Imagine you are sitting in the back of a large room. You are listening to an energetic presentation. Suddenly, the speaker pops a visual up on the screen. Your heartbeat speeds up. This is a critical revelation that will help your team overcome a significant obstacle. Without thinking, you begin to squint. You lean forward. You are interested in the content, but you cannot make out the words. Focus is a challenge.
It’s a helpless feeling when you cannot see what you need to see.
Seated next to you is a member of your leadership team. Her eyesight is perfect. She could read the small print on the screen without any struggle. You lean over to ask for her help. However, she was too busy checking her phone to pay attention to the information on the screen. Focus is a challenge.
It’s frustrating when you miss what you need to see because you are distracted.
Proper eyeglasses or contacts can help correct the first challenge. The second challenge requires a different kind of prescription. Greater focus begins with a couple of essential steps.
Define what is most important. Every day you live, you will have multiple opportunities to focus on various things. It can be your vision or it can be the loudest noise. Frequently, the loudest noise is a negative one that threatens, dilutes, and distracts. If you haven’t taken the time to define what gets you out of bed in the morning, it’s likely that your personal leadership vision is fading.
If you’ve drifted off course and allowed distance to separate you from your vision, it’s time to step aside and establish what is core to your existence. It’s necessary on an individual and organizational level. In a world where hyper-connectivity has become the norm, it’s important to guard against the detrimental effects of information overload. Clarity is indispensable. Without it, you will not be equipped to resist the relentless waves of potential distractions that come your way. How much information do you ingest that does little to encourage your movement toward what matters most? How much energy do you invest in distractions that work against positive momentum in your life?
After defining what is most important, you will be tested. If you desire to be successful in your ability to focus, you must find the courage to decide. Decide to fix your attention where it belongs. The benefits of improved focus are well documented. You can improve the speed and accuracy of your decision-making. You can reduce your stress. Focus will enhance your ability to reflect, evaluate and improve your leadership.
Your ability to choose “Yes” or “No” will test your resolve. Everyday decisions are investment decisions. Your energy, attention and time are finite resources. How will you decide to invest them?
As you answer this question you can bolster your confidence for the long haul. Improved focus will improve your endurance. Define and decide. Clarify what is most important, live by what captures your heart, and increase your mindfulness every day.