Focus is critical to achieving the life and results that you want. It is a precious and, to some extent exhaustible, commodity. We can only focus on so many things at once and for so long. Where is yours directed most of the time?
In today’s fast-paced, information and technology heavy world, we have endless potential distractions competing for our attention. How well are you managing this resource? What percentage of your focus is actually given to what you want to create? Rather than to the next task on your ‘To Do’ list or responding to never-ending external demands.
Your attention is going somewhere, whether you are conscious of it or not. Is it going somewhere helpful and beneficial to you? Whether you are someone who is for or against New Year’s resolutions (a whole other debate!), I hope these questions will get you thinking about how to make your focus work for you:
1. Are you in a reactive or creative / proactive dynamic?
If you are not clear about your own agenda or priorities, you are handing over your power to someone else or to external circumstances. You are in survival mode, fire fighting, constantly on the back foot and drifting where the wind takes you. You may well be constantly active, but it’s likely to be a treadmill that brings you little personal satisfaction. You are producing results and taking yourself somewhere, but is it where you want to go or what you want to create? Taking a look at your life as it now is one easy way to tell you what you are creating… The good and the bad.
Whether it’s a specific goal or general direction or set of principles, you need to figure out what matters to you. It will guide your choices, so that you end up living the life you want to or being the person you want to be. You’ll know when to say yes or no or how to spend your time, as you are clear about the outcomes you want.
2. Is you cup half empty or half full?
Time to get honest. I know it’s January and it can be miserable for those living in cold, dark, wet climates (as I am!), but… are you mostly focused on what you don’t have or don’t like (whether that’s stress, a job you hate, difficult relationships or health troubles) or on what you do have or want?
Focusing on the negative will not change anything and it certainly won’t make you feel good. If anything, you notice and create more of the exact thing you would like less of…
Notice what percentage of your time is given to negative self-talk or complaining. It’s not about being permanently happy, but you can at least aim to tip the scales in the right direction. Look for what you can appreciate. More importantly, focus on what you want more of and what you do want to create or to happen next.
3. How often do you connect to your vision or the results you want?
Some of you may have made resolutions or have clear goals or priorities for 2016 and beyond. But how often do you review or connect to them? Do you have a system or a ritual for this?
This has been something I have struggled with in the past. Life always seemed to get in the way. But that’s the point. It is critical to keep at the forefront of your mind what you are trying to create and the outcomes you want. See them, visualise them, connect in detail to how it would feel to manifest them, as if it’s happening right now. Whether it’s a longer-term aim or simply how you want a meeting to go. I tell you, when the videos were going to be filmed for my website, I was not at all comfortable with the idea of being in front of a camera! But, for a couple of weeks before, I stayed focused on a successful result and connected to the energy of how much fun it would be – and it was! Make a habit of defining how you want something to turn out.
Or, I promise you, focus regularly on what you want to create and you will be surprised at how much more you notice that supports you, or the creative ideas and opportunities that will occur to you. Think of it as training or directing your mind. Tell it what you want it to focus on. You only need to consider how powerful advertising is – how it programmes your brain to then see the product everywhere… It’s the same with your goals.
Personally, ideally I reflect on my intentions for 8-10 minutes as a kind of meditation. Aiming for every day. Sometimes I just use a tube journey to run through them. Others prefer reviewing notes on a phone over breakfast or at work. Don’t make it complicated – the main thing is that you do it. What’s going to work best for you?
Whatever you want to create professionally and personally in the coming year, I wish you the very best! If you have any questions about how coaching can help you to develop and maintain your focus, please do connect and let me know. From one to multiple sessions, in person or by Skype. Or to find out more click here.