Laser focus

laser_beam_teaserI recently read an article about how many of us sabotage ourselves from achieving goals. It resonated with me on several levels and aligned with some of my recent revelations.

Here’s the Cliff Notes summary.

  1. Get clear on what you want in your life
  2. Limit time spent with people who impede your progress
  3. Make choices that support your forward movement

When I first began studying the spiritual side of successful living, I would read or hear about “getting clear” and think that I was clear – except that I wasn’t. I began to pay close attention to the activities I was engaged in, the choices I was making and the places I was investing my time, energy and attention.

The first thing I did was to look at the top 3 things that were taking up my time, energy and attention. In the midst of each activity, I took time to ask myself the following questions:

  • where is this going?
  • do I want all that “this” entails or just pieces of it?
  • how important is this to achieving my goal?

Where is this going

It’s important to ask this question when we find ourselves investing time, energy and attention into projects, activities or groups. We need to look past the present moment and see where it is headed.

If it’s a temporary activity and we’re enjoying ourselves, it may be a “keeper“. If this project, activity or group is a vehicle that will take us closer to our goal, the time, energy and attention we invest will be worthwhile.

If, however; we are investing our time, energy and attention to further someone else’s goal; it may be time to reevaluate the engagement.

Do I want all that “this” entails?

Several years ago I changed jobs and moved from one industry into a totally different one. I had several good reasons for leaving the 1 industry, but in the first week of that new job, I realized that I had not fully vetted all that this move involved. I had evaluated “pieces” of the new industry and not looked at the complete picture.

This can happen when we jump into activities, groups or projects that on the surface, seem to align with our goals, but once we get the whole story, we see things that are not a “fit” for us.

The good news: we can always change our mind and move on.

How important is this to achieving my goal(s)?

The zeitgeist of the late 20th-century suggested that we can have it all, do it all and remain sane. I think we’ve come to the realization that this was baloney.

There are only 24-hours in a day. We need to sleep – and doctors are telling us 8 hours is not a luxury but a necessity. We can’t live healthily on drive-thru dinners. Multitasking has also been exposed as a farce.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

If we want to achieve success in something, we need to focus our time, energy and attention on it – to the exclusion of most other things. In other words, we can’t become a great writer if we’re volunteering all over town and not spending time with butt-in-chair. We can’t become a great leader if we abdicate our leadership responsibilities to others because we’re busy doing other things. We can’t become a great “anything” if our time is spent doing “everything else“.

To achieve greatness in something, we need to narrow the scope of our time, energy and attention investments so that we put an almost fanatical focus on our goal area. And when we do, the opportunity for greatness begins.

Notice I said that the opportunity for greatness begins.

The real work begins after we clear out the extraneous noise and:

  1. Get clear on what we want in our life
  2. Limit time spent with people who impede our progress
  3. Make choices that support our forward movement

Addendum: here’s some research that supports these suggestions. 

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