I am not spontaneous. What I am is most certainly a creature of habit. My business grants me all the excitement I can handle and makes it incredibly important to me that I establish and maintain what little routine my profession allows. Ergo, I take the same exit at least three times a week because, when I am able to work in my home state, I always handle my business in the same area of the city. My favorite grocery store is there – yes, I have a favorite grocery store because I am mostly an adult. My usual running route is there. My friends are there. My favorite restaurant and my favorite coffee house are there – beckoning me towards my next visit.
You can understand how I got confused recently when I had business locally and yet elsewhere – somewhere other than the familiar habitat of Hillcrest. I was busy coordinating schedules with an associate via phone when I realized that I took my habitual exit instead of the one I intended to take! Instantly, I was attacked with one-way streets and red lights all intent on making me late for my next meeting. I gritted my teeth and wondered “what is wrong with me?”
As it turns out, nothing is wrong with me. I am human and, for humans, breaking old habits is hard. As professionals, responding to criticism, developing new procedures and adapting to new routines is difficult, too. I have worked diligently for months in the revamping of my business – Autumn Smith Inspires. I have prayed and had others pray with me. I have teamed up with some of the greatest professionals in the industry and I truly believe that NOW is the time to relaunch with greater purpose and more focus.
Focus is not easy for me. It takes me no time at all to forget what I’m doing. Keep shiny things out of my office – PLEASE. And not just shiny objects, keep things that spin away from me too. I don’t even have a fancy spinning office chair anymore. I know my limitations and I adapt to my environment accordingly. As professionals, that’s something we all need to do. We all should create environments that facilitate focus. Otherwise, we may find ourselves taking familiar exits and missing where we really need to be – missing opportunities. It would be terrible to forfeit our potential to grow our businesses or improve our relationships when we choose instead to surrender into the security of our familiar old habits.
When God calls us to act and leads us in new and unexpected directions, we must be purposeful in our pursuit to focus on His plan. It’s super easy to get distracted by phone calls and scheduling conflicts and take the wrong exit. Our commitment to following Christ’s direction needs to be intentional. I like the scripture that says, “No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him” (2 Timothy 2:4, ESV). FOCUS.
As it turns out, I did find my way back on track and made it to my meeting on time. Praise the LORD! But it would have been so much easier had I just paid more attention in the beginning and taken the correct exit first. We will all get distracted from time to time, but let’s agree to make a diligent effort to keep our focus on God and His leadership in all areas of our lives – personal and professional. Trust me, really great things can happen when you break away from old habits and trust God’s direction.