Focus. Something we all know we need, but so hard to define and keep
In our lives, we are subjected to many aspects that work to distract our focus. Family, our work/business, social media, and the list goes on. Each competing for attention and making demands of our time. Some, such as family and work, require us to divide our attentions as a matter of necessity. Others, well, they can just get in the way of doing what is needed. Separating these, and placing appropriate priorities on them, can be difficult.
Focus on priorities
Family priorities come without saying. One of the most basic responsibilities we have is family. As such, we must plan to provide the focus to maintain the proper balance needed. This, of course, varies for everyone. But we ALL have a primary vested interest in our family at some level.
Once we establish how much of our focus is needed to keep this aspect of our lives where it needs to be, we then have to decide how we divide what we have left amongst the many, many, other things clamoring for our attention. Here is where that gray area of our lives begins to get, shall we say, interesting?
Keeping the focus focused
Herein lies the difficult part. No, I won’t be so conceited as to imply how you should evaluate your own priorities. Since this blog, The Farm, is, primarily, about what relates to business – let’s keep it in focus.
Recently I realized that my stress levels had elevated to such a point that my business, and family, were becoming affected. It was physically palatable, and probably obvious to everyone, but me, long ago. It had to stop. To do this, I had to identify the problem(s), and find answers.
The problem was easy to diagnose, my focus had become so diluted that nothing was being accomplished. I was spending all my time doing things that were, simply, doing nothing more than creating additional distractions and problems. To solve this, I had to determine at what point things went to hell. That, however, was not as easy.
Hindsight is not always as 20/20 as we want it to be
Looking back over what had transpired over the past year made perfect sense. I had begun implementing the business plan/operations of the business, reached out to help others that could/should have a positive influence, and taken on additional projects that directly related to the business itself. It all seemed logical. At first, anyway.
Then I asked myself the tough question: “Does this seem like a good plan because it is, or, I want it to be?”
Yeah, that little bit of introspection was fun. NOT!
It really sucks when you realize that the biggest problem facing your business is . . . YOU!
We never want to consider that we can be our own worst enemy. I mean, we rock, right?
I learned long ago the only person that can truly destroy your dreams is you. As long as you ‘believe’ in what you are doing, no one can take that away. And that is important to know. But what happens when you begin to let those dreams – and our own ego – outpace reality?
I am here to tell you that it is not pretty. In fact, it flat out sucks!
I realized I had to admit, to myself, I wasn’t ‘as great’ as I thought I was. That, in my own way, I had created the perfect storm to wreck havoc around me.
Don’t get me wrong, everything I had done did make sense – logically. Each step taken, by itself, would have produced results. In that aspect, I was not errant in my ways.
Where I had totally lost all touch with reality was when I allowed my ‘focus’ to begin to decay. I thought I was such a superstar that I could split my attention amongst several aspects. As a result, everything began to lead a life of its own that lead to frustration, which brought more disarray, which then created further problems and, well, you get the idea. The house of cards began to fall.
Identifying obstacles (even if that is you)
Determining what the obstacle is can be the hardest part. Once identified, you can begin to plan how you are going to address and overcome it.
I am fortunate enough to have some very good friends, mentors, and business associates. Couple that with three plus decades of business experience, and you start to learn to listen to what is happening – and being said (sometimes indirectly) – around you when things are not going quite as planned. I realized I had a problem. Now I had identified it. The hard part was done, right?
Normally, yeah, it would be.
In this case, the plan to overcome it was fairly simple, but could also be the ‘hardest’ part. I had to change what I was doing, find my focus again, and LIVE IT. Oh yeah, easy peasy ladies and gents. Uh-huh, sure.
No one ever said . . .
. . . being in business was all fun and games.
The path on this journey can be laden with unforeseen challenges. Other than starting down the path, to begin with, the most difficult part can be realizing we have to adapt, learn new skills, and change how we think and do things. That what we once believed about our abilities will be challenged, daily, and our own perseverance will be tested. We have to realize we are not infallible but, in fact, quite vulnerable, at times.
The process to accept, and overcome, these challenges can be as different as there are people reading this. No single answer can ever solve every problem. Realizing, perhaps many times over, that we are ‘part of the equation’ that offers a glimpse into the solution can be the singular aspect that allows us all to move forward.
I invite you to return again for Part 2 of this journey down the path of my own self-realization and, perhaps, find some examples that may help you in yours. We are never alone. We all face similar, but distinct, challenges. By listening to others, we can all grow. I encourage everyone to post their own challenges, and how you addressed them, below for others to read. You never know who, or how much, you can help until you try.
With Sincere Thanks
“The only limits we have are those you impose upon yourself. Remove the limits!”
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