"This constant unproductive preoccupation with all the things we have to do is the single largest consumer of time and energy."
The Power of Focus
Focus: a central point, of attraction, attention, or activity.
Does your mind ever race with all you have to do, not only today but this week, month, or year? How do you feel when the obligations and opportunities far outweigh your capacity to respond? Tired, weary, and drained? If you frantically pursue everything and feel like you are completing little or nothing, you are not alone.
It seems a high percentage of individuals lack one major characteristic -- focus. In todayís society, with unlimited opportunities and continuous communications from multiple sources, it is easy for life to become a constant distraction.
Focus is the single most beneficial strategy and habit I have learned, implemented, and wholly embraced in the past couple of years. Several years ago, I was trying to manage no less than seven different business ventures at the same time. Crazy, I know, but I falsely believed that if I did not have all those choices, I would get bored.
Of course, the outcome was lack of focus and limited success. This is not to say that individuals cannot have multiple interests. But if you are required to run and lead them all, thatís a recipe for disaster.
I have now sold or divested my interests in every other business venture except for real estate investing. Now that I am completely on purpose, I have discovered more than enough variety and flexibility within my current business to meet all my needs and more.
Staying focused within one venture is important. Think about the sports world. How many multi-sport superstars come to mind? Probably not many! Michael Jordon tried to switch to baseball -- no luck. Bo Jackson, a gifted athlete, tried to play both football and baseball and ended up with hip replacements before the age of 30.
Successful playing-coaches are just as rare. Can you focus on playing and coaching at the same time?
Life can become a series of unfocused distractions, if you let it. All of us are constantly being lured by other possibilities. The way you respond to this noise will determine your level of success (focus).
So how do you achieve focus?
1. Know where you are going.
If you donít, you can easily be moved off-course. Once I acknowledged I could have all the variety I needed within CRG, I began the process of focus. One at a time, over a period of a year, I removed all other distractions.
2. Have a plan.
Know where you are going and how you plan to get there.
3. Keep your own counsel.
Everyone will have an opinion about what and how you should live your life to be successful. But there is really only one person who knows whatís best and thatís you.
4. Stay calm.
When training to become a licensed scuba diver, I learned that the easiest way to die underwater is to panic. The result of panic is usually poor decisions. Keep your wits about you; think through each of your options.
5. Be clear about your core values.
All your decisions should be ranked against your core values. Be clear about them and hold them dear, as if your life depended on it.
6. Learn to say no -- and feel good about it.
Too many times, guilt and the demands of others get us off-focus. Stay true to your course.
7. Play to your strengths; build a team around your weaknesses.
Especially in small business, many of us try to do it all. How can you be focused if you are doing everything? And how many of us are fully competent and gifted at everything?
8. Create a process where you focus only on the current project and forget the rest.
A major hindrance to focus is trying to keep all your activities listed in your head. Set up a tracking system that works for you. It must be written down somewhere, other than that virtual place called your brain.
9. Let go of the past and what was.
I had to let go of the assumption that I needed seven businesses to feel fulfilled. I now understand how wrong I was in that premise. Quite honestly, once the last business was sold, I never felt more energized. A weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
10. Get going.
Focus requires action. There is usually an inverse proportion between how much something is on your mind and how much your mind is getting done.
Almost all of the most famous successful people of the world had focus: Shakespeare, Martin Luther King, Michael Dell, Mother Teresa, Wayne Gretsky, Stephen King, Walt Disney, Tiger Woods, and so on. They are not known for hundreds of different accomplishments but for one focus.
This Week's Action Steps
To help you harness the Power of Focus:
1. Know where you are going.
2. Have a plan to get you there.
3. Stay calm. Nothing good comes out of being frantic.
4. Know your core values and start making decisions based on your values.
5. Start letting go of all activities that are not part of your plan or direction.
6. Say No to new opportunities and ventures that donít align with your focus.
7. Play to your strengths and build a team to fill your weaknesses.
8. Match your work to the nature of your personal style.
9. Set up a system in writing to track your projects; you canít stay focused without it. Donít try to operate out of your head.
10. Notice the vigor that focus brings into your life.
11. And, of course, have fun and encourage others to do the same -- which is focus.
Until next time, keep "Living On Purpose",
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Ken Keis is an internationally known author, speaker, consultant, & President of CRG. Many professionals herald CRG as the # 1 global resource center for Personal/Professional Development.
For information on CRG Resources, please visit crgleader.com
For information on Kenís Training and Speaking Programs, please visit kenkeis.com
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