I’m always excited to see opportunities for men and women to receive insight and encouragement along with strategies to help them manage life well—both personally and professionally. With all the challenges life brings, we need to take advantage of training that will equip us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and professionally to live life to the fullest. The organizations, churches and businesses in this community offer many events with this focus throughout the year and one is slated for this week. The Lake Houston Chamber is featuring a Women’s Expo with the theme, “Inspiration, Education, Success.” The theme is very fitting, because if you take a look at the lives of successful women, you’ll see both inspiration and education present. They surround themselves with people and resources that inspire them and they are open to discovering, learning, and growing in all dimensions of their lives. Successful women also inspire and educate other women. They pass along lessons they’ve learned and they mentor others who want to develop their own unique measure of accomplishment. As you take steps toward your own achievements, consider how the successful women you know approach various aspects of their lives and how their choices impact their relationships and influence others. 1. Clarify who you are, what you are passionate about, and what you desire your life to reflect. This focus will be your foundation to build upon, a centering place to connect each aspect of your life. Ask God to show you His design for your life and how to step out in the direction He has planned for you. 2. Establish priorities. These will provide structure and guidelines as you determine what to say ‘yes’ and ‘no’ to among the many challenges you face. The wise woman recognizes that while priorities may be set, circumstances of life change, calling on her to consider how to respond flexibly without losing touch with those things of fundamental importance. 3. Set goals that will honor your priorities. If you’re not careful, you can easily get caught up in reacting to immediate issues and become scattered as you move from task to task. Then you wake up one day and realize you are not moving forward. Clearly defined goals provide direction and encourage opportunities for growth. Once they are set, you can develop a plan to turn them into successes and honor what’s important to you. 4. Identify your source of strength and support. Where will you turn for wisdom and guidance? What will renew you when you feel drained? Who will be there to help you maintain focus and provide accountability? Who will be your encourager, your personal cheerleader, your constant friend? Who will offer unconditional love and acceptance as you celebrate success and cope with failure? 5. Gather resources. Today’s successful woman recognizes she will need assistance to meet the demands coming her way. She may turn to family, friends, church programs, community organizations and the business community for education, support, networking, and relationship-building. 6. Take care of yourself. While God tells us to put Him first and to have the heart of a servant as we connect with others, He also gives us clear direction to take care of ourselves—physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Yet, today’s woman often neglects these areas of her life. “I’m too tired.” “There’s not enough time.” “I have to get everything else done first.” “I need to take care of someone else.” “I feel selfish doing something for myself.” However, when she does take care of her needs, in essence she’s taking care of someone’s wife, someone’s mother, someone’s employee, someone’s friend. Everyone benefits. As women in today’s world, our focus may be channeled in different directions between home, workplace, church and community. We have different skills, different interests, and different opportunities before us. Yet, we all share a common denominator: each of us has been given a unique blend of talents and abilities, along with opportunities to use them. It’s important to honor those gifts to the best of our ability, wherever our life journey takes us. To learn all we can and then share our insight and encouragement as we embrace all that our Creator has designed for us. Nancy Williams, LPC is a licensed counselor, life coach, speaker and writer. Send comments to her at www.nancywilliams.net.

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