Tag Archives: Focus

Help! I want to give it my best but…

In everything that I do, I have a desire to do it to the best of my abilities. That is the hope and goal. However, is that really the case? Sadly, I can’t truly say that I have given my best effort in everything. I now know better. I know that the goal isn’t so much about in everything that I do, but in the areas of my priorities that I want to give it my best.

The truth of the matter lies in 2 “a-ha moments”:
1. Not everything in my life is weighted equally in importance or value. Not everything requires perfection. Not everything requires equal time and attention. For example, I don’t need to give my best effort in stacking the dishes in the dishwasher. Just sufficient “stacking” will do.

2. Only what is most meaningful will I choose to spend my time and energy on. I will want to ensure that what is most important to me, gets my full attention, time and effort. I will give up other areas in order to allocate enough time to complete the projects that are important to me.  For example, I will give up playing golf in order for me to have more time to complete a project that is more important to me.

Unless we are clear in our minds and hearts around the above 2 aspects, we will constantly be in a battle of feeling good or guilty. Guilty for not achieving or guilty for not giving it your best. So what can we do to ensure that we do give it our best when it matters?

Daring to do the best in requires 3 key factors:
1. Intention to succeed. You must be intentional. You must have goals and have plans in place. Change can only take place when we are purposeful and intentional in our approach and determination. Ask yourself:
a. How badly do I want to change?
b. What is going to make this attempt at change different from all the other times?
c. What changes do I need to make?
d. What goals am I going to set?
e. What plans do I have to put in place to achieve those goals?
f. Who am I going to share this plan with?
g. Who is going to help me be accountable?
h. Who am I going to assign as my cheerleader when the going gets tough?

Be intentional in setting up clear goals and action plans.

2. Disciple to overcome. Discipline is required in anything that we want to strive for. Nothing worth getting ever comes easy. Discipline also implies that sacrifices will have to be made in order to achieve something greater. Every successful person will demonstrate discipline in their actions. Discipline will mean that you will need to give up something in return. You might have to sacrifice some comfort in order to achieve your goals. Ask yourself:
a. What am I willing to sacrifice in order to achieve my goal?
b. What comfort am I will to give up?
c. What would happen if I gave up something in return to spending more time on achieving my goals?

Discipline requires determination, commitment and willing sacrifices.

3. Focus on the prize. Staying focus on the prize will help you to avoid distractions. Keeping your focus is hard especially when the demands of this world is so varied and constant. Making the decision to go for your goal requires that you constantly review, reflect and refocus. It is important as part of the goals that you have set, you are clear on the benefits or rewards of achieving the goal. Questions to ask:
a. What do I get out of achieving the goal?
b. What deeper purpose am I serving?
c. What impact am I making?
d. Who and what will this benefit?
e. How life changing will this change be?

Every winner keeps an eye on the prize.
The answer to being the best lies in being intentional, discipline and focus. It will require sacrifices and hard work. The reward is always meaningful.

No matter where the outcome, so long as you know that you have given it the best, you are already rewarded with learnings, experiences and growth.

5 ways to be Intentional

There seems to be an acceptance and even of pride when we are able to describe our day or life as busy.    Busy seems to be a title that we wear with pride.  You can ask anyone “How are you?”.  100% of the time the answer would be “I am good and so busy.”  Is that what we really want to achieve out of this life?  To be busy?  I am sure that none of us want to reach the end of lives and think that all we have accomplished is being busy.

What can we do to change our perspective and transform the way we approach our priorities and time to bring about meaningful and significant outcomes?  The shift in our mindset starts with being intentional.  To be intentional with what we do with our time and energy.  To be intentional with how we align our priorities with time and energy.  To be intentional with completing the important goals and not to be distracted.

What can we do to be intentional?

  • Know what you want to achieve.  The starting block is always having a goal in mind.  Daily, weekly, monthly, yearly goals.  If you are starting from ground zero, start small.  Start with a daily goal.  That’s right, just ONE goal.  For example, to complete a report by end of the day.   Be specific in what you want to achieve.
  • Be intentional in how you plan out the day.  With that goal in mind, set aside the time to complete it.  Move your schedule around if you have to.  There is a need to put structure around achieving the goal.  Protect that time to achieve it.  You might even have to say “NO” to other people which could be the first for you.
  • You are in charge of your schedule.  It might seem like a foreign concept to most of us when our schedules and priorities are determined by others.  However, the truth is that you and I are in control.  If you do not take charge, then you are going to be busy and aimless.  Be intentional in one the part of the day that is for you and only you to complete your goal.  For example, set aside 30 – 60 minutes in your schedule just for you.  It might mean that you have to get up at 6am to get that time, do it.  It is more satisfying to know that you have accomplished something that you have set out than just going through the daily busyness and wondering at the end of the day, what happened?
  • Get use to saying NO.  The ability to say NO is crucial.  One of the first words any child utters would be NO.  To decline to “help” someone might seem so cruel and unhelpful, however, by saying Yes is being cruel to yourself.  Of course, I am not saying don’t ever help, just be selective in what you say Yes to.  By all means, help when you can and are able.  Just bear in mind that you do have a choice.
  • Reflect at the end of the day.  Time of reflection is a great way to build the “Intentional” muscle.  It requires practice and changes as we progress.  Time of reflection gives us opportunities to improve, to be grateful and thankful as well as to motivate us to continue to grow.

To be intentional takes time and effort.  The starting point is to start.  My favourite Yoda saying “Do or do not.  There is no try.”  There is a simple truth in that.  To be intentional requires doing.  Don’t try to be intentional, Be Intentional.

3 common traits of focus and intentional living

In today’s ultra busy world, there are so many things that capture our attention. We are being pulled from every direction and somehow we must cater and adopt them all. None us can walk down a street without something or someone calling for our attention. In the workplace, we are faced with multitude of priorities and goals from every point of contact. Managers will give employees goals, the organisation will have top down strategies and goals, peers will have individual goals and each of us will have our own. When we are at home, there are also expectations to be met. How can anyone manage with all that is demanded.
There are many methods to achieve a balance in our approach to handle the demands. We have prioritisation methods, mindfulness techniques, roles models and sage advice from people who have achieved success. The key question is what would work for you? We can learn from every tips and tricks in the book. The real test is when the rubber hits the road. How are we living it out? How are we balancing all the different demands and priorities?

In my coaching experience, there are few simple questions to get the process going.

 1. The starting block is to ask yourself, “What are the most important things in your life?”.  

 2. List them all down and I mean all.  

 3. Rank them in terms of importance from 1 to n.    

 4. Ask yourself, “Is that how I am spending my time and focus?”.

 5. Based on how your spending your time and focus, what is the ranking on that list?

 6. What would you like to change ?

In most cases, the list that we first come up with is the “ideal” list. The wish list in our minds based on preconceived desired outcome. Reality however will show that there is gap. The biggest gap usually centers around people that we love and the demands of work. How can we bridge that gap? How can we focus on the things that we should ?  

There are 3 common traits :

 1. Focus on the non-negotiable. Hone into the areas of your life that no matter what cannot be set aside. My take is that there should not more than 3 non-negotiables. It is hard to truly focus if we have more than that.

 2. Protect that turf. Set aside time and energy to do them. Protect that time and unless it’s life and death, it should not be interrupted.  

 3. Be present for each activity and contact point. It is how we spend the time that matters. When you are engaging in a conversation, be present and attentive. We have all seen people around the same dinner table but no one is talking to one another. Being present takes focus, attention and it is intentional.

I have witness a number of people who are extremely focus and intentional in how they live out their lives. They have figured out how to focus on the 3 biggest aspects of life : work, family and service. It is not by luck or chance that differentiates them. It is solely by them asking the hard questions, resolving to live out intentionally and focusing on the heart of the matter daily.

Are you living a life that is focus and intentional? Our significance in this life is not measured by how busy we are but by the impact we have. The only sure way of making an impact is to be focus and intentional with our time, energy and people.

Opportunities Everywhere: What do I focus on?

I had a session with a client this morning and she was just exploding with excitement as she was faced with so many different opportunities and was getting pulled in many directions as a result of that.  It’s a great problem to have in a way, and yet can also be daunting and confusing if we are not clear on what it is that is aligned with our purpose or something that is meaningful.  We may uncover a hidden talent, new opportunity to start your own business or a new role or promotion and so on.  Some might seem to be very different from what you are currently doing.  And yet seems exciting.  So what are you going to do?

What can you do to help you focus and decide?

  1. Go back to what you want to achieve or accomplish or purpose.  Does the opportunity align with what you want to do?  Does it extend what you are currently doing?  Does it help you to learn a skill that will help you in achieving your goals?
  2. Time vs. Impact.  How much time will it take from you?  Will it impact what you are currently doing?  How does it impact what I am currently doing?  What are the trade-offs that I need to make if I were to take it on?  What is the impact if I did not take it on?  What is the impact if I did take it on?
  3. Talk to your “advisers”.  I am sure that you will have a group of people that you would consider as your trusted advisers.  Get advise or just talk it out with someone.  It is always beneficial to express your thoughts or emotions and in most cases you will achieve clarity.  When we hear our thoughts out loud, it helps to bring a certain amount of awareness.  This can help you with clarity and choices or next steps to be taken.
  4.  Decide and move forward.  Make that decision and move forward.  Don’t let a decision “hang” around as it will just cause further confusion later on.  Letting go and moving forward with the decision is an important step.  If you have decided to take on the opportunity then take it on.  If you have decided to not do it, then let it go and focus on what you have and see what other opportunities will present itself later on.

Confusion will only drain your energy while focus will increase your energy and excitement level which will lead to impact.