People worldwide establish goals and objectives, but I find that many fall short of achieving them. If you think of it realistically, we all have goals, even if not written on paper. The goal of career success, academic success, better marriages, family-life balance, improved relationships, saving money, weight loss and many others run through our minds on a daily basis. So what causes us to not achieve our goals? What minimizes our ability to accomplish the task at hand? Research proves that the best goal achievers on the planet are those who have the uncanny ability to focus on the task at hand to the point of completion. For the sake of this article, I will add-with balance. This will be explained in detail later.
The best definition I found that describe the power of focus is as follows, “Focus is your ability to center your attention and energy on a specific task, object, or activity, for a sustained length of time.” The operative words in this description are “your ability.” These two words tell me that this is something we as individuals have to work on. As personal coach of people and organizations (as well as a speaker), I find that you have three types of people when it comes the process of focus. Person # 1 is typically Bifurcated. This means they start with a focus but end up going in multiple directions. This is not a negative in any way; it is simply how this person processes. They are the type of person who has 10 things on their to do list at any given time, and plan on getting all of them done–today or this week. This person typically does not stay with one thing very long, they feel like in order to achieve goals, it is best that they complete a little bit of each throughout the day, with the goal of hopefully finishing all of the tasks within the allotted time. In my line of work, I find that many times people who operate this way end up with quite a few half completed projects but not many taken to completion. This inability to focus on completing projects causes frustration and often not so good feelings about self and personal/professional goals and desires. The goals you set out to achieve actually become a form of disdain. Completion often brings a form of fulfillment and lacking this, a person can often feel insignificant in work and life.
Person #2 is just the opposite. This person is a Completer. They focus so much on completion that they often ignore anything and everything outside of the task at hand. This is a beautiful skill set to have for it certainly defines our message of focus, but there are problems inherent in this type of person as well. They can often drop the ball on many other things because they are overly focused on the one. This type of person can be so laser targeted that they ignore family, friends life and anything else, to accomplish the task at hand. Again, this person typically gets the job done, but at the expense of many other things. Parents who operate in this mode can unconsciously have kids go a full day without meals or a hug from mom or dad, for they are so focused on completing a task, they ignore their parental duties. So this person has the gift of focus, they complete lots of things, but they very rarely have a sense of balance.
This brings me to person #3. Just like person #1 is Bifurcated, this person is more of a Confluence. They start with multiple tasks but manage their time in such a way that they focus on completion of each goal and objective, but not at the expense of many other important priorities. Like a confluence, everything merges together perfectly. When they pursue a goal they are intense and focused, but they also realize that other priorities are necessary and find a way to balance it all out. At the end of the week they feel accomplished but they have not alienated others in the workplace or in their homes. They are great time managers and prioritize very effectively. During work time they know how to pour themselves into their work, but at home, they know how to focus on the goals of family time and family objectives. These people live effectively in both worlds because they are able to shift focus to the areas that matter most. They are effective at balanced focus because they see life as a series of priorities and they focus on the right priority at the right time. They get the job done at work to the best of their ability but also address other areas of their life effectively. They are able to focus their efforts in such a way that they live successful and balanced life, with the completion of multiple goals and objectives.
This is no way a perfect science but becoming a confluence type person creates a sense of fulfillment in career and life. I say this because one of my goals as a coach of people is to help individuals and organizations achieve their business, career, academic and personal objectives but I make sure we focus on the most important area-life balance. Life is about family-work balance and having balanced goals that you are able to effectively focus your energy on will make you a more complete, stress free and accomplished person. Your life will take on a more significant meaning.
I am writing this article after a 3-day camping trip with my wife and kids. My mind was battling with me the first day regarding work responsibility. I HAD TO COACH MYSELF and left all technology at home, did not have cell-phone access nor any ability to reach the outside world. My kids, wife and I hiked, caught fish, ate Smores and told stories in the dark of night by the campfire. My goal was to focus on one thing-having fun with my wife and kids. Guess what, I accomplished this goal.
Balance your focus and have fun living. Life it to short to have it any other way.
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