I don’t know what your challenges and possibilities are right now, but I do know you can change your life radically by changing your focus. I have seen this happening over and over – in business, in personal lives, and in teams; in coaching as well as in strategic meetings. The reality is: What you FOCUS on GROWS. Focus is concentrated attention, and it can make all the difference.
First illustration – a meeting. I recently sat in a Zoom meeting where we addressed depressing community problems. After we have defined saddening realities the energy in the room was very low. We saw more and more problems and challenges. Then somebody said: “If we focus on problems we will have more problems; if we focus on solutions we will have more solutions. Let’s focus on solutions.” Our minds suddenly opened up to possibilities and opportunities. The energy in the room changed from negative to positive, hopeless to hopeful. And we took away real practical plans that can be executed which in turn released energy in all of us.
Secondly, a strategic intervention. I recently facilitated a group of medical people. They were all very competent and smart, but their practice performed below potential. To illustrate the principal of focus I gave them a plastic straw and a potato. Then I asked them to put the straw through the potato in one movement. At first it felt impossible, until I taught them three steps:
- Follow Through.
Within a few minutes they all got it right. Why? The first two steps happen in your mind; the last one is a practical outflow of that. All three steps are crucial to get the result, but of course focus is in the centre. As they say: It isn’t hocus pocus, it’s all about focus…
It’s simple. If you can envision the end result (see the potato with a straw right through it) believing it is possible, then focus your mind on the only one important action to happen (a straw moving through the potato), and then do the action, you get this amazing end result.
During the strategic session we envisioned an end result – a business, far more impactful, rendering high level services in a financial sustainable way, with lots of very happy and satisfied clients. Our minds suddenly started to open up pathways that can get us there (solutions). We pinpointed what the critical few actions could be. And now the challenge is to Focus and Follow Through. You can do this yourself – but I am available if your team needs a facilitator ☺.
Last story: a relationship. I struggled with a close relationship because I remembered the other person’s failures and wrongdoings. One day I changed my perspective. I tried to remember what the person did right and well. Suddenly I felt differently and could forgive and let go. I phoned him and acknowledged him for those positive things I now appreciate. Not only did our relationship change, but I (my feelings and attitude) changed.
We see, notice, and experience what we look for, and we filter out everything else. It is all about the art of leading and guiding your mind and using your brain effectively. Here are some examples:
- If we look for reasons why we could fail (or struggle) in a project, we will get it. If we look for ways to succeed we will most possibly see and identify them, and move forward.
- If you choose to focus on unfortunate events, and difficult relationships and circumstances, you will become unhappier – your brain will secrete adrenaline and cortisol and you will live in survival and scarcity mode. But if you focus on things to be grateful and happy about, your list will grow, your mind will generate more and more ideas, you will act and live happier and start feeling happier. Your “reality” will change and you will experience abundance – no matter where you are.
- If you constantly read and listen to the sad stories on the news media the world will seem miserable and you will become miserable yourself. If you limit your news intake, and see and celebrate what’s good around you, and start making a difference yourself, your inner world also changes positively. And joy soon follows.
No wonder there is a scripture stating the following: “Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.” (Philippians 4:8 Message Translation). Why? Because what you focus on expands! And what you focus on is your choice.
May your joy, success, love and positive impact keep growing!