Let’s talk about what I consider one of the greatest skills one can master and that is focus. I used to give a passing fancy to the subject of focus but recent events and conversations with friends has changed the importance of focus. When I started thinking of it and reflecting on my past it became clear how much of a role focus played.
Have you ever felt like you could have 48 hours in a day and still not get everything you need done? I am sure we all have. One major reason we seem to resemble the hamster in a wheel just running in place and not going anywhere is our focus, or should I say lack of focus. You are starting to clean the house, but then you think of something you wanted to check on Facebook. An hour and several videos about your friend’s pets you realize pretty soon you have to start dinner. You start making dinner and a friend sends you a text about going to lunch. You tell her about how you spent all day trying to clean the house and didn’t get anywhere. 12 messages back and forth and dinner is on pace to be served at midnight.
We all have days like this. Myself included. We have all had the opposite days though, haven’t we? You know when we get lost planting the garden and are suddenly interrupted and look up and have all the rows planted. How does this happen? Focus. When we are focused on the end goal and keep that in front of us our actions become more focused. So how do we stay focused on committed to our goal? I have found something that works for me. Two things really. First, whether it is cleaning the house or getting in shape, create a strong ‘Why’ this will be discussed in greater detail in my next book, but here is the nuts and bolts. WRITE DOWN both what you will gain by doing what you are striving for, and what you will lose by not doing it. I know what you are thinking “So you are giving me even more to do, that is not going to help” Well taking five minutes to do this step will save you stress and grief going forward. I capitalized the first part of that statement because writing it down, especially when it comes to a goal that needs to maintain focus on for long periods of time it is essential to not only keep your goal in front of you but the reasons you need to get it done. Then when your cell phone starts talking to you send it right to voicemail. As Eric Thomas one of my favorite motivational speakers says “most of us would be more successful if we gave up our phone” So keep your goals and reasons in front of you. do this for a week and see what happens. There is one more thing you can do that I learned from major league athletes.
If I were to ask you, “who is the greatest of all time?” A lot of us, especially those of us who follow sports think of Muhammad Ali. Why would we think that? Because he told everybody. More importantly he told himself. That is what he focused on, being the greatest of all time. That is what we all need to do. We need to tell each other and ourselves that we are going to accomplish our goals. Les Brown, another one of my favorite speakers tells us to let ourselves “you got the right stuff” Put that on the mirror. There will be more about becoming the legends we were born to be. For now, focus on what you have to accomplish and why and enjoy the ease in which it seems to happen.