Make Focus Your Superpower
07/06/22 | Motivation
Make Focus Your Superpower
A young man came up to me after a speech and said, “may I ask you a question?” I said, “sure, go for it.” “I’m curious,” he said with an intent look on his face, “who motivates the motivator?”
Then he added this.
“I mean, how do you get yourself to focus on what really matters?”
The truth is, there are a lot of times when I need a kick in the butt to shift my perspective and get done what matters most. To focus on the things that drive real results.
Every day is a whirlwind it seems. We get distracted by a flurry of fake priorities and disconnected from high payoff activities that drive meaningful results at work and in life.
Focus is actually a product of motivation. Motivation is about what compels us to act and what compels us to act is the payoff we receive for the activities we choose to focus on.
Here’s the kicker, the payoff doesn’t always match the priority we give something. Sometimes we fool ourselves into thinking what we are focused on has a higher value and return on the investment of time than it actually does. This is when we mistake activity for achievement.
And sometimes we have competing priorities. Sometimes the payoff is emotional but equally important is revenue and driving profits. Perhaps the payoff is our mental well-being and physical health. Perhaps it’s our relationships that matter the most.
How do you juggle the competing priorities? First, you have to eliminate the fake and empty urgencies, like those that are disguised as important and need immediate attention. This gives you the margin to allow time for the things and people that truly matter.
Here are four things I do to gain focus on what matters the most.
Talk to yourself: The loudest voice in your head is your own. Be willing to give yourself the pep talk you’d give someone else if they were asking for advice on how to focus. Repeat out loud what matters the most and sell yourself on why this needs to happen.
Be Clear: Clarity is essential to achieving big goals. High performers are not confused about the return on investment. They understand the reward that will come when they accomplish their highest priorities. They keep the scoreboard in front of them and keep visual reminders close to them so they can see the end result of their focus.
Ask for Help: Ask the people around you to respect your focus. Explain to the team the importance of the goal and your commitment to getting it done. The people around you can run interference and make sure those nagging urgencies and fake priorities don’t distract you from the work at hand.
Celebrate the Win: This is really important. When you win, celebrate it. Reward yourself with something that matters to you. Do a touchdown dance, spike your pen, and do something that says “Yes! It is finished!”
Make focusing on your highest payoff activities a priority for the next 30 days. Block out time wasters and energy suckers. Leave the fake priorities at the door and watch your productivity sky-rocket.