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  • Writer's pictureFather Lance W. Harlow

What Keeps You Focused?

Are you distracted by a million thoughts and ideas and have to struggle to complete tasks? I'm raising my hand right now! I don't think it's attention deficit; but, I do think it might be called enthusiasm overload! Or, at least, in my case.

When you're passionate about something, that passion drives the mind with new and creative ideas. And, I admit, sometimes that's exhausting because the next question is: How am I going to implement this great idea? Do I have the time? Where's the money? Or, I don't know how to do this!

The St. Nicholas Project is a passion. But, it also forces me to keep focused on what it is and what it isn't. So, I have three "focal points" on my desk that help me keep my mind from going off on too many conflicting tangents.

1. A statue of St. Nicholas. The St. Nicholas Project is a Catholic apostolate. St. Nicholas is its patron. And so, I have to ask myself daily: Are these new ideas grounded in prayer? Are they God's will or just my own will? Do they give glory to God or to my ego?

2. A thank-you card from Kurn Hattin Homes for Children. This thank-you card keeps me grounded on the mission. Our mission is to connect the Catholic community with the Kurn Hattin Homes for Children with material and financial support for the boys and girls at the children's home. Do my ideas actually help the children in a concrete way and engage Catholics in Vermont with the mission of helping families in crisis? Do my new ideas help their staff or distract them from their mission?

3. A file folder. This file folder reminds me that I can't do everything myself and that I need help. It keeps me grounded in the need to be organized and ask people with more expertise than I in a given area to join in the St. Nicholas Project mission. The danger is to try to implement too many ideas, become overwhelmed, and not follow through. File folders, as corny as that seems, remind me to keep focused and force me to organize my ideas and put them into writing, especially when I'm pulled in many other directions with my daytime job as a parish priest.

Passion in fundraising is necessary. Staying focused makes it work!

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