Putting the Focus on... Focus
One of my favourite quotes from Tony Robbins is, "Where focus goes, energy flows." This statement holds immense power and weight behind it; what we choose to focus on is what we create or manifest in our lives. If we choose to focus on the negative -- how life is beating us up left and right, how nothing goes our way, how we're always broke, how we'll never succeed -- we impose limits and barriers on ourselves moving forward. However, if we choose to focus on positive outcomes, we are more open to recognizing opportunities for real growth and advancement. This is not to say that adopting a positive mindset is all that we need to succeed; far from it, in fact. What it does suggest, however, is that if we focus on positive outcomes, possibility, options, and resilience, that we are much more likely to experience them in our lives.
For entrepreneurs, focus in absolutely crucial. Your livelihood depends on your ability to stay focused on your business in order to ultimately succeed. As every entrepreneur knows, however, your attention is pulled in umpteen directions -- usually all at once; you must wear the hats of business owner/operator, marketer, administrator, receptionist, website moderator, leader, employer, motivator... the list goes on. There are so many facets to maintain, it can be difficult to keep them all straight; scheduling, organization, time management, and discipline generally form the basis for keeping these on track. Some of the most difficult obstacles for entrepreneurs, however, are the ones they create for themselves.
We've all heard the old adage about, "Keeping up with the Jones'" -- watching how others live or operate, and attempting to mimic their supposed success or status. Often, I see entrepreneurs get wrapped up into this kind of mindset -- and their business suffers because of it. They busy themselves in the minutia of their competitors, scouring social media and webpages, lamenting how the competition operate. Rather than focus on creating the most value for their clientele, entrepreneurs so quickly and easily fall into the trap of focusing on, and tearing down, their competition. This negativity breeds such contempt and hostility, that it can be difficult to fully commit to delivering a valuable product or service because of the simple fact that our minds shift to, 'what they're doing wrong' instead of, 'what I'm doing right' (and just to clarify -- 'right' in this sense is in now way means 'right' in comparison to competition; rather, 'right' in the sense of having confidence in your ability to deliver real value to your clients).
So, what can be done to rectify this situation? How can one set and maintain focus on what's most important? Well, if euphemisms get you motivated, then here's a few: "Keep your eye's on the prize!", or "Stay in your own lane!". For the majority of us, however, more tangible methods are required. Everyone is different, but here are three general areas that can be of real use when attempting to create focus:
Know your 'why'. Understanding 'why' you're doing something can be one of the most motivating factors in maintaining and re-establishing focus. Your 'why' was the reason you began delivering your product or service, or the reason you established a life goal in the first place. If you feel yourself being pulled off course, and have trouble with focus, ask yourself: "Does -xyz- behaviour contribute/bring me closer to my why?" If the answer is 'no', then it may be time to evaluate whether that action or belief is worth holding on to.
Focus on yourself. Whether you're a successful entrepreneur or a busy parent attending to a job, household, and kids, life demands a great deal of our energy and focus. Being pulled in a variety of directions is commonplace, and this can be a great detriment to our ability to focus. Often, we feel tired and unable to maintain the level of concentration needed to focus on completing the goals we set out for ourselves. Self-care is such a crucial component to our mental well-being, and one that is so often set aside. It's not selfish to take time to enjoy activities that renew and revitalize you; in fact, it's a necessity. To have the passion, determination, and drive to focus and accomplish our goals, we need to feel fulfilled in ourselves, and self-care is an incredibly important part of attaining this.
Centre and balance yourself. This may overlap with the previous area, but depending on your preferences, it may not. Taking time to create balance within yourself is another huge factor when setting and maintaining focus. Priming, meditation, yoga, journalling, reflection on gratitude -- all of these activities centre us and create balance; we're less likely to fall prey to negative emotions, are more likely to be positively motivated, and much more capable of setting and maintaining our focus on our goals.
Take some time and find the best method(s) to suit you. Make a habit of them, and before long, your strength of focus will increase, and you'll find yourself much less likely to stray from the path of successfully completing your goals.
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