Everyone knows the value of focus, of concentrated single-minded
attention - like keeping your eye on the ball. Yet, how easily we
lose focus on our way to the achievement of a goal. That can be a
sales goal, a personal, business or career goal. Those ol' lions of
doubt and fear keep coming up in the form of internal chatter. You
know the chatter: "You won't make it. The customer will say 'no'.
She won't want to dance. You're not good enough, fast enough, smart
enough,"...or some other "not enough" meant to discourage you. But
why is that? Why do those voices persist?
Well, there's all kinds of conjecture, from disfunctional family, to
flat feet, to former failures that haunt your thoughts. Who knows
for sure? No one. Yes, those lions of fear and doubt serve a
purpose. They keep you from attempting to jump a big puddle in your
new sneakers. Doubt says, "You might not make it." Fear says, "What
will your Mom have to say about ruining the look of those new
sneakers?" Fine, so far. But by the time you're an adult, the lions
have no business jumping in on every new adventure or new thought
you have about going for some goal...or some gold.
So, what's this got to do with focus? A lot. Focus, on its own is a
worthwhile verb. But for the purpose of the rest of this post
(article), focus will also be used as an acronym: F.O.C.U.S. =
Fearless Outrageous Commitment to Unwavering Success.
Here's a distinction to think about. I first came across it,
listening to a tape by Dr. Barbara Sher. She used smoking, and the
goal to quit, as an example. Essentially, she said that there is a
big difference between those who "want to quit", and those who "wish
they wanted to quit".
Do you have a FOCUS, or do you wish you had a FOCUS? Are you
fearlessly outrageously committed to unwavering success, or do you
have a lack of courage and a surplus of waver? Let start with the
courage issue, and how to get rid of the wishy-washy approach. To do
that, we'll first come back to those lions, that discouraging (did
you catch that?) chatter and negative self-talk. How do we quiet
those rascels down? Now, before you let out that sigh, as though
this were a rhetorical question. Stop. There are ways! With a simple
process of "inner work", the lions can be tamed. And here it is, for
your reading pleasure, and your lifelong companion:
There are three steps. Step One: Stop and be. Just be quietly aware
of the present moment. When the chatter starts up (which it will, in
a nanosecond), return to simple quiet awareness - again and again
and again. Look around your environment and suspend any internal
narrative. After a few attempts at this, you'll notice a palable
settling down and inner quiet that naturally moves you into a state
of relaxation. Step Two is designed to lengthen the time in Quiet
Awareness. Notice your breathing. Notice when you inhale and notice
when you exhale. Stay in Quiet Awareness and overlay it with Breath
Awareness. This will keep you in Quiet Awareness longer, make it
easier to return and prolong the relaxation time. It takes practice.
But the results can be astounding. Sounds too simple. But try it.
One more. Step Three: After a few days, weeks, months or years
practicing the Quiet Awareness with Breath Awareness (you'll know
when you're ready - maybe), begin to "listen" internally. To
localize this internal listening and move it from a vague listening
to a stabilized contained listening, listen to your heart. Yes, your
heart. A little aside here: The heart has neural cells (brain
cells), and depending on who you read, a lot of them. So, listening
to your heart may not be all that "cosmic". Also, keep in mind that
when we think of someone who is wise, and kind and loving and
compassion (those are on your list of good things to own, right?),
we don't say they have a good brain. We say they have a good...what?
Right. Heart. The heart can offer the brain a "wisdom whisper" that
will change your life perspective like a thunderbolt! No words, just
a new clarity about who you are, and what your purpose is in this
That's it. Quiet Awareness, overlaid with Breath Awareness and
later, Heart Awareness. To describe what will happen is impossible.
OK, I'll give it college try: You will have discovered a wonderful
stress management tool that at a minimum is a way to quiet those
lions, that will pay handsome dividends in your business and
personal relationships, and maybe even lengthen your life. The
maximum is definitely beyond words and must be experienced directly.
Enlightenment is bandied around a little too blithely these days,
so I won't go there. Oops.
Now you can move on to the "Outrageous". An anon quote: Be
outrageous. It's the only place that isn't crowded. This is tied
to "Commitment". You don't really need to have "Outrageous
Commitment" explained. You know when you're outrageously committed,
and you know when you're not. Same with "Unwavering". Now "Success"
is something that you might think is different for everyone. Nope.
Same for everyone. Oh, stop shaking your head. What's on your
success list? Not the same as on mine, or your best friends, or your
bosses, or your subordinates. But...what are the lists about?
Yes, you in the back of the room? Right...happiness and contentment.
That's the measure. Same for everyone. See? Good for you.
PS: To help you remember the relaxation, or meditation, process, you
might use the non-word "Q,Baha" as a "mantra" for a while until you
can naturally flow with the Quiet Awareness to Breath Awareness to
Heart Awareness. Some of my clients like to use "Q" as a...cue. On
the inhale, they silently say "Q", and on the slow and gentle exhale
say "Ba...Ha". Have fun with Q'Baha.