Ingredients For a Successful Year: The Focus Question

Your life is controlled by what you focus on – Tony Robbins

The Reality Of Opposition

We cannot deny the reality of opposition, or as author Steven Pressfield calls it, The Resistance. Looking closely, we see the opportunity that lies within the opposition. The opportunity to start, continue and finish. No path to destiny is smooth. Risk and even danger come with opposition. Expecting a bump-free ride in life is self-deception. There will be turbulence. Things will get shaky, and you might think you are on the wrong path when it’s riddled with potholes. The opposition could be viewed as an indicator that you are on the right track. When faced with a number of adversities, are you still able to see the quality or value of the opportunity? It’s easy to let our opportunities become diminished in the face of opposition. 

Load and Lift

On October 12, 2012, Toyota’s full-size unmodified Tundra, rated to tow 10,000lbs achieved the unmatched feat of towing the 150,000lb gargantuan space shuttle The Endeavor over a bridge in Los Angeles, California. You can see the video on YouTube by clicking this link https://youtu.be/3weSO1I5hrE. The disparity in size and weight alone makes such an accomplishment appear impossible. 

Where Should My Focus Be?

There are days when we have to pull a shuttle load of duties, tasks, and responsibilities, and we wonder, “Do I have what it takes?” We endeavor to multi-task and give our best in everything often to the detriment of our well-being. When we ask questions like, “Can I handle this?” or “Will I be able to accomplish this?” we are most probably comparing the load (responsibility) to our lift (capability). Much like the Tundra, we look inadequate to the task at hand and have that David versus Goliath feel. The weight of the load can be a valid reason to quit, but by changing our focus from the load to the lift, we discover that we have what it takes to successfully complete the tasks. It’s not how the Tundra looked on the outside, but rather what it had on the inside (5.7-liter, V8 capable of producing 381 horsepower) that made the goal a reality. If you have a dream, idea, or goal that seems too overwhelming, don’t pass it over for an easier one. Focus on developing your lift.

How do you do this?

  1. Find others who have accomplished what you are aiming to do and network with them. In today’s world collaboration and not control is key to success. Technology has shrunk our world immensely, and connecting is easier than ever. Be brave and reach out. Read their books, attend conferences, sign up for webinars, workshops, and seminars, or connect through social channels. Networking will help you build valuable relationships and show you that what you want to do is possible. Networking also provides the building blocks you need not only to start but to sustain your progress. 
  1. Consider the barriers that might stand in your way and analyze them. Writing down them is not counterproductive, but rather it is a way to anticipate what may happen and the possible ways to handle them. It makes you better prepared and improves your system of operation. As you grow in anticipating problems, the less you react to everything that happens, and the better your response time becomes.  You can see problems while they are small, similar to the meteorologist who gives the forecast allowing us time to prepare for storms. Anticipating problems enables you to see possibilities which is a key performance indicator to stay focused and solve problems.
  1. Picture what it would look like to complete the overwhelming task now. Pictures carry more weight than just words. When someone tells of a place they have been to and sends an accompaniment of pictures, it becomes embedded in our minds. People often ask, “Where do you see yourself in three to five years?” A picture of the past creates memories but a picture of the future creates motion. You will move in the direction of your focus.
  1. What is one thing you can focus on a daily basis to drive closer to the reality of the goal? This centers around the level of engagement applied continuously. You don’t have to increase activity if you focus more on quality engagement efforts that you can track and see notable movement. Find one high-quality action and stick to it on a daily basis. 

Final thought: The above points can be summarized as creating leverage. Leverage helps to amplify your efforts as small as they might be. When you decide to bring your A-game every day, no matter the environment, that becomes your leverage to doing your best work or providing excellent service day in and day out.  Creating leverage forms a synergistic environment where all parties involved get to win. Focus on building your lift using the points mentioned above, and you will handle the load. 

Keep on Keeping on!