–  by Anne B. Say


I knew I was frustrated.

Two things gave it away. First, I was clenching my teeth. Second, I was procrastinating. The worst part was I couldn’t seem to do anything about it. Essentially, I was on vacation and I was miserable.

Some things we do so often, or at least often enough, that we can work through the process without much thought or effort. Other times, when we are learning something new, it requires mental energy, physical energy, and self-control.

This particular week I had been on both ends of that spectrum.

While relaxing in the mountains of beautiful North Carolina, my husband and I had the opportunity to do a fair amount of hiking. Having grown up in the mountains, hiking and being in the woods is where I find myself, where I get centered and collected. It doesn’t take much energy. It just seems to happen effortlessly.

We also had the opportunity to try out the Stand-Up Paddle boards. It was on our bucket list and the calm waters on Lake Lure were an ideal place to test it out. It took determined focus and physical energy to keep our balance on the SUP board. It took focus and self-control to transition from kneeling to standing. Once upright, I felt my body adjust as I looked around and behind. It was a delightful experience because I could manage my focus. (Image via Pixabay)

My husband found it a little less delightful. It was difficult for him to balance and look around simultaneously. He practiced the kneeling-standing exercise several times. It was like mind-body multitasking, but eventually we conquered the SUP and had a blast in the process. Next time will be a bit easier, and as time goes on, it will require less effort.

The third experience wasn’t as easy but it is the one that left the insight in my mind and heart.

I was working on my current book, staring at the computer screen. I was struggling. I scrolled Facebook, Instagram, and junk mail repeatedly. Finally, I asked the Lord what on earth was going on. I told Him about not being able to focus.

The conversation sounded more like an echo than a conversation. In His loving way, He repeated back to me that I was having trouble with focus. Yes, that’s what I said. Again, my heart heard, “Yes, you are having trouble with focus.”

Eventually it sunk in. I had my topic, but I hadn’t focused on my audience. I was indeed having trouble with my focus.

Focus is vital in life for peace and productivity.

Without it we will be challenged to accomplish things. We will most likely end up discouraged, frustrated, and lose our joy.

A simple turnaround for losing our focus is to remember our purpose. Our purpose is much like a company mission statement. It keeps us on track with what is most important. It helps us know when to say yes and when to say no. Purpose is foundational in life and in understanding our identity. Purpose is vital for managing ourselves.

I have a picture in my mind of a woman who I believe is a kind of avatar of my target audience. I created her for one reason, to help me maintain focus in my writing and speaking. Now I have a picture of her, or what I think she might look like. I also wrote a bio about her. She represents the kind of woman I am passionate about serving. Knowing whom we seek to serve will keep us focused in our work.

Discovering purpose is one of the key goals in helping others. It’s powerful, and it’s easier than you might think.

Live with purpose on purpose.
Come alive.


This was written by author and speaker Anne B. Say.

She is the author of Daring to Hope.