As humans we have been given some amazing gifts – Love, Compassion, Empathy, etc. We have also been given some incredible abilities and tools. One such fabulous tool is FOCUS. Have you ever noticed what you get done when you’re focused? Once we focus our attention, our passion and our energy on something…things begin to happen and the more focused we are…the faster.
Ever called someone “single-minded”? What happens to the “single-minded” person? They get what they are after, don’t they? Sometimes these folks seem too focused, but they sure do get things done and they appear to move toward their goals quicker. There is a lot to be learned from these super-focused folks.
I spent many years with scattered attention. I’d like to think it wasn’t that noticeable to others (doubtful), but it sure had a big impact on my internal experience. After really looking at myself, my past and present and learning to view my behaviors objectively, I was able to get a handle on the issue. Through meditating, I saw that my brain behaves as computer in my head, spitting out information and taking itself on familiar rides around my mind and in order to wrangle my mind and attention, I had to see it objectively, as a machine just following old habits, pathways and ruts.
I learned that listening to my consciousness first and then directing my mind was a better process for me. I now see and feel life very differently. I strive to live in and from my heart/soul/consciousness and use my brain for what it’s great at: calculating, planning etc. I now know that if I leave my experience of life up to my brain, it just goes round and round, seeking distraction, delving into emotional memories, creating drama, etc.
I wanted to learn to use my mind instead of letting it use me and that’s where focus comes in. Try the exercise below if you’d like to move along in the direction YOU choose, not just in a default direction.
The Exercise – the right questions
Day to day life can be such a distraction that most people consider sitting down and figuring out what they want….too hard, or time-consuming. It’s actually not, given the right questions. That’s the work I do with Clarity Coaching. We are drilling down to find the core of what’s important. What are your priorities? What is most important to you? Are you doing things in your life that don’t serve your priorities?
Many times clients will say, “I’ve never really thoughts about that”. To me, that’s the best part, “Great, let’s think about it now”, I’ll say. Below is a brief version of Clarity Coaching:
Find a place you are comfortable, where you won’t be disturbed for at least 30 min. You’ll need paper and a pen/pencil.
1. Make a list – Write down your priorities, 7 or fewer.
2. Make a second list – List the actions/events/things you do in your life that you like.
3. Make a third list – List the actions/events/things you do that you don’t like.
4. Then cross reference, identify things from #2 and #3 that do not progress your priorities (from list 1)
5. If something is on your “do not like” list AND it does not progress your priorities, ask yourself why you do this thing? Is there someone else that could do it? Does it have to happen? Would someone else be better at it? Could someone share the responsibility with you? Brainstorm as to how you can remove all “do not like” items that do not progress your priorities OFF your list.
6. Okay…now look at your priorities and ask yourself; “Am I doing something every week or every day to progress my priorities?” If not, start to think about what you could do to move toward your priorities.
7. Now comes the fun part. What do you want to change in your life? What do you want more of? Do NOT judge. No one is watching. No one will see this unless you share it. What do you want to change, list these things.
8. While you’re doing this process, give yourself free reign to think and dream without self-recrimination, judgment or doubt. Do not argue for your limitations. This exercise needs to be FREE of limitation.
9. Now, look at what you want to change and what you want more of. Then see how those things fit in with your
priorities. Look at how they fit in with your “like list” and your “do not like” list. Mark up the paper, write all over it, use colored pens if you want to. Circle things, cross out stuff.
10. Now take a new piece of paper and list your priorities, things you can do that progress you further, things you like to do an things you want more of. Do not list things you don’t like or if a priority includes a task you don’t like, include a plan to find help with that task. Then take this sheet and sketch out a schedule based on it, daily, weekly, monthly or what feels right to you. Just start slowly and set up your life’s activities with intention, focus and toward your priorities. Revisit this process ever so often to note your progress and to see what has changed or needs to change.
Watch as focus and consistency move you toward your goals and priorities with a speed you may never have seen! Watch out world, here you come!