Focus, as defined by the dictionary is - a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity.
I recently read an article by Dr. Marla Gottschalk titled ‘Why Focus should be the next big thing’, I loved the article and it got me thinking about how my life has changed so much over the past 6 months and how important focus is.
Up until May this year I had spent three years juggling three executive level jobs whilst also trying to raise money, two children and maintain a loving relationship with my husband. I was the ‘queen’ of multi-tasking, well so I thought.
It wasn’t until we successfully raised money and I came back into our business full time that I realised how stressful the last three years had been, what a toll it had taken on my health, my friendships (there was little time to socialise!), my children and my husband (to be honest the list goes on).
I was doing.
I was busy.
I was multi-tasking the hell out of my day, juggling and switching from one business to another as I answered emails, took phone calls, conducted meetings and presentations and managed and coached staff. Just thinking about it now exhausts me!
How did I do this? Well, I was attached to my iPhone 24/7 (sometimes checking it when I would wake in the middle of the night and responding to emails at 2am – yes occasionally, I hate to admit it – from the bathroom. Every second counted people) all just to stay ahead of the workload the next day. I was tired, all – the – time, as I look back I was never really present, in the moment, focused. I was always thinking 20 steps ahead and in the end I secretly felt that I wasn’t doing any one job really well.
Lucky for me I do operate at high velocity so I am able to get through a huge amount of work and I know if my previous managers read this they would say – what is she talking about? (well at least I hope so) Because I did manage to achieve a great deal of success in all my roles over this three year period, in myself though, I recognise that I could have done a hell of a lot more had I been able to focus and remain focused.
We all talk about multi-tasking and as a female and a mother we wear our multi-tasking skill with pride and often lord it over our husbands and male counterparts. What I have come to learn is that it has its place but can also cause errors due to lack of attention and focus. Trying to respond to an email on my phone while yelling at my children to go upstairs and get ready for their bath can result in some interesting correspondence.
It was during this crazy un-focused time that my husband (also business partner) and I decided to engage a business coach. We knew we lacked focus and we desperately needed help.
Amongst all this craziness our business coach kept us focused, committed, accountable and sane. She guided us through what was a highly stressful time and as we look back on what we have achieved over the past year and a half it is extraordinary and immensely rewarding.
What has been fascinating is that we are now half way through our fourth coaching program and I have almost completed all of my KPIs which is unheard of (and they were a stretch), I even managed to compete in my first triathlon (it was mini) but I am completely chuffed that I did this - this is the power and beauty of focus.
As I was reading up on the topic I also found this TedEd talk by Richard St John about the 8 traits successful people have in common and guess what number 3 is – FOCUS.
There are so many distractions in our lives, most of us are multi-screeners, multi-taskers and wear multiple hats. Stop. Take a deep breath and just focus. You will be surprised by how much more you will achieve.