Thursday, April 2, 2009

What's Your Focus

By B. Stuart Noll
All Rights Reserved

The old adage is “your energy goes where your focus is.” Like a laser beam, focused energy can be very powerful. Powerfully focused energy can be constructive or destructive. Energy that is disrupted or dissipated is just energy with potential. It can be stored for later use, sometimes moved or transferred from one place to another but, unused it accomplishes nothing and when any power source is disrupted it is, for a time at least , unused! Agreed?

Okay, so what’s the point? It is critically important to be aware of the direction and employment of our energy. It is our “personal power” as author and motivator extraordinaire Anthony Robbins would term it. If we permit our energy to be disrupted we run the risk of at best, not achieving our goals and at worst – the proverbial burnout! So, what is your focus? Where is your energy? Is it being used or disrupted? Is it focused and powerful or is it weak or being transferred, stored, or in the worst case scenario, depleted?

For many of us, regardless of our circumstances, the stresses of daily living (or surviving as may be the case for an ever increasing number of us today) drain our physical, mental and emotional batteries with each new event, depleting or exhausting our energy resources. Even with advances in technology and medicine many people today, at every age level, are losing their precious “personal power” one distraction at a time. None of us intends to have more day left at the end of our oomph but, it happens, and usually without us even knowing how!

A number of years ago I had the privilege of working as an industrial engineering supervisor with United Parcel Service. As a part of my training I performed elemental time studies and methods evaluations on package car drivers and what I learned I think has application here. After careful analysis I found that most drivers who lost time, when compared with a predetermined method, lost that time unintentionally and in small increments. They weren’t slow; they were losing time a few imperceptible seconds each minute, unintentionally throughout their day. Of course, time was money for “The tightest ship in the shipping business.” When the driver corrected the methods they used to accomplish their daily routines the lost time disappeared.

I believe the same is true of our disappearing energies. Our power isn’t usually sapped by one catastrophic occurrence, but by little, almost unnoticeable distractions permeating our worlds. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the kids or an interruption at work or a driver cutting us off in traffic, when our focus is interrupted we lose a little bit of energy. That’s not the worst of it. If, in our minds, the interruption throws us completely off kilter and the distraction becomes a sustained nuisance we can lose a significant amount of stored energy that we intended to use to accomplish our goals.

The associated thoughts spiraling and fuming within us during and immediately following an incident can often cause a significant shift in our mindset and a subsequent continuous drain on our energy levels.

In reality most things are minor issues yet they have the potential to divert us from investing our energy into positive, dynamic thoughts and actions which would produce, perhaps, a more pleasurable or intended outcome.

I have experienced this diversion of energy and loss of focus first hand and I have seen it in others and the result is almost always the same. At best, it takes time (another loss of a non-recoverable resource) to get back on track with our thoughts and then our actions related to our priority. At worst, we are so distracted by just one incident that it bleeds over into other facets of our day. They, in turn, also sap our energy until, at the end of the day, week, month, year or lifetime we have lost total focus of our objectives.

Whew! I’m glad that’s behind me because now I want to get at the how-to’s of all of this. I believe we can maintain our focus and reserve the necessary energy for achievement by following a few simple rules:

1) Get rid of your ego (the unhealthy side, that is) and be in the present with yourself and everyone around you. I have learned through study and experience how debilitating the ego can be to a relationship(s), the execution of goals and the pursuit of happiness. When we place greater importance on obtaining what we want in lieu of remaining in tune with the present and open to the possibilities we are often robbed of time and energy. When we are distracted from the present moments focus to dwell on a past or future desire that isn’t yet a reality we are wasting valuable time where energy can be invested productively. If you are looking for reasons why this is so I suggest you begin to search within, because so much more will be revealed to you on that journey. For now I think it wiser only to share my experience.

2) Decide what really matters and practice it with all of your heart. If you have a hard time deciding, ask yourself “Why am I here?” After you begin your search for or get the answer to that question, then; don’t look back and don’t turn back. Limit the possibilities of external interference to the achievement of your goal or mission’s success and focus, focus, focus! Remember, distractions can sap you of your energy, so play the odds and limit the opportunities for disruption.

3) Incorporate teamwork. There is no need to venture out or go “it” alone. By “it” I mean life or any goal within it that you may choose to pursue. Creating a team to help you live life and accomplish goals not only enables your success, it multiplies and distributes it, often to those who need most what you have to offer. Human interaction promotes human growth. By including others in your life and in your projects you are inadvertently promoting and producing a positive energy - fuel for the mind and for the heart and for the spirit that will propel you to an unimaginable finish. At the same time, you may be taking someone else with you whose need and journey is even greater than yours. Or, better yet, you may be the spark to a friends own personal journey which increases their focus and energy!

4) Initiate and maintain healthy physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual habits. If you are having difficulty determining for yourself what healthy habits are, this would be a great reason to incorporate teamwork. Get help, find a friend, find a coach, but get going. Increase your opportunity by starting as early in life as possible building strong, healthy habits. Even in today’s difficult economy I promise you that developing positive health behavior will pay a dividend of focus and energy far in excess of any investment in them you could possibly make. I ask you not to believe me, but try it, right away. The longer you wait the more momentum it will take to begin.

5) Choose! This life is a life of choices. They are indeed abundant, but you must choose or you run the risk of boldly going nowhere. Whether you get there fast or slow doesn’t really matter does it? All of us need the gifts and talents of those with whom we share this world and life. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re connected.

So, I implore you to choose to find your focus and increase your energy by getting rid of your ego, deciding what really matters, incorporate teamwork into your life, initiate a healthy lifestyle and choose to put your gifts to work for the benefit of all. Pursue your life’s mission with zest, fervor and faith. If you follow this brief recommendation I’m confident your focus will crystallize and your energy will escalate bringing you closer to the life you desire. Living a full and productive life essentially requires two things – a decision to begin and focused energetic action to finish what you start. For all of our sakes, please get started!

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