Updated: Apr 26, 2019
I can’t count how many articles, blogs, books, podcasts, and videos I’ve read, listened to, and watched about changing your life, transforming your outlook, crushing it, owning it, dropping the ball, leaning in, etc.
Over the past two years since starting my own business, I’ve been investing a great deal of energy, time, and resources learning, experimenting, and implementing what I’m learning to grow my business, contribute to my clients, and support my eleven-year-old son and myself, save for college, save for retirement, and enjoy all that I can in life.
Ultimately, the “goal” for me has been to align my work and personal responsibilities, to live a life that has more meaning, purpose, and one that works for my son and me--and in the process live powerfully making the most of the hand I was dealt—as cliché as that sounds as I read this, it’s my truth.
Today, my “goal” is to share with you one simple tool that’s intrinsic to all the strategies that I’ve learned thus far and one that can help you pursue what you want, in different areas, your career, relationships, finances, spirituality, community, personal growth, recreation, and more.
It’s time to “Focus!”
What does focusing mean to me? It means letting go, dismissing, de-prioritizing, removing or eradicating anything in your life that’s causing you agita and that’s making unnecessary noise in the symphony of your life. In other words, SHOW UP! for yourself. Take the reins of your life and be intentional about what you do with your time and resources.
For many of us, life isn’t easy—we may have demanding responsibilities and challenging situations, at times beyond our control. I’m not naïve about the fact that having the privilege to write this article indicates that I’m enjoying freedoms and luxuries that many in the world lack. But what I am doing is exercising this privilege by making the most of it. I’m grateful that I feel safe enough to say what I’m saying, on my laptop, to you on your smartphones and laptops.
So when I say “take the reins of your life and be intentional about what you do with your time and resources,” I’m considering that all of us are in a different situation, and regardless of that, we can still focus our lives on what we find to be essential and meaningful. Everything else is an unwanted, distracting, and often annoying cacophony!
How can we focus?
Take a few minutes and answer these questions to identify your most significant pain points and the nuances in life that bring you joy. When you focus on decreasing the pain and increasing the pleasure, with intention and attention, your experience, your mindset, and what you manifest in the world will undoubtedly transform to be more aligned with your desires. Don’t believe me? Try it, and then email me to share what happened. I’d welcome your stories.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself.
What are my biggest challenges right now, and how are they impacting me, emotionally, financially, and physically?
Be honest with yourself. Notice if in your answers you pick up any hint of deferred responsibility—are you blaming someone else for the challenges? Explore the role that you actively or passively play in each of these existing challenges.
How would my life improve if I address these challenges?
What would be the benefit of you focusing on starring these challenges right in the eye? Don’t misunderstand me. There are times that we rather crawl under our bed and forget our woes. And there’s a time and place to do that—to take a little break.
But when we live our lives in autopilot most of the time so that we can’t feel our situation, we ultimately pay the most significant price—living a mediocre, unfulfilling, regretful, and ungrateful life.
Call me crazy, but what’s appealing about that?
Be aware that sometimes addressing the challenge may result in a physically intangible outcome, such as the act of shifting your mindset, especially when the challenge may feel out of your control—e.g., a physical illness, a divorce, a financial commitment, a horrible manager, etc.
This simple act of shifting your perspective can incite significant positive ramifications in all areas of your life. Once you change your outlook however slightly to one that is more powerful, one that benefits you, that drives more positive actions on your part, what you experience every day will inevitable also change—as you are no longer showing up in the same way. In essence, you alone play the leading role in improving the dynamics of your interactions, behaviors, and relationships.
How can I address these challenges?
Ask yourself these four questions which reference the principles shared in the book by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements:
Am I being impeccable with my word?
If the answer is no, that’s one area to begin to focus on to tackle the challenges. Are you not saying what you mean and meaning what you say?
There’s always room for improvement. The people around us, family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, usually trust us (or not) based on our integrity.
Miscommunication and misrepresenting our intentions, our desires, our needs, expectations, etc., can easily set us up for failure. Nip it in the bud.
Am I making any assumptions?
If the answer is yes, explore the assumptions. If you eliminate them from the equation, how would you confront the challenges and the solutions differently?
From personal experience, to validate how we feel about a situation, our overactive imagination can conjure colorful, embellished, and more often than not negative assumptions.
Make a list of these assumptions and empower and challenge yourself to show up more authentically once you crush them one by one.
Am I taking things personally?
A resounding “Yes!” raises your self-awareness and provides the opportunity for you to examine how you would tackle these challenges and their solution differently when you realize it’s not about you.
I know the narcissistic part of us (we all have one, it’s a matter of to which degree) wants to believe that we’re at the center of all that happens around us. Most of us are too busy focusing on ourselves, nurturing our narcissistic persona.
What changes for you when you realize that you are taking some things personally? Can you be more creative and resourceful to devise solutions now that you figure out it’s not about you?
Am I doing my best?
If the answer is an honest “No!” then pinpoint where you’re not doing your best and what can improve if you did.
Consider if you’re putting in your best effort or barely hitting the mark, merely screeching by, surviving. Let’s highlight that doing your best can also mean taking care of yourself emotionally, financially, and spiritually.
It’s virtually impossible to be at your best externally when you’re feeling tapped out of energy and joy, crushed by economically demanding habits, and devoid of faith—even if that’s having confidence in yourself.
Focus on how to fill up your tank so that you can attend to the challenge at hand and perform at your best in the situation.
Opportunities to serve and contribute to others in a way that fills you up too abound. Stepping outside of our bubbles and using our natural resources to help others who are in need of our support will be karmically rewarding.
What brings me joy? How can I bring more of that into my life?
As long as what you enjoy is harmless to others and yourself, bringing more of what you enjoy into your everyday life is bound to enhance your overall experiences, and that of those in your circles.
Look for the small gestures, activities, and behaviors that bring you joy and do them intentionally—schedule them into your calendar if you need to remind yourself. Also look at the big picture, “out there” desires that you may joyfully envision for yourself.
To wait for everything to be “just right” or “perfect” before we enjoy what’s right under our noses is merely a missed opportunity.
Our challenges are overshadowed by our joy when we give ourselves permission to be present and cherish what is good in the here and now.
How Getting Focused Can Make a World of Difference in A Nutshell
Our time, energy, and resources are all the assets that we indeed have. When we don’t leverage and use those assets with intention and attention, we scoundrel our most significant assets.
Giving our assets away indiscriminately, ignoring them when we know what they are, or worst yet misdirecting them with disregard for our well-being is the equivalent of taking precious jewels and dumping them down the drain.
Instead, we can focus our assets, our resources, when we understand what is significant in our lives and how we want to invest them to create more joy, purpose, and abundance.
The world is full of “stuff” and not all stuff is created equal. Some stuff is toxic for us while other stuff brings us harmony, love, compassion, or other things that we desire. All that I’m proposing is that we be intentional and focus on the stuff that will enhance our life experiences.
If you enjoyed this article, I would love to read your insights in the comments below, and will be grateful if you share it with your social networks.
In the meantime,
Be fearless! (act despite the fear)
With love and gratitude,
Dr. Ginny Baro is a certified, international executive coach, motivational speaker, and #1 bestselling author of Fearless Women at Work.
Ginny specializes in helping executives develop leaders, maximize performance, and increase profits. As a career strategist, she partners with talented individuals who are navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their professional careers.
Where do you want to be 12-months from now? Schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session and learn for yourself how she can support you to begin creating the results you want.