Staying Focused – Confessions of an Entrepreneur

Yesterday, one of my friends on Facebook posted a question.  “[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@brianmininger” suffix=””]What do you do to focus?[/inlinetweet]” It is a good question.  It is one that I have wrestled with.
With the focus of a magnifying glass, sunlight can start a fire rather than just warm a surface.  That is a significant difference.  What would happen if we could concentrate our energy, passions, talents, time, and abilities in the same way?  I believe we could “start a fire” and do something significant with our lives.

Photo Credit - Dave Gough

Photo Credit – Dave Gough

I understand this struggle to stay focused. Like right now. I started to write and then thought of a Text that I needed to send.  My continuous ideas, strategies, and tasks fill my mind and make it hard for me to focus.  How do I keep my eye on the goal and not get sidetracked?
Part of this is my creative ability.  I am always creating new businesses and ideas in my mind.  I come up with new things all the time, but I can only do so many of them.  The result is lack of focus.  I need to pick a direction and go with it.  One of those issues for me was my websites.  I kept trying to create a website about a specific theme or business.  Then I had ideas and interests in other areas.  Bringing everything together under this blog has helped.  It has allows me to focus on one website, business and blog.  I can still write and share about my varied interests.  I believe over time my focus will develop.
Seth Godin talked the other day about creating a business that does “new things” so that you don’t get bored.  For example “interviewing different people”  I love this concept.  It helps me envision how to structure things for my business.  For those of us who are “creative entrepreneurs” we need to develop lives and businesses that enable us to have a creative outlet.  This is part of focusing our energies.
So here is my number one strategy for keeping focused.  Take the time to clarify on paper what is really important to you.  Write down the passions, values and relationships that matter most.  Then describe what you want your life to look like.  Finally, take what you have written and keep it visibly in front of you, and each day evaluate your life based on this goal.  Anything, that doesn’t fit needs to go.
Now, there is one more problem.  Sometimes you have too many good things that fit into your life goal.  Then you still can’t focus.  In that situation, you just have to choose.  Pick something.  [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”@BrianMininger” suffix=””]Something is better than everything[/inlinetweet].  Don’t worry about getting the “right one.”  You just need to pick.  This can be difficult, but with practice it gets easier.
May the world see the greatness that is possible when you “Focus.”

What steps do you take to stay focused?

Share your thoughts in the comments below


4 replies
  1. Matt Schubert
    Matt Schubert says:

    Thanks Brian. Focus is critical. To maintain focus, I also find it helpful to write out my goals & my plan for the next 90 days on a whiteboard. I review it every day & I find some way to make progress on each goal every week. If this isn’t possible I probably have too many goals. This list helps me to say “NO” to competing demands & the cumulative effect of weekly efforts is powerful. The other Focus principle I find particularly helpful is to carve out time each week for the “big rocks” – the critical items & large tasks. Otherwise my week can easily dissolve into an endless parade of conference calls, meetings and email.

  2. Todd Parker
    Todd Parker says:

    I love the magnifying glass analogy. I have used and continue to use the tactics that you (Brian) and Matt have described. I have found writing out a vision with the desired outcome in mind is vital. Once I have clarity of the desired outcome, I spend a bit of time each day to project myself into the future to “inhabit” the desired outcome with mind, body and spirit. How does it feel to be living this vision? What are my days like? My relationships? My sense of gratitude grows. I anchor the desired outcome viscerally, with the feeling permeating my being. The feeling is key. Daily I practice this and connect again to the feeling. The feeling is transformative– focus emerges from the inside out. My focus is driven not by an idealized mental vision that may feel like a task master. My whole being is on board and guides my actions. The motivation flows with clarity.
    When I’ve embodies the feeling of what I want to create in my life, the motivation is their to adhere to the tactics my mind has created to take focused actions.
    If you truly want to create positive change in your life you must shift awareness inside yourself first. Are you ready to change? Have you “experienced” living your vision? Do you know what it feels like to inhabit this vision? If the answer is yes, and you connect each day to this feeling (even for 5 minutes a day), then you will manifest your vision.

  3. Todd Parker
    Todd Parker says:

    What does this look like in practice? We all need to find a practice for maintaining focus to realize our visions. For me, I take five minutes in the morning to cultivate gratitude for all that supports me in my life. I also reaffirm in words the essence of my vision to maintain clarity. That’s key. For me it is seven words: “I pray for true abundance and prosperity”. I sit with this until I have the feeling in my entire body, along with overwhelming gratitude.
    I have invented catchy “mantras” to remind myself of the big picture goals. For example I am focused on the three “F”s: 1. family and friends–I count this as 1 of the Fs. It’s about the quality of my relationships. 2. Funding–creating the income home to support the vision. 3. Food: food? Yes food. Part of my vision is growing as much food in my backyard as possible.
    The 3 F’s work together to realize my vision. For example, The focus on Food supports Funding by lowering grocery bills and gym membership costs (because I get my exercise working in the garden). Food focus supports the Friends and Family because my kids are involved intimately with planning, growing and harvesting. We do this together and it is immeasurably satisfying.
    I share this as an example of what is working for me to maintain focus on living the life of my vision.
    I hope this is helpful. May anyone reading this cultivate clarity of vision and their own way of being to manifest it!

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