It seems obvious that focus would be a key to success within a business…but there are so many pieces to developing and growing a business and staying on focus is not just about the 50 foot view and keeping your eye on your overall mission. It is also about ensuring that the day to day details serve that mission and the goals you have put in place to reach your mission.
Business owners face a variety of distractions. Whether you are a solopreneur or have a team working for you, it is easy to get bogged down with accounting issues, personnel issues, corporate filings, legal matters or even just the daily processes that are important for the success of your business- like answering phones and emails. All of these activities are important, but are you the person that needs to be doing them? In most situations, your time would be more productively spent focusing on business development and income generating activities.
Being focused does not necessarily mean jumping on every opportunity. The question becomes not if an opportunity is a good one…but if it is a good opportunity to help me achieve my mission, based on my current strategies and what is happening in my businesses right now. Most people think of opportunity cost as, “if I don’t do something, what will I miss out on?”. But it is also important to consider opportunity cost of chasing something that may not be the right fit for where you are now. What are you sacrificing in this situation?
This doesn’t mean that your focus should turn into tunnel vision. It is still important to be on the lookout and be open minded to those opportunities as you just may come across one that is a game changer and you won’t see it if you’ve got blinders on.
Ask these questions to guide your decision making:
- Does this activity serve my overall mission or goal?
- Will this activity create measurable results that will improve my business?
- What additional resources will I need to acquire to effectively take on this activity?
- Will this cause me to divert resources from other activities that are currently generating revenue or contributing to the growth of my business?
- If I do have to divert resources, are the projected results of this new activity more favorable than the results that I expect to get from the activities that I am diverting from?
Your answers to these questions will help you discern if the door you are about to walk through will get you to your destination faster, or is the entry way to a labyrinth of wrong turns and dead ends!
Have you ever wished for superpowers? Or wanted someone to come rescue you from a situation or tell you what to do? Many people wish for that Hero in their life or that they can be that hero for others. This list is inspired by moments when my confidence has waned, when I have felt like I just am not enough as an individual to overcome what I am faced with or I am feeling overwhelmed. These reminders are my answer to self-doubt and my often unhelpful inner dialogue. It is with these reminders that I am able to push forward believing in myself and knowing that I am deserving of a rich life- one that provides for my family as well as my spirit. I carry with me the conviction through these reminders that I must be a hero for myself before I can be a hero for others.
- Wonder Woman and Superman are fictional characters. We are all capable of amazing things and should never sell ourselves short. But we often have expectations of ourselves that exceed what any mere mortal can deliver. If you have fallen short of super human productivity…don’t beat yourself up about it. Here’s why:
- Just because you didn’t get everything done on your list does not mean that you failed. It probably just means your list was too long to begin with.
- If you dwell on the things you did not get done, it devalues the accomplishments that you did make. Relish the knowledge that you added value and contributed in the areas where you were productive.
- If at the end of the day you did not check any “to dos” off your list but you helped one person, made one person feel great, improved your business, your finances or a relationship, then you have had a meaningful day.
- You must own it. You may have heard it before…possession is 9/10ths of the law. When it comes to confidence and self-worth, this is especially true. These are qualities that we find from within. They cannot be gifted to us from those that we love and likewise cannot be taken away. This is something that I have learned in the last 10 years through my own experiences and has really been driven home for me as I watch my children grow and develop their own confidence. If you aren’t quite at the level that you want to be…that is okay and no one has to know if you don’t want them to. Walk into the room like you light it up- and you will.
- Invest in what satisfies you. Do you feel prettier when your fingernails are beautifully manicured? Does a great morning workout best set you up physically and mentally to tackle whatever the day throws at you? Does meeting your friends over dinner once a week allow you to decompress and let go of mental or emotional baggage. THEN DO THOSE THINGS! You may be thinking, “But I don’t have time to do that stuff!” Happier, more fulfilled individuals are more productive. In reality…you don’t have time NOT to do this! If your budget is tight and you worry about justifying activities that cost money, find one that doesn’t cost anything. Hang out with friends at your place, take a walk or run around your neighborhood or spend time on a hobby that you love. The point is, invest that time in yourself!
- High standards mean big results. Have you ever heard a successful person say, “If only my standards were not so high, I could have done more.” Successful people get that way by setting big goals, surrounding themselves with people whose goals are just as lofty and not accepting anything less than excellence in whatever endeavor they pursue. And excellence for me looks different than your version…so don’t hold yourself to someone else’s expectations. Aim high in your own way and achieve your own individual definition of success.
- It is okay to ask for help. Now you are probably thinking to yourself, “But then everyone will know I can’t do it all.” Or maybe, “But if I cannot do it, that means I have failed.” Or maybe you just don’t like to ask for help. If this is your inner dialogue or you have some other negative emotional response to this reminder, please reread number 1 on this list. Proof of strength is not doing everything alone…but knowing when to ask for and accept help.
- You are wrong. It sounds harsh, but you know it is true. I am wrong, you are wrong, we are all wrong sometimes. Wrong is not a synonym for failure and being wrong does not trigger a beacon that lights up the sky with the “Epic Fail” signal. It just means that in whatever particular situation you were facing, you made a choice (or maybe a series of choices) that was not ideal. The good news is, next time you will know not to make that same choice. And it helped to narrow down what will be a better choice. Who knew being wrong could be so good!
- Your gut has ESP. Can you think of a time when you could not explain knowing something…but you just KNEW it? You “had a feeling” or “something was telling” you. Some people call it a gut instinct…others call it a sixth sense. It comes when we are searching for answers to a variety of questions: “Is that true? Is he/she a good person? Am I sick? Is this right for my business? What do I do?” Sometimes the evidence we need to make the right choice is not tangible or does not make sense on paper. But we still know. Trust yourself in these circumstances. I have never heard a person say, “I wish I had not listened to my gut on this one.”
- Love is the only superpower. As a human race, we like to root on our buddies, we are nurturers, care givers and supporters, and when we see others struggle, especially when they are close to us, we naturally want to help. We say, “If only he or she would let me_______” (you complete the sentence). Often we get frustrated because the people we want to help do not see things from our perspective and we want to “fix” or “save” them. It is time to trade in the frustration for the realization that we have the most influential superpower gift possible-LOVE. When we love others unconditionally and show that love, we never have reason to feel like we did not do enough or should have tried harder because ultimately, we have given the greatest gift we have. We have provided a gift that can be redeemed at any time, relied upon on a moment’s notice, and exists in the subconscious, in the heart and in the soul of everyone we give it to. It outlasts all advice we give and any action that we take. I believe love is the game changer in all situations…even if the person we give it to does not immediately realize it. You have never given up as long as you are still giving love.
- Everyone needs a friend. You are strong. You are independent. Others rely on you to get things done, to light the way and to inspire change. You are remarkable. The world can only benefit from your fullest contribution when others get to experience this level of remarkable on an intimate level. Not only will others be rewarded by the fullest version of you through close relationships, but you will be nurtured by those relationships in return. You may be able to “go at it alone” but why? Why not lean on friends when you need them and grow from those relationships while fueling the growth of others in the process? And when you have realized your successes you have a true friend to share in that joy with you.
- Emotions do not mean weakness. This is a concept that I have struggled with my entire life. I am an emotional person and I have empathy to spare. My heart breaks at the most inconvenient times and I process the entire emotional spectrum with tears. Happiness = tears; Sadness = tears; Frustration = tears. What I have learned over time is that this is what makes me who I am. This is what gives me the desire to be of service to others, the perspective to check myself when needed and to remember all that I have to be thankful for. There have been professional moments when I felt that my emotional nature was doing me a disservice…but have since come to the conclusion that this inner dialogue is a betrayal to who I am. As I tell my children…the emotions are never wrong. We cannot help the way we feel. It is our actions in those moments that tell people about our character, our fortitude and our passions. May you always be true to who you are and may your actions always be led by this truth.
We all have that hero within us. It does not come from superpowers and the strength to be a hero is not a matter of muscle. To be a hero for someone else, we must first be a hero for ourselves and remember that there is not one amazing moment that makes us a hero. It is the everyday leadership, the down and dirty perseverance and the willingness to rely on others that results in heroic measures. Review this list often and remember that you do not have to be super human in order to be a Super Human.