Focus: It means the difference between success and mediocrity

The intensity of Oliver's eyes, in fact every fiber of his face, illustrates his ability to focus in the moment. A lesson we should all learn from.

The intensity of Oliver’s eyes, in fact every fiber of his face, illustrates his ability to focus on what is important to him. It’s a lesson we should all learn from. Photo by Caitlin Selby.

There are many demands placed on today’s worker. No one is exempt from this pressure, from CEO to clerk. We’re all asked to accomplish a high volume of error-free outcomes. Just keeping up with a day’s worth of incoming email can seem daunting, much less making headway on the long-range goals you’ve set (or others have set for you!). Ironically, the frenzy pace we regard as the norm for anyone doing great things, actually hinders us from being more successful. Where we focus, we achieve. It’s really that simple, but it’s not that easy.

It might seem like having lots of goals will surely result in some success. But spreading ourselves too thin means we don’t accomplish anything. Things end up half-baked, unfinished, or lackluster in their quality.

Our animal friends don’t have this problem. They focus on the important things in their lives without worrying about extraneous stuff. They are laser-focused on the things that matter to them personally. Have you ever had a cat stare you down? They will lock into your gaze and you know they mean business. Their mind is totally focused on what they want and will persist until they get it. Likewise, Grace is relentless, and I mean relentless, when she wants dinner or a walk. She is crystal clear about what she wants and there is no question on her focus to get it. It’s as if there is no option in her mind to deviate from the thing most prevalent and important to her. What a gift this is, reminding us to be focused on what we want and do what it takes to get it.

If you, as a business leader and manager, are piling the work too high for yourself or your staff, you aren’t creating an environment of success. It’s impossible to focus on a dozen high-priority objectives! Stick with one, two, or three, depending on the available resources and skill sets. That allows you, or your employee, to channel energy in a way that is productive. Seems like a no-brainer, but trust me, I fail at this all the time. I load up my daily ‘to-do’ list, and have grandiose ideas of what I should be accomplishing over a period of time. And then I find myself disappointed with what I (haven’t) done. Yet, when I get realistic about what is important, focus on that one thing, that’s when I find success — and happiness in what I’ve achieved.

Take a lesson from a dog with a bone. Focus is the key to getting what you want out of life.

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