You need to focus–and so do I!
I chose to write on this topic this week because I have discovered
that the more opportunities I’m involved with, the more difficult it is to
engage in focused thinking.
We must face this hard truth about success: you will not
achieve it if you are not willing to dedicate focus toward it.
In other words, there
is no success without focus!
Here are a few observations on how being focused can make
Focus harnesses energy toward a desired goal.
Philosopher Bertrand Russell said, “To be able to
concentrate for a considerable time is essential to difficult achievement.” The
greater the difficulty of a problem, the more you will need to focus your
energy to solve it.
Focus gives ideas time to develop.
John Maxwell asks a thought provoking question, “How much
thought does it take to think a thought through?” It is a bad habit to choose a
good idea that hasn’t been thought through. When we fail to focus on an idea
long enough, we settle for something less than what it could be. The more focus
you give to an idea the better it will become.
Focus brings clarity to the target.
Let me ask you a question; if you don’t know where the
target is, how will you ever hit it? Concentrating on the target is very
difficult when you are distracted. Focus makes it possible to see the
target, which is the first step to hitting the target.
Focus will take you to the next level.
Author Harry A. Overstreet said, “The immature mind hops
from one thing to another; the mature mind seeks to follow through.” To get to
the next level, no matter what that level is, it requires follow through. And
follow through requires focus.
There is an action plan that I refer to regularly that helps me develop and maintain focus. It’s what John Maxwell calls his Focused Thinking Action Plan:
1. Set aside dedicated thinking time.
Unless you make room for focused thinking, it will not take
place. You have to create it by blocking out time in your calendar, every day,
for thinking. Do your best to schedule this time in your most productive time
2. Create a place for focused thinking.
Now, it is very important that this place be only for you
and only for thinking. This place needs to be a distraction free environment
that is conducive to focused thinking – no phone, no television, no social
media, and no people. Then spend your scheduled time in that place.
3. Identify your area of focus.
What are your dreams? What are your talents? What sense of
calling do you have on your life? What decision is most important currently?
When you spend some focused time thinking about these questions it will help
you clarify your goals and identify your area of focus.
I want to encourage you—put the Focused Thinking Action Plan
into practice. It will help you in every area of your leadership. Look at your
calendar for next week. Find a free hour at a highly productive time of day and
block it out. Go to your thinking place and eliminate distractions. Now
identify a specific issue or opportunity that needs your attention and focus on
I believe Charles Dickens described a successful leader in
his novel Dombey and Son, “He did
each thing as if he did nothing else.”
Always remember: no matter what your goals are, you need focus in order to achieve them.
John Maxwell Leadership Podcast