unknown in front of him.

    He made the leap!  He is going to be great and God is going to use him greatly.  But fear can hold people in places they have out grown.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I need to read that book. Love Henry Cloud.

      That’s a great point about fear keeping us from growth and new opportunities. I wonder how many of us don’t leap into the unknown (with joy) because we’re wooed by the success of the now.

      • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

        It’s my 2nd favorite of his. My favorite book by Henry Cloud is Necessary Endings.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           I’m reading that right now. Very insightful.

    • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

      “a point where what they are doing can no longer contain all that they have begun” 

      What a beautiful and hopeful description of growing pains!

    • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

      So how do you know when you’ve “[grown] to a point where [you] can no longer contain all [you] have become”? I don’t feel like I have much more to learn at my job, but I don’t know if I’m at that place where I should start looking for what’s next.

      • http://www.alslead.com/ Dave Anderson

        Rob,

        For me it was when I was content and happy knowing my job well.  But, I began to realize I was moving from contentment to restlessness.  The reason:  I was no longer challenged.  I need to be challenged to be fully engaged.

        A great book that I just mentioned above is Henry Cloud’s Necessary Endings.  Based on what you shared, this book may help you a lot.

        Also you can check out my review of another book 48 Days to The Work You Love, by Dan Miller.  

        http://andersonleadershipsolutions.com/resources/#lifechangebooks

        • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

          Thanks for the tips–I’ll check these resources out.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Wow. Great quote, Dave. I have several of Dr. Cloud’s books, but not that one.

    • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

      I’ve been reading his books for years…back when he was with the Minirth Mier Clinic. I’m reading one of his books now called “Safe People” with a group of people at church. What I’ve learned so far (which has kept me up some nights) is that unsafe people isolate themselves, become their own counselor, and live each day in fear. That’s why we need people in our lives to help us have a clear sense of reality and the world around us. 

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         Safe People is a great book.

  • http://www.authorcynthiaherron.com/ Cynthia Herron

    Mary, I love Randy’s helpful hints and teaching methods, too! (He always shares on the ACFW loops about those “pesky” little writing quandaries.)

    I think one of the keys for me has been to approach my craft seriously. I always knew where I wanted to be, but I had to wait for the Lord’s timing to be right to see some of my goals come to fruition. As I’ve grown in my craft and writing career, I can see where fear has stymied me at times and those are the periods I’ve briefly stagnated. When I’ve allowed Him total control over my life, those are the times where He’s blown my socks off with the miraculous.

    Thanks so much for this post today! I particularly liked the point about us maintaining momentum in moving toward our goals and moving toward them for the right reasons.

    Blessings!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Cynthia. Yes, so important to approach the writing craft with diligence.

      • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

        I agree with that. The world needs better content!

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           That’ll preach, Daren.

  • Dan Stratton

    Great insight, Mary. I really enjoyed the insight. Having a background in physics, I liken this to gravity. The further away from a body, the less attraction it has. So, as you brilliantly state, the further we get away from that which we don’t want to become, the less hold it has on us and the more likely we are to wander aimlessly. However, if we want to ‘become’ something, the closer we get to it, the more we are drawn to it. I knew this, but hadn’t thought about it in this way.
    Dan
    daninfocus.com

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Love that, Dan. I think YOU should write a blog post about this from a physics perspective.

      • http://www.struggletovictory.com/ Kari Scare

        Great analogy relating to gravity. I agree with Mary. You would have a unique perspective to offer that would connect with a lot of people.

      • http://www.daninfocus.com/ Dan Stratton

        Thank you for the idea, Mary. I will write it this week.

      • http://www.daninfocus.com/ Dan Stratton

        Thank you for the inspiration, Mary. I did as you suggested. I hope you enjoy reading it. http://www.dwstratton.com/2012/03/the-gravity-of-habits/

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           Great article! Everyone should read it. This could be a kernel for a book on habits. Well done.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       You just solidified this concept for me, Dan. Thank you!

      • http://www.daninfocus.com/ Dan Stratton

        Thank you, Michele. I elaborated on the concept more today. http://www.dwstratton.com/2012/03/the-gravity-of-habits/

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Dan,
      Great illustration.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    I always enjoy your insights, Mary. I’ve been a follower of Randy for some time and get his newsletter regularly. He usually has some thought provoking ideas to get your mind going.

    This is an interesting concept. While fear can be a great motivator, it loses it’s ability to motivate the further we move from it. This makes sense and puts goal setting in a new light.

    I’ve used a similar concept to set goals for years. It works this way.

    We need to write out our goals in a positive manner. The human mind can only think of things in the positive. If we try to think of things in the negative, our mind has to create a positive image and then destroy it.

    Let me give you an example.

    If you want to go on a diet, you’ll probably make a list of things they can’t have. So in your mind, you are saying to yourself, “I can’t have brownies, cake, and ice cream.”

    So in your mind’s eye you are seeing pictures of brownies, cake, and ice cream all day long with red circles and lines through them. Eventually those pictures overwhelm you and you give in, usually with a vengeance.

    To create an eating plan that works, you need to create positive images of  delicious food that will get you to your goals. Picturing a delicious Turkey burger on a whole wheat bun surrounded by a huge salad and an apple for desert will get much further than thinking in the negative.

    I think this is how we usually think about fear… I can’t do this or I can’t do that. I know for myself, this has really changed my view of God and Christianity. Instead of thinking about a list of things I can’t do, I think about things that are pleasing to God. It’s a subtle thing, but it really makes a huge difference in my daily walk.

    • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

      Great image about food. I really think that’s why my last diet failed. Every meal started to become depressing!

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         If only we could eat chocolate without impunity.

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      An apple for dessert?  I cannot create a positive image out of that one, no matter how I try.  *smile*

      Thank God that the Holy Spirit can do all things in me!

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        I was going to put Sugar Free Jello, instead of the Apple, but I had a picture of a mound of sugar in my head when I was writing it… Maybe zero calorie jello will work….

        • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

          An apple has 100 calories. Creme brule sugarfree jello pudding has 60. I’m going for the pudding. But I get what you’re saying.

          • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

            Y—all are making me hungry.

          • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

            Barry, I didn’t know that “y’all” up in Northern Virginia knew how to speak Southern.  I’m just outside metro-Richmond . Glad to see another Virginian here (along with John Tiller).

          • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

            But chocolate has absolutely no calories, right?

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

             That’ll preach, Steve.

        • Okuntemple

           stepxy

          I had been sick for years now, i lost all of my possession due to this
          illness, every member of my family became tired of me cos to them i was now  a liability, i
          bless the day i got introduced to this fellow at okuntemple@gmail.com when
          he requested for 350 dollars to buy the items for the spell to cure
          me of my illness  i felt  he was a spam then i told the person who introduced me to
           him and she said
          to me that she paid 500 dollars to save her marriage so i was convinced
          to pay the money and i did two days after , he
          cast the spell i was  cured  of all of the diseases that i was
          attacked with. And also he said to me that my wife that had ran away will
          be disturbed to come back home to be with me and exactly what really took
          place…This man at okuntemple@gmail.com is just so good at his spell work.

      • Okuntemple

         stepxy

        I had been sick for years now, i lost all of my possession due to this
        illness, every member of my family became tired of me cos to them i was now  a liability, i
        bless the day i got introduced to this fellow at okuntemple@gmail.com when
        he requested for 350 dollars to buy the items for the spell to cure
        me of my illness  i felt  he was a spam then i told the person who introduced me to
         him and she said
        to me that she paid 500 dollars to save her marriage so i was convinced
        to pay the money and i did two days after , he
        cast the spell i was  cured  of all of the diseases that i was
        attacked with. And also he said to me that my wife that had ran away will
        be disturbed to come back home to be with me and exactly what really took
        place…This man at okuntemple@gmail.com is just so good at his spell work.

      • Guest

         stepxy

        I had been sick for years now, i lost all of my possession due to this
        illness, every member of my family became tired of me cos to them i was now  a liability, i
        bless the day i got introduced to this fellow at okuntemple@gmail.com when
        he requested for 350 dollars to buy the items for the spell to cure
        me of my illness  i felt  he was a spam then i told the person who introduced me to
         him and she said
        to me that she paid 500 dollars to save her marriage so i was convinced
        to pay the money and i did two days after , he
        cast the spell i was  cured  of all of the diseases that i was
        attacked with. And also he said to me that my wife that had ran away will
        be disturbed to come back home to be with me and exactly what really took
        place…This man at okuntemple@gmail.com is just so good at his spell work.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Drat, now all I’m thinking about is brownies, cake and ice cream.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        The positive and negative thought idea brings up an analogy in writing. It reminds me of the difference between the passive voice and the active voice. While I have a hard time deciphering between the two at times, when I edit my passive sentences and recreate them in the active voice, my writing comes alive.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

          Well said, and an excellent analogy.

    • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

      To stretch the analogy, an apple looks a lot more appealing after lunch when there’s not a brownie (or brownie mix) to be found in the house!

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        To me, apples area lot more appealing (pun intended) when they are in a pie than all by themselves!

  • http://peanutbuttercupmoment.tumblr.com/ TJ

    I love it when I get to read a post from Mary DeMuth.  Granted, this is the first post I’ve read, but I can truly say I always come away challenged and changed.  =)  This was thought-provoking for me.  Thanks!

    I think my problem is not that I make fear-based decisions; it’s that I don’t make any decisions because of fear…which, I guess, is a fear-based decision.  I need to stop being afraid to dream.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       TJ you are my new best friend. Thanks for your kind words.

      Yes, dream away. God is there.

  • Tammie Edington Shaw

    I took a part-time job a few years ago out of fear that my family needed the money. I still have it and it drains me and takes me away from my goals of writing. Although, I believe we should work faithfully in any job and God has used me there is ways I wouldn’t have believed, I struggle how to shift to my passions. Thanks for your post, Mary. Your words encouraged me as a writer on a critique at a conference and I have them posted above my computer.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I’m glad my words encouraged! Oh to have all my words be encouraging!

      It’s hard to sideline our passions, isn’t it?

  • http://tanyadennisbooks.com/ Tanya

    Thanks for this. You’ve definitely challenged me to introspection and reevaluation of my motives.

    I do a lot of reacting and almost always regret it. I frequently feel behind and then, out of fear, jump in too deep. This leaves me stressed and spread far too thin. The repercussions extend to my family, the quality of my work and my ability to keep commitments. I don’t want that.
    A future goal: Make my goals personal rather than simply following the dictations of experts. 

    It is important to consider others’ experiences and advice, but this is my life and I need to decide what is right for me and my career rather than blindly following rules and prescriptions.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Yes, I’ve fallen prey to experts too. I have chased them even when they weren’t right for me. I’ve learned the hard way to trust my gut.

  • http://exciramedia.com Shannon Steffen

    Another awesome read – and at a time where so many people need to read this.

    Anthony Robbins uses a conditioning method where he has you look into the future – 5, 10, 20 years – on two different paths. The first path is what will take place if you do not change your current behaviors and goals. The second path is what will take place if you do change today’s behaviors and actions towards to the goals of your dreams.

    This is a deep exercise but, as you can see, he never mentions looking into the past. That is because it should be left there. 

    Would we not make it to the end of the book if we keep reading the same chapters over and over again?

    Food for thought. :)

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       That’s an interesting perspective. I’ll have to think about that.

  • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

    Rather than regret, I’m evaluating a life of perfectionism from a perspective of curiosity. 

    As I finish up my MA and move into a PhD program, I’m discovering that my drive to over-achieve has come with an unexpectedly high price tag.

    I started my MA program 7 years ago. Rather than seek outside guidance to establish a reasonable norm for “good enough” performance, I did what I’ve always done: perform so far above and beyond expectations that I was above reproach. I was lauded for doing PhD quality work already.

    However, all these years later, I’ve actually lost the credit for several early classes because I’ve not finished the program. The reason I’ve not finished? I’ve put so much effort into over-doing.

    Ironically, the ultimate goal of my efforts has been, literally, nothing. I’ve worked like a madwoman to avoid criticism. Nothing more. So when my herculean efforts were over, for a particular project/paper/class, and nobody said anything negative, I felt “successful.” 

    I’ve been so fearful of criticism that I’ve striven for nothing and considered myself successful when I’ve achieved it.

    A dear friend/mentor has called me “the hardest working person” she knows for several years. At the start of 2012, I realized this title isn’t who I want to be. So my future goal is to work hard enough to finish while simultaneously developing/expressing my creativity and influence.

    • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

      I love how you are applying YOUR truths to this post.  I wrote a post at my blog today about how everyone doesn’t have the same truths, (other than THE  way, the truth and the life).  But one person may be called to work harder, while another -like you – may be called to work enough.  

      Great minds thinking alike today Cheri!

      Here is my post, if you wanted to read it.
      http://www.chattykelly.com/2012/03/when-god-tells-you-something-different.html 

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         That’s a good point, Kelly. God has us all on very unique us-shaped journeys.

      • http://cherionethingivelearned.blogspot.com/ Cheri Gregory

        REALLY enjoyed your post, Kelly! You’re so right — God calls us each based on what He knows we need.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Sometimes the word ENOUGH can be extremely powerful. Writers (the field I’m in) succeed or don’t succeed based on this word. No piece of writing is ever perfect. Eventually you have to decide to hand it in.

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    This is a great post. I think I’ll need a bit more time to be able to answer this question correctly. I’m definitely going to have a good hard think about this in the morning.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Have fun thinking, Daren.

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    I like the image of creating wealth to avoid poverty vs creating wealth to enable generosity. That’s a good motivation.

    I just wrote in my own blog about becoming the person you’ll be in five years: http://www.robsorbo.com/2012/03/power-of-decision.html

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks for the link, Rob. Kudos to you for choosing the path of peace.

      Ironically, my hubby did go to DTS. :)

  • Connie Almony

    What a powerful thought. Moving farther away from what motivates us. It reminds me of the work I did as a counselor with lots of people trying to NOT be like their parents–even the good things. I used to tell them their parents were still ruling their decisions, just in a different way. But I like these thoughts even better. I wish I’d heard them when I was still counseling. Thank you for sharing it. Moving forward now :o)!!!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       That’s so true, Connie. I’ve found that people who don’t want to repeat the past often live in reaction to it, keeping them fully tethered there.

  • Jack Lynady

    Great read Mary. I like how u contrasted moving away from fear verses moving towards desire. I experience that tension when I fear the unknown verses embracing Mystery as part of my Journey. I love that He uses Mystery as an invitation to walk more intimately with Him. Miss u. P.S. The gang and I are cooking up something. We’ll fill u in when we get a little more legs under it. ;)

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Cool news about the gang! I can’t wait to hear what you’ve formulated.

      Amen to mystery!

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    Mary, you are right on. God calls us not to live a life of fear, but to have no fear if we are in him. Then we can set goals that will truly propel us forward. *It sounds easier than it really is. But I am working on it.*

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Yes, it does sound “easy.” :) But it’s hard to be fearless sometimes.

  • http://goinswriter.com/ Jeff Goins

    I regret my decision to wait to write.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      But we’re all thankful you decided to. Keep at it, Jeff. God will honor your faithfulness.

    • Jim Martin

      Jeff, I read your blog regularly and have heard you speak a number of times regarding waiting to write.  At the same time, your transparency regarding this is powerfully encouraging.  

      Because of what you have written regarding this, I have realized that I also have waited for just the right circumstances to do a few significant things.  Your comments regarding your own wait have encouraged me to move ahead and not wait.

      Thanks!

    • http://runningwithhorses.wordpress.com/ Steve Hawkins

      But now you’re writing, and that’s a good thing. 

  • http://www.DavidRobertsons.com/about David Robertson

    This is a great post! Making a decision for any negative motivator may be good initially. Fear, discomfort, poverty or any negative motivator gets the work done, but that is only a departure. For every negative departure I’ve learned there must me a positive destination.  Otherwise you’ll leave the fear or discomfort & have no where to go after that. 

    Maybe we need both? It’s almost that the negative motivator is the extra thrust we need to take the bold action & after we’ve acted we need the extra fuel to keep us moving in the right direction.

    What do you think?

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I do agree that a negative motivator helps, but it won’t inevitably get us to achieve our goals fully. For instance, I wrote the book Building the Christian Family You Never Had where I explore what it means to be a pioneer parent. It’s good to recognize that you don’t want to repeat the past mistakes, but that recognition isn’t enough. For me? I had to run headlong toward Jesus, asking (begging) Him to help me parent differently. Because I had no positive example, He had to be it. Does that make sense?

      • http://www.DavidRobertsons.com/about David Robertson

        Absolute sense Mary. 

        In another scenario, for something like building a business or leaving a job to pursue a dream, negative motivators are a must have too. If someone has a secure job with comfortable pay and a comfortable schedule, then it’s not likely that they will make a change to pursue a dream (although it’s been done). However that same person who’s company is hurting, who’s pay is not all great & who works uhealthy hours has a huge negative thrust to launch them into the pursuit of a dream. After they launch out though they must have the future vision & dream to chase. 

        I think, even in different situations, we probably are agreeing that running from something is not a long-lived strategy & we must find something to run toward. 

        I was simply bringing a different point of view, devils advocate if you will.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           No that’s good. I appreciate it. As Randy said, if there’s a tiger in your living room, there is high motivation to go to another room and shut the door.

  • ogamba

    This is a great article, I liked the part “The past is gone. It cannot hold you. Present worries are poor
    motivators and eventually will fizzle in their ability to shape you for
    the long term.” when we live in the past we lose focus…..

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Loved that line.

    • Jim Martin

      I liked this line as well.  Thanks.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I can say that because I have lived in the past!

  • http://www.dennisbrooke.com/ Dennis Brooke

    Mary–Moving toward the future is great for the short term as well as the long term. During tough times when I’ve been dwelling on what I’m “fleeing from” I found the best medicine was focusing on near term goals that would get me to that long term future. Much more productive.
    And I agree about Randy being a guy who challenges and changes. I attended a “Tiger Marketing” seminar of his years ago and am using that to help shape my own future.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      That’s a good point about short term goals leading to long term goals.

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    I believe out of fear have my wife and I lived in a state where we hate the weather. Out of fear have I stayed at a work situation that is negative and affects the things that are important to me (ministry opportunities). That’s why we’re moving and I’m moving to a better work!

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      Kimanzi,
      Awesome! What is the countdown at today? How many days?

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        299 days left!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Hooray, Kimanzi! Way to change!

      • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

        Thanks Mary!

  • http://twitter.com/gingertabot Ginger Tabot

    This topic speaks to me deeply because I’ve made so many decisions based on fear, and its had real physical effects on me including trouble sleeping, constant adrenaline, stomach aches, and fatigue.  I have had a real breakthrough recently learning to let go of my fear and anxiety over past regrets and uncertainty about the future.  In it’s place, I have made a commitment to trust God, that as I follow Him and set my eyes on knowing Him and becoming the person that He desires for me to be, I am finding true freedom.  I am sleeping better.  I am more relaxed.  I feel His peace, and I hope to help others find this same freedom by sharing my experience.  Thank you for pointing us in the right direction!

    • Jim Martin

      Ginger, that you for sharing part of your story here.  You are so right.  Making decisions out of fear can result in physical symptoms.  (I have also experienced some of these when fear is overwhelming.)  

      Congratulations on your breakthrough!  This is wonderful.  You have moved on through this.  It is great to hear how reliance and dependence on God has made such a difference in your life.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Amen!!! That’s great news, Ginger.

  • http://sidekickgraphics.com/ George Gregory

    I held off buying real estate for years because I was afraid of the illiquid nature of real estate. When my fear of missing out became greater than my fear of the hassles and the size of the numbers, I bought. In the summer of 2007. Both were reactions, and both decisions were bad ones. 
    Whenever I’ve made a decision in the pursuit of a stated goal, however, the outcome is usually good. 
    Fear is a reaction, and part of the natural, amoral world. Choice – proactivity – even moral truth – is something larger, better, essentially creative, and even spiritual in essence. I have, now, stated goals and a much better sense of where I’m going. I’m a little nervous, but excited and anticipating a great future. Thanks for a great post!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I love that: proactivity is creative…

  • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

    This is exactly where writing out my personal life plan has helped me. It gives me goals to shoot for and to move toward them. I have lost 17 lbs since October because I want to be as healthy as I can be. I want to look good for my wife and be around and active in my kids’ lives. 
    I loved the quote from Oswald Chambers. I have been going through My Utmost for His Highest again and I am blown away by the insights he wrote. 

    • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

      17 lbs. is fantastic—especially in Youth Ministry!

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        Thanks! I know how much I sit during the day doing office work and I had already begun to gain weight and I wanted to put an end to it before it “became a problem.”

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Congrats on the weight loss, Brandon!

      • http://brandonweldy.wordpress.com Brandon Weldy

        Thanks! I feel great!

  • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

    Most of the professional decisions I regret have to do with saying “yes” to something I should have said “no” to. Afraid of disappointing others, I gritted my teeth and plowed ahead. I’ve been working diligently this year to make goal-driven decisions and not fear or pressure-based ones.

    • Jim Martin

      Michele, do I ever relate to your comment.  I also regret saying “yes” to something I should have said “no” to.  In fact, at times I have known that I should say “no” but for whatever reason, chose to say “yes.”  

      I am more conscious now of the implications of the decisions I make and whether or not they are in harmony with my direction in life.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         I do that too, Jim. Learning to change.

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        I’m glad I’m not the only one. :)

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       That’s a good point, Michele. Fear of what other people think is a hard one to overcome.

  • Randy Ingermanson

    Hi Mary, it was great talking about all this with you in Dallas in January! 

    I’m sure I mentioned then that I learned this notion of positive motivation most recently in a series of webinars that my friend and mentor Perry Marshall ran recently. And he got the idea from someone else. And now that I think about it, I’m pretty sure that the first place I saw it was in THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE by Robert Fritz.

    It’s worth saying that negative motivations do get quick results. If you’re afraid of the tiger in your living room, you’ll be strongly motivated to move to a different room–as fast as possible. But the further you get from danger, the weaker the motivation. So negative motivators will get you out of the danger zone, but they generally don’t take you to nirvana.

    That’s why positive motivators are so powerful. The closer you get to your vision of your future, the more possible it seems and the more it attracts you. 

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Randy! And good word about the tiger. I’m just so thankful you’re my friend.

  • http://www.setongod.com/ Joshua Tolan

    When I look forward to what I want my life to be like, I want to be doing God’s will for my life. The problem is that I have no idea what that looks like! I am going to college next year and I don’t even know what to major in….

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      If it makes you feel any better, Joshua, I’m 40 years old and sometimes I’m still not quite sure what that looks like. :) There’s no rush. Savor today and this time in your life, keep an open heart and mind, be unafraid to try and fail. As long as you’re looking up, you’re not going to miss Him.

      • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

         You are a young looking 40, Michele! :)

        • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

          Haha. I think I love you. ;)

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

             Yay for mutual admiration!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       It’ll come, Joshua. One way to look at it is decide what you think the world’s greatest need is and cross that with your deepest passion.

  • Dream eHarlequin Host

    Great post Mary! I think I’ve made a lot of decisions based on fear, and looking back, those are the things I regret the most. It’s a good reminder for future decision making.

    • Jim Martin

      I can point to several decisions I made where fear was very much at work.  That doesn’t make for a satisfying or confident decision.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Interesting correlation between fearful decisions and regret.

  • http://theordainedbarista.com/ Barry Hill

    Mary,
    Great post.  I think all of us can relate to making decisions out of fear, and I love the 5 year exercise that you give at the end of the post.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Barry. I hate to think how many snap decisions I made out of fear.

  • http://www.momentsofgracelotr.com/ Anne Marie

    Mary, thank you for this post. My goal is to publish my first book and then just keep writing, publishing and reading more and more. That is true bliss!

    God bless, Anne Marie :)

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I’m living your bliss. It is an adventure! Enjoy!

  • Jim Martin

    Mary, this is an outstanding post!  In particular, I appreciate what you write in #2.  I love the following line:  “But living your life in light of the future will change your perspective.”  Thanks!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       You are most welcome, Jim. I’m glad point two blessed you.

  • Maria Humphreys

    No coinsidences…so much of what I have been reading the past year or more all comes back to this…the power of positive intention. My goal, to finally get off my duff and stop READING about what I should be doing to become an estiblished nature photographer and just DO IT already!  :)

    • Jim Martin

      Good for you, Maria.  I like the way you express what you have been reading: “the power of positive intention.”

    • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

       Doing it poorly is better than not doing it at all. Doing it poorly leads to improving in what you do. I applaud your willingness to start.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Yes, take awesome pictures!

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    Mary, I had coffee with a friend this afternoon and, thanks to your article and other people’s comments, helped him process a decision he had to make. The decision only affects this evening’s plans but the conversation reiterated your practical advice. No matter which choice he made, would it be based on fear of the past or passion for the future? A good word this morning has led to practical application this afternoon. Thanks–Tom

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       That is super cool, Tom! Glad to be of help.

  • http://twitter.com/GoalsOnTrack Harry Che

    Great advice. This idea of backward planning is very effective. There is a post on my blog about this technique explained in more detail: 
    http://www.goalsontrack.com/blog/2012/02/21/using-backward-planning-to-set-goals-2/

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thanks Harry!

  • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

    So much good content here, Mary!  My family’s entire ministry is based on encouraging people to look beyond their past and present circumstances toward what God can do with their lives. 

    In this post, you give great practical advice about how to do just that!  Love it!  

    This is also great follow-up to Michael’s recent recent podcast on the relationship between vision and productivity.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thanks John. I have been meaning to listen to that podcast. Thanks for reminding me. :)

  • http://www.heartyourchurch.com/ Jason Stambaugh

    Chasing something is always better than running away. It’s proactive, not reactive. What about for people who can’t imagine a future without running from something? A lot of people I know struggle with this. 

    What are some carrots we can use to snap ourselves out of this kind of thinking?

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I think it has to be more than success, but meaning. Just wanting to have extra money doesn’t really motivate me to change as much as the desire to be more generous.

  • http://matthewkreider.com Matthew Kreider

    The lights are out here and I’m sitting on the couch. But this piece has more than enough watts tonight to help me see.

    Thankful for this: “Present worries are poor motivators and eventually will fizzle in their ability to shape you for the long term.”

    Vision needs light. I see that here.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Glad to shed light, Matthew.

  • http://twitter.com/Isabel_Buechsel Isabel Buechsel

    Thank you for this, it is very practical, straightforward, and of course very helpful.  The part where you encourage us to “paint the picture of you joyfully pursuing what brings you deep satisfaction. Then place that dream in God’s hands, asking Him to woo you forward” is something that I will definitely put into action.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       I’m so glad the imagery helped, Isabel.

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  • Tinaleeluvsmusic

    I’m rebuilding my life after some setbacks due to a spine injury. Right now my goal is a simple one, to be able to clean my own house. My motivations are having a clean environment for my family & wanting to be able to have friends & family over to the house anytime we want. Recently I made the descision to do extra babysitting to try to bring in more income. This descision was made from fear of not having enough. It set me back on my goal because I had taken on too much. I’m just now catching up from the consequence of that descision which was made in late January, early February. Thanks for putting a spotlight of this kind of descision making. It’ll help me to not make that mistake again(:

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Wow, I’m sorry to hear about your injury. Ouch. Cleaning your house and the positive goal behind it is commendable and doable.

  • http://www.justcris.com/ Cris Ferreira

    I think one of the worst decisions we can make out of fear is giving up. Sometimes we have to let go because it is the right thing to do, but we must not do it just because we are afraid to keep going, keep pushing forward, or because we are afraid of what people might say.
    Envisioning the future is an excellent way to get past our fears and keep going after the ultimate goal.
    Thank you for this inspired advice, Mary.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Cris. I also think your implication is that tenacity is very important.

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  • http://HappinessInternational.org/ Kenneth Benjamin

    Hi Mary,

    Great article. I’d like to add a little that I think might be helpful.

    Fear comes with two friends, uncertainty and doubt.

    One of the best ways to reduce fear and move forward is by having a clear vision of both where you are going and, even more importantly, why.

    Self-awareness is the first step, knowing who you are and what matters to you. 

    Then you can move to understanding why what you want aligns with your values.

    Together this trio of Who, What, and Why gives you a way to know that how you will move forward, your plan, will align with your purpose in life.

    That gives you the certainty you need and removes the doubt. All that is left is the fear – fear of the unknown – and anticipation of fulfilling your dreams.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Self awareness is so key.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    Thanks for the different perspective this morning Mary! I have a dream of becoming a writer (but alas it’s in a dormant state for sometime now.) I wish to re-kindle it this morning. I have evaded this with lame excuses due to fear and unbelief.  I have just read the book ” The war of art ” by Steven Pressfield. It provided the right tonic to aspiring creatives like me. 

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Good book. Another great one to get you inspired is Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.

      • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

        Thanks for the suggestion Mary! I will be llloking for it.

        Subject: [mhyatt] Re: Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           If you write novels, try Stephen King’s On Writing.

          • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

            Thanks Mary! I am more interested in writing non-fiction. I feel that’s where my strength. However, thanks so much for information. I am passing to one of my friends Visvanathan who is obsessed with writing fiction. Thanks for responding with individual care.

            Subject: [mhyatt] Re: Why You Should Be Living for the Future Now

          • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

             I write both, so I have favorite writing books on both sides.

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  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    Randy, this was so good I had to tweet it… “When we make decisions out of fear, we eventually won’t progress.” Excellent! Thanks for sharing, Mike!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Thanks Shannon. Glad it’s share-able. :)

      • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

        Girl, everything you write is so fabulous. Sometimes when I’m writing I hear your voice in my head encouraging me with various advice I’ve heard from you over the years so I’m not surprised you came up with a great quote!

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

           You are my new best friend. Thanks. :)

  • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

    Mary, I’ve been thinking about this post all week. I walked away from it wondering how much I could give to missions. After a lot of thought and prayer, I have decided to write an e-book explaining the importance of missions. I want to charge $2 for the book and I’ll donate all of the revenues to some missions organizations that are doing great work around the world.

    This is all in my head right now, but I’m working hard on getting it onto paper. I don’t know what a reasonable timeline is for something like this, but I hope to get it done sometime this year.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

       Rob, what a great idea. Here’s a tutorial I wrote on my website about how to download an ebook in 7 steps. Might be helpful. http://www.marydemuth.com/2011/06/publish-your-e-book-in-seven-simple-steps/

      And since I’m passionate about missions (and used to be a missionary), let me know when the book is live and I’ll be happy to feature it on my blog.

      • http://www.robsorbo.com/p/welcome-from-disqus.html Rob Sorbo

        That’s awesome! My parents are missionaries, so I spent my growing-up years in Indonesia. 

        Thanks for the resource about making an e-book. I was a little overwhelmed about how to get started.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

          I’m glad to be of help. I haven’t been to Indonesia (yet), but I loved Singapore and Malaysia. Great food. Amazing people.

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