There is power in focus. As Oprah Winfrey says, “Energy is the essence of life. Every day you decide how you’re going to use it by knowing what you want and what it takes to reach that goal, and by maintaining focus.”
Focus is one of the most challenging areas for many leaders. They have big visions and see more possibilities than can be delivered on at a given time. So how do you decide where to put your attention? Here are four strategies for sharpening your focus:
- Make a success list. Capture your “done list” and analyze the successes so that you can repeat them. Your brain is energized by remembering past achievements. When you look forward to the future, you can apply the lessons that you learned and use the momentum created by what you have already accomplished.
“Successful people maintain a positive focus in life no matter what is going on around them. They stay focused on their past successes rather than their past failures, and on the next action steps they need to take to get them closer to the fulfillment of their goals rather than all the other distractions that life presents to them.”Jack Canfield
- Pick something and stick with it. When you move from one thing to another, you miss out on the power of focused attention. FOCUS = Follow On Course Until Successful.
“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”Zig Ziglar
- Simple means unambiguous. The broader focus gets (“I want to write a book,” or “We will increase sales”) the easier it is to make excuses, have multiple interpretations and get out of focus. Be simple and specific (“I will write a pragmatic guide to change by November 2021”, or “We will add 100 new customers and increase sales by 10% by the end of the year”). Specificity creates clarity.
“That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”Steve Jobs
- Priority is singular. To focus you must say no to things. No excuses, no additions. Pick a focus, make it a priority and get it done.
“My success, part of it certainly, is that I have focused in on a few things.”Bill Gates
Improve your focus by understanding your past successes, sticking with what you decide to focus on, defining your focus in simple, unambiguous language, and limiting where you focus. What are your strategies for focus?