“The individual who wants to reach the top in business must appreciate the might of the force of habit – and must understand that practices are what create habits. He must be quick to break those habits that can break him – and hasten to adopt those practices that will become the habits that help him achieve the success he desires.”
– J. Paul Getty
The book, The Power of Focus (by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Les Hewitt) provides powerful steps to increased focus and in turn improved personal effectiveness. It is not meant to be read and put back on a shelf. Each chapter ends with action steps which, if taken, can help the reader reach his or her personal and career goals.
In addition to helping the reader create new, positive habits, the book also suggests a system for designing a plan. It guides us to find our true life purpose.
According to the authors, “The only purpose of this book is to inspire you to take action.”
Successful Focus Strategies
- Successful habits: Develop personal habits that support a focused life, such as clearing clutter (both literal and figurative) from your life.
- Building on your strengths, not your weaknesses: We can’t be good at everything. Allocate the tasks that you put off because you are not skilled in that area. Concentrate on your strengths!
- Seeing the big picture: With each small step you take, keep the larger goal in mind. Myopia is the enemy of accomplishment.
- Creating optimum balance: If you are a leader, you are likely a very driven person. More work doesn’t always equal increased productivity. In fact, studies show that there is a point of diminishing returns, and a break for exercise, family, and interests actually increases productivity and focus.
- Building excellent relationships: Don’t forget that you are the sum of the 5 people that you spend the most time with. Take a moment to think of who that is, and if those relationships are building you up or not.
- Eliminating fear and worry: Worrying is like experiencing failure over and over again. It saps your ability to focus on the success of your current project, challenge or goal. Don’t let it get in the way of what you really want. Learn more about how to master this skill by downloading part of our Powerful Choices Series on Fear.
- Asking for what you want: This is a simple idea, but often is most difficult to carry out. Save the mental gymnastics associated with maneuvering around what you really want. Just ask!
- Consistent persistence: Have you ever heard the axiom that “the best exercise is the one you’ll do consistently?” The same is true of your ability to use the power of focus.
- Taking decisive action: Seth Godin, business leader and marketing guru says, “Just ship it! Most people can work on projects, but can never quite make the delivery.”
- Living on purpose: Focusing will become natural when you are living on purpose. How do you do that? Ask yourself what you are providing in the world. How do you serve? That is your answer.
At a time when multi-tasking is considered a positive asset, this book reminds us that multi-tasking may not be the best strategy for success. We might be forced to cook dinner, do homework with the kids, and check our email all at the same time, but this is not going to work as well in our professional lives.
Have you ever attended a meeting where half of the attendees are texting under the table? How does it make the presenter feel? If it’s the boss, what is he really going to think of the employee who is doing that? Will it win respect or disdain?
There are more distractions than ever today. We are glued to our electronic devices, barely looking up long enough to cross a street. It’s even become a safety issue! That’s the ultimate example of we humans allowing ourselves to have our focus taken off the task at hand.
When we give in to a distraction, it takes us an average of 10 minutes to get back into the task we were previously performing. If you are writing a report at work and stop because you get the ding of an email or text message, you will then have to re-read what you wrote and re-focus your mind before you can get back into it again. You may even have completely lost an important point that you wanted to make. What will the consequences be?