As I hope you are beginning to realize, you have a tremendous amount of internal power to leverage in life and business, to achieve the results you most desire. A key component to that success is focus.
In Part One of this series, we covered the power behind focus. And in Part Two, I wanted to clarify the importance of directing your focus for maximum benefit. Today, we will examine some of the nastiest barriers to high level focus, and how you can move past any that are holding you back in business.
For the purposes of this post, I will present what I consider to the be the BIG FOUR obstacles that can inhibit your ability to focus at high levels, and provide you strategies for knocking each one down to size –
#1 – Your Inner Voice
If you followed the 12 Days of Experts series I launched in December, you had the pleasure of learning from Natalie MacNeil, one of our stupendous experts. Natalie discussed the significance of using mantras in her business as a way of centering her thoughts on her biggest business dreams. And mantras are extremely effective tools for the business elite.
That being said, you must also be highly conscious of your existing internal dialog to weed out any limiting belief systems or defeating thoughts from your mental repertoire. There is a tremendous amount of power in the space between your ears. Your thoughts can help you keep your focus engaged, or throw you completely off course, depending on where you allow them to take you. So spend quiet time each morning determining how you intend for your day to unfold, and then discipline yourself to maintain that mental direction no matter what life throws at you.
#2 – Distractions
Deterrents to your focus can come in many forms, but generally fall under the heading of distractions. What draws your attention away from the task at hand is probably different from what impacts me. The first step in defeating distractions is to identify them in your daily routine.
If you are a work-from-home entrepreneur, your household chores may be the obstacles that break up your day, and pull you away from maintaining high level focus for an extended period of time. For someone else, it might be interruptions from phone calls or emails. People and things vie for your attention continuously, but the only way to be truly effective is to segment your workday, as much as possible, to create pockets of uninterrupted time during which you can apply yourself to a task at 100%. Because every time you get pulled away, it takes a considerable effort to get back on task and back up to speed.
As I mentioned in Part Two of this series, scheduling break times throughout your day will provide you specific opportunities to address other to-do’s on your list, rest your mind, refresh your body, or just switch gears. You are not a machine, so don’t treat yourself like one. When you don’t push yourself to the brink, you will find that distractions become less alluring as a means of escape.
#3 – Fear
Do you know what you are afraid of? None of us will live free of fear, and therefore must learn to coexist with it. The great news is that most fear is more of a wake-up call, than a dire warning, and can be leveraged as an asset in business.
If you have been battling with limiting beliefs, feelings of self-doubt, or second guessing your decisions, it’s time to look deep and figure out why, as fear can be a nightmare to focus. You must decide what is bigger — your fear of moving forward, or your fear of staying right where you are. Look into the source of your fear, as your internal alert system may just be asking you to open your eyes to a different direction or better opportunity.
For much more information on overcoming your fear, be sure to register for Fire Up Your Biz – Enrich Your Life with Stephanie Calahan so you don’t miss all the fabulous trainings, including mine on 2/1/12 — Conquering Your Fear with a Knockout Punch.
#4 – Lack of Passion
No matter how hard you work to build your business, you must never lose sight of why you got started. Passion, just like anything else, needs to be nurtured, and is the magnet that keeps your focus locked in place. But when you begin to burn the candle at both ends, you can end up sucking the life force from your business. Work without passion is just work. And without a desire to forge ahead day in and day out, you will find that laser focus is next to impossible.
So as often as you set your sights on the finish line, don’t forget the seed idea that was fueled by a sense of purpose greater than yourself. Many business owners will log their deepest motivation in a mission statement, on which all decisions are made. By putting pen to paper you make it real, and keep it alive. When you are tied deeply to your purpose, even the most mundane tasks are easier to tackle, as they are just one more step of growth.
As an entrepreneur, your path will be speckled with challenges every step of the way. It’s how you decide to handle them that will make the difference between good results and greatness. The business elite have learned to keep their eyes open to potential obstacles to their ability to focus, in order to quickly and effectively deal with them before they cause any significant delays. You can learn to do the same simply by understanding what they are. Identify your barriers, big and small, and begin to work past them one at a time. When you establish healthy ways of navigating your days with freedom, you will find that high level focus is effortless.
In the final installment of this series, I will present some strategies for how you may maintain high level focus from day-to-day in your business.
Until next week, tell me what your biggest obstacles to focus have been in your business.