There’s an old story of a reporter who asked Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to write down what they believed to be the one undeniable key to success. As the story goes, both billionaires wrote down the same word: FOCUS.
This should come as no surprise.
A little definition…
According to the Webster Dictionary, focus is “a center of activity, attraction, or attention; a point of concentration; directed attention; a state or condition permitting clear perception or understanding”.
Simply put, experts define focus as our ability to concentrate on a singular task.
But to achieve a specific outcome, it is not enough to concentrate on a task. The attention must be directed towards the right tasks.
Our ability to focus on the right tasks will inevitably speed up the process of reaching any goal. Replace every wasted minute in your day by focused action and you’ll get to where you want to go in half the time.
In my twenty-odd years of working alongside executives and CEOs, I’ve found that lack of focus is not the main problem.
We focus (pun intended!) so much on “focusing” itself, that we forget to look at what needs to happen in order to elevate our capacity to focus.
As Dr. Willian R. Klemm, Senior Professor of Neuroscience at Texas A&M University says, “the brain is a programmable computer”. Hence it’s our job to write the code that allows our brain to behave the way we want it to.
Sure we can will our way through day-to-day tasks, but for what purpose when there’s an easier way?
To build relentless focus you need a prequel and a sequel to focus.
Or I should say you need two pillars that support our ability to focus, without relying so much on willpower or risking being overwhelmed and crumbling under the pressure of the tasks.
These pillars are: Clarity & Commitment
Spending time on activities that get you nowhere closer to your desired outcome is often labeled as a lack of focus.
But it’s really a lack of clarity.
Before you can wisely channel your resources on the right activities, you need to know what the final aim actually is.
Take a moment and think: what goals are you really after? what’s the vision you have for your business and your life?
After you’ve passed away and your family and friends are throwing a party in your honor, what are all the great things they’ll be saying about your life, your accomplishments, your legacy?
Be specific. Be honest. Be clear.
If you don’t know what you’re aiming for, how are you ever going to focus on what needs to be done to get there.
When I say be honest, I mean really look at what’s required of you to reach your goals. In a world that’s in deep need of positivity, there’s still place for realism.
Are you willing to go the distance? Take on risks? Make the required sacrifice?
Are you realistically anticipating and preparing yourself for the struggles ahead and the length of the journey to success?
These are all questions you should ask yourself in order to get clear on your goals.
For you to program your brain for relentless focus, you need to be relentless in your quest to understand your goals.
This prepares you for the uncomfortable tasks ahead, minimizing the uprising of procrastination or giving into distractions.
Be specific. Be honest. Be clear.
Now that you know exactly what you want to achieve, what it will take to achieve it and why you want to achieve it, comes the next part.
Take a moment and think about what you’re truly committed to in your life.
Maybe you’re committed to your relationship with your partner, to walking 10,000 steps a day, to watching every football game of the regular season, to managing your emotions and channeling them productively.
Would you cheat on your commitments? I’m going to say no.
These commitments define you. They represent what you value and what you hold to be true about yourself. When you cheat on commitments, you really only cheat on yourself.
Now take a look at your goals. Are you committed to achieving them?
If you are, write down your commitment to those goals and keep it handy.
In hard times, that written commitment will bring you back to what matters most.
It is this commitment that will allow you to align your daily actions to your overall goal.
It is this commitment that will allow you to remain open and aware of new opportunities.
It is this commitment that will allow you to find creative solutions to your challenges.
It is this commitment that will allow you to shut off the TV, to eliminate what doesn’t serve you, to distance yourself from people that drain you, to say no to an outing when what you really need is rest…
It is this commitment that will allow you to have relentless focus on the right actions.
Be specific. Be honest. Be clear. Be committed. Be relentlessly focused.
If you want to dive deeper into this topic, download my new FREE Audio Training: Relentless Focus where I share 3 strategies to help you commit, focus and execute on achieve your goals on your terms. Click FREE Audio Training.
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Remember, the world needs you at your best, be an example of what’s possible.