When I look at the most successful people in the world — whether in business or sports or any other arena — one of the qualities they all share is focus.
Focus is drive, determination, self-discipline… it’s the ability to fix your mind on one goal and work relentlessly until it is achieved.
That sounds great in theory but when it comes time to sit down actually do the work, it’s much more difficult. We can get easily pulled off course by other things… like social media or television or fatigue or the day-to-day demands on our time by other people.
It’s easy to see how spending a couple of hours a day on Facebook or watching television isn’t the best use of our time. But there are times when those “distractions” are valuable uses of our time… just not the thing we want to focus on.
I found this in my own life: I’ve wanted to write a book for a while but always put client work first. It’s a good thing to have a lot of clients and to make them the priority but it distracts me from my own book-writing goals. And I used to be very diligent in my workout until my workout area became the temporary storage location while I renovated part of my basement.
The reality is that we only do the things that are truly important to us. My clients are important to me but are they more important than working on a book? With all due respect to my clients, they aren’t. And my workouts are important to me but apparently not important enough because I stopped working out as soon as my workout room was used as temporary storage.
If I was truly focused on my book and my fitness, I would have figured out another way. The good news is, that is exactly what I’ve done (even though it took me a while to realize it and then a little longer to put the pieces into place). I’ve dramatically cut back on my client list to make more time for my book, and I’ve started working out again in another part of the house.
That’s the wake-up call: The things that are important to us are NOT the things we say are important to us. They’re the things we spend our time doing. If you say your business is important to you but you spend your time watching television then your business isn’t important to you. If you say your family is important to you but you spend your time doing other things on your own or with your friends then your family isn’t important to you.
A classic example that I see over and over again is with people who hate their job and desire to start their own business. But they never do. They claim to want freedom but their actions expose their true focus: Security and predictability from a job.
If we want to focus, we need a re-alignment. We need to change our habits and actions so that we spend time on the things that are truly important to us.
What is important to you? How much of your day are you working on it? What obstacles and struggles set you back?