Human Interest

Renew in Quarter Two

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“The best laid schemes of mice and men Go often askew, And leave us nothing but grief and pain, For promised joy!”-Robert Burns. In his 1785 poem, To A Mouse, this Scottish poet gave thoughtful consideration of the plight of a mouse as he realized he had just ploughed its nest, leaving the rodent vulnerable for the winter. Many of us have found ourselves causing or experiencing unexpected consequences that impact our plans and preparations for the year. To begin the year, we made declarations about our intentions to make this year the best year ever. All the sudden, life happened, and three months have passed. April begins the second quarter of the year. At times, our best intentions are not quite enough to get through the vicissitudes of the marketplace, politics, or life in general. This year has brought with it many national, local and personal tragedies. These challenges can, sometimes, cause us to break away from our plans and processes as we scramble for a reasonable response. So, what happens if you don’t get things back on track? Without effective intervention you could find yourself repeating the same situations you intended to overcome this year. There is always the danger of loosing hope that looms large whenever the frustrations of our failing plans occur. Some people are not prepared to face adversity head on. Some of us have experienced so many interruptions until we simply begin to expect the worse. That is not good. Not to worry, April is the season of renewal. Considering this reality, I find comfort in my favorite scripture, “Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”- (Proverbs 19:21 NIV.) If you ever call my phone and get my voicemail, you will find that I always end my message with this powerful scripture. When good (God) plans seem to go awry, they qualify for renewal.

In my book, TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR LIFE: 10 Concepts to Consider, I talk about the need for plans, ideas and intentions to be worthwhile. Success is hard. Failure is even more difficult. So, there is no chance for us to avoid struggle. Therefore, we must ensure that we are struggling to accomplish good goals and God plans. Once you have established that your plans are worthy of your pursuit, you are justified in making the effort to renew your commitment to their fulfillment when things get off track. Sometimes, things will get off track. There is no need to worry or over-react to the unexpected interruptions that seem to destroy your plans and threaten your success. It’s all a part of the process. The most important thing you can do is respond well. Animals do it all the time. Just like Burns’ mouse, sometimes we must temporarily improvise while circumstances are realigning in our favor. If the plow destroyed the mouse’s living quarters for the winter, surely, it makes sense for him to take refuge in the wall of someone’s home. How can you really blame the mouse? The mouse is not failing, he is thriving and surviving. When your plans seem to be interrupted, don’t despair or think less of yourself. Remember, you are the same person who came up with the original plan. When your original plan was inspired by and aligned with God’s plan and purpose, you are absolutely sitting in the perfect space, always. There is a powerful way to respond to challenges. That power can be found in the Three R’s: Review, Renew, Rejuvenate.

  1. Review your situation and circumstances. Sometimes, we panic and react to the dynamics of what has occurred. Resist the temptation to react. Take time to review your situation and the circumstances that brought you to this point. The quality of your next decision depends upon you having the correct and best information available. Don’t get caught up in the paralysis of analysis. Remember to give careful observation and consideration to the facts and the truth of your situation. There is nothing wrong with finding ways of conducting a formative assessment of your situation. Teachers do it all day long as they attempt to determine if a student is understanding the material in preparation for a big exam. We often call them quizzes. In other words, ask yourself a few pertinent questions about how things are going in with your situation. Look for honest answers. Don’t view things not going well as consignment to failure. Use the review process as feedback to help you make wise choices about how to respond effectively. 
  2. Renew commitment to your plans. Don’t quit so easily. We talked about that in a previous article. Once you see what your barriers are and have an idea about what needs to be done, it is time to recommit. There is tremendous value in intentionally recommitting to a challenged mission. It is like renewing your marriage vows. The original commitment applies, but it was made without the benefit of experiencing the reality of how hard it would be to keep them. Your commitment may have been made with hope, but your recommitment is made with knowledge and experience to back it up. Renewing your commitment will help you to develop a laser focus on exactly what it means to stick to the intent without wavering. It takes energy to maintain a renewed commitment.
  3. Rejuvenate yourself through faith. A great lesson can be learned from Apostle Paul, when he says to the church at Rome “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God…” (Romans 12:2 ESV). Although unexpected issues and circumstances have attempted to cause you to change or abort your plans, don’t give in to it. Make the necessary adjustments on the inside first. Get your mind right. Take back your focus. Shake yourself on the inside by remembering who you are and who inspired you to make your plans in the first place. When you have encountered challenges to your success, you must re-double your energy level by casting off all negativity, doubt and slothfulness. The great gospel singer from Detroit, Vickie Winans, recorded a song called Shake Yourself Loose. I highly recommend that you do.

Burn’s mouse can teach us some valuable lessons if we don’t mind learning from such an unlikely source of wisdom and strength. The mouse was able to accept the reality that his plans and efforts to have shelter for the winter were rudely interrupted through no fault of his own. He never waivered in his commitment to accomplish his goal of having shelter. You have so much more to work with than the mouse. You must remember that you are the same person who came up with your original plans. Furthermore, if your plans were submitted to God, then you must remember He had a purpose that preceded your plans. Your success is God’s idea. You still have more than 70% of the year left to accomplish great things. It is not too late for you to win. Embrace the Three R’s: Review, Renew and Rejuvenate. You are always empowered with a triple threat response to adversity. May this be the most incredible year of your life on purpose.

I am a speaker, trainer and consultant. *KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Inspiring the Audience to embrace their charge. *WORKSHOP TRAINING: Effectively enhancing the skills of your staff. *CONSULTING SERVICES: Coaching and facilitating your planning and management efforts.

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