While a lot of comedians struggle on the comedy circuit, Jerry Seinfeld has risen to a level of success that puts him at the very top of the pile — with books and movies and endorsements and, of course, a television show that had a HUGE impact on our culture. Along with all of that, he also rakes in WAY more than most comedians. At the height of his TV show’s popularity, he was making $60 million per year. Later, he made $225 million from the syndication rights. (Note: I recognize that money isn’t always the best measure of focus but I’m writing for entrepreneurs and money tends to be a good measure of focus).
So what can you build a “chain of momentum” around? For me, there are a few habits I have (or would like to have) that I can do this with: Marketing, proposal writing, content writing for my clients, book writing (of my own book), inbox zero, working out… the list goes on and on.
Will Smith is a powerhouse in the film industry. His initial start in the entertainment world was as the rapper Fresh Prince — my friend had a tape we used to listen to and I can probably still recite most of the words to “Parents Just Don’t Understand” (Yikes!). Then came Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, which helped him transition from a niche music star into a household name. He had some guest spots on smaller shows, then six years on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air then he started into action films with Bad Boys. Will Smith continues to push to new heights with blockbuster films. Enemy of the State is a favorite; so is I Am Legend, commanding $20 million or more per movie.
This video, which is a compilation of several interviews with Will Smith, really captures a lot of the reasons for his success. And it all comes down to focus. He has crazy focus.
What do you take away from that video? I find it inspiring. It makes me want to push harder in everything I do. I want to put down one brick at a time; I want to run until I die.
Today is the halfway point in my 30 day challenge. I wish I could say I’m achieving the goals I wanted to achieve this month. I’m doing okay but I’m not doing as well as I had hoped. I’ve had a few setbacks (nothing major but I just feel like I’m not burning up for what I want to achieve as much as I should be).
There have been some good things, definitely! I’ve crossed some things off my list. I’ve had some good news from some new opportunities (more on that in an upcoming blog). And I’ve had some surprising successes with some of the projects I’ve worked on.
But the truth is, I wish I was a little farther along than I actually am and it’s my fault that I’m not. I can look back and see several opportunities where I let something else pull my focus away from what I want to accomplish. Sometimes I was distracted by worthwhile things (like spending time with my wife) and sometimes I was distracted by things that weren’t the best use of my time.
Fortunately, today — the halfway point in this 30 days of focus — is one of the “mile markers” along the way that remind us to pause, reflect, re-evaluate, and maybe “reset” our thinking so that we can (hopefully) salvage what we can from the month.
In looking back at the last 15 days, I know that I did pretty well during the first week. But on the weekend (last weekend) I started to lose focus a bit. I got a little tired, a little sick, a little distracted by other things… and it pulled me off my game this week. Not completely but enough to notice.
So as I write this, I’m thinking about how to jumpstart that focus and maintain it for the next 15 days. This blog will remind me to be focused today and tomorrow. And maybe even through the week (similar to my level of focus in the first week of the month). But I should think about how to recharge my focus in the weekend when I seem to be at risk of letting it drop. I’m going to put some reminders in place to help with that.
Tiger Woods is a great golfer. Some say he’s the greatest golfer in the world. In spite of his off-course challenges, his ability to play so well stems from a combination of his skill at the game as well as his mental focus.
So how can he focus so well? This video does a great job of explaining Tiger Woods’ ability to focus during a game.
The video is about golf and it’s for golfers. But the same rule can be expanded for anyone doing anything.
We should create our own “10 yard line” for whatever we want to focus on: Develop a “zone of focus” that we enter into to complete the task and then exit out of when we’re finished. It helps when it’s something that is rooted in the physical world — like an office or an office chair or an app on your computer. I have an area in my basement that I use to workout. When I go into that area, I’m focused on my workout. And even though I have a laptop and can theoretically work from anywhere, I have a very focused office space that I use only for working.
This idea works for anything and doesn’t have to be specific to physical space: If you have to make cold calls, why not make your telephone’s headset your own “10 yard line” or maybe put an object on your desk that is only on your desk when making cold calls.