Your focus is your key to success. That’s because what you focus upon increases.
When I think about that word FOCUS (which is also one of my 5 strengths on the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment), I think about a laser-lock on one thing. Not getting distracted (squirrel!). Not multitasking (which technically isn’t possible). It’s training your thoughts to realize THIS is THE most important thing for me to concentrate on. John Lee Dumas coined FOCUS as an acronym: Follow One Course Until Success. Here are 4 categories of focus that force you to make a decision, with outcomes that end up positive or negative for you depending on what you choose:
- Time focus. Every moment of every day, you must choose how you will spend it. Yeah, it’s relentless. Intentional people tend to pick their true priorities to focus upon, while more haphazard people choose less important, often-easier tasks to complete. When you get your “big three” priorities done, especially early in your day in designated time blocks, you have a sense of fulfillment that it’s been a great day already–and the rest is gravy! While checking easier things off your to-do list gives you a shot of endorphins in the short-term, you may end your day with that feeling that you didn’t move any projects closer to completion.
- Attention focus. You can only think about one thing at a time. If you enter and exit your day with a sense of gratitude (what went well, what do I have to be thankful for) instead of a sense of lack (what didn’t work out, what don’t I have that others do), you will more likely live a happy life, and lean toward optimism. Or, when you go through a difficult circumstance or conflict, you can choose to dwell upon the damage that was done (think, Eeyore) OR on what was learned (what growth-minded people do). You can choose to be fully present with the person in front of you–and relish those moments together, or you can choose to let your mind wander to other stressful things in your life–and squander that interaction.
- Relationship focus. Every time we are with someone, we have a choice to focus more upon their needs (being truly loving) or our needs (selfish). In a mutual relationship, both can be achieved, for emotionally-intelligent people know how to communicate what they need while doing so in a way that helps their partners get their needs met, too. Win-win! Whether you are networking or are on a date, think Give First, and your generous focus will boomerang back onto you.
- Leadership focus. Leaders have a powerful influence on others whenever they open their mouths, and followers are always watching. So, you can choose to cheerlead and recognize and affirm your team, or default to criticism and blame and neglect. By looking for what’s going well, your focus will notice even more positives in the workplace–a great snowball effect that rubs off on others and creates a culture of positivity.
It takes self-discipline to train your brain to focus on things that will get you the most positive returns for your efforts. Sloppy thinking leads to less-than-desired outcomes, and an unsatisfying life. Stay mindful all day long about your focus, and make course-corrections to stay on track, and you’ll keep growing forward! Need a dose of solution-based thinking? Subscribe to my youtube channel (Paul D. Casey of Growing Forward Services) for quick, practical videos for your self-improvement.