You need to focus!
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You Need To Focus!

How does focus and allow us to create as well as achieve our goals?

Part five of a five-part series on leadership.

You Need To Focus!
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In part five of this leadership series, I'm still not going to give you a definition of leadership. I'm still not going to try to come up with one on my own, even though so much time has now been put into what leadership looks like. The fact is, your idea of leadership is what matters in the end. The way you choose to present yourself as a leader is a combination of the traits which you possess. I hope that my ideas have helped you better understand your idea of leadership and given you traits to think about.

Part 5: What is focus and how does it help me achieve goals?

If I were to guess, I would say with confidence that you have some idea of what focus is in your life. I could guess with confidence that focus is a big part of your life, and that it guides you to the accomplishment of many of your goals. But what really is focus?

According to Google, focus is "the center of interest or activity". While this is a relatively concise definition, I think it is a pretty good one. Focus is literally the center of your attention or activity. It is what you choose to spend your time thinking about. It is where your mind is directed at any given time. This thinking does a good job of describing the noun, but what about the verb?

I would argue that to have focus, or to focus on something, is an action. This action is what directs our thinking. To have focus means to have a clear vision of what you are directing your attention toward. There is a clear end, whatever that end may be. Maybe that end is not truly an end, but a step or a goal which needs to be accomplished.

In today's busy world, having focus is the first task we must accomplish if we wish to accomplish a goal. If all we did each day was to sit on our phones and look at social media, would we really ever focus on anything? Sure, staring at your phone requires some level of focus. You have to make sure you don't drop your phone on your face. But what goal is being accomplished?

What makes the difference in the accomplishment of goals is having a clear vision for which to direct your focus. When you actively focus on your goal, as with forward-thinking, that goal materializes and allows you to focus on developing a strategy. This strategy, in turn, allows you to accomplish the goal.

In a leadership sense, this is not always easy to manifest. Often, goals aren't stated well enough to be clear and to facilitate focus. In my opinion, focus is cyclical. Once you begin to focus, that focus then allows you to direct your attention where it needs to go.

Through this cycle or focusing and refocusing, goals are accomplished.

The problem is that focus can be pulled in the wrong directions if you do not take the time to refocus. It is necessary that you take time to focus again on the overall goal and make sure your strategy is aligned with this goal.

Think about this familiar situation for a moment. You have been placed in a team at work and have been tasked with accomplishing some audacious goal. The goal itself is clear and you work as a team to develop the strategy necessary to accomplish the goal. However, once you get started, the entire teams focus is drawn in a different direction by the strategy. You are working, but not towards the goal with which you have been set. Time goes by and you take the finished product to your boss. He tells you that you have failed. Why is that? The team worked hard to create a finished product, but it was not what your boss asked for.

How could this situation have ended differently? Taking the time to focus and refocus would have allowed your team to successfully accomplish the goal. Your team was productive but not successful. You created something good that wasn't the desired outcome.

Herein lies the fallacy of focus. Too much focus on your current objective can pull you from your goal. Focus isn't linear. You cannot decide one day to focus, forgetting about everything until you accomplish your goal. Having proper focus forces you to change focus occasionally to remind yourself of the big picture.

I cannot help you become more focused. The ability to focus is innate in human beings, although there are some people who do struggle to focus because of biological issues. However, given the right circumstances and cues, everyone can learn to focus their attention on that which they desire to accomplish. The choice has to be made, as focus is not something that comes naturally.

The next time you feel as though you are having a hard time focusing, remind yourself of the cyclical nature of focus. Take a step back and refocus your thinking on the larger picture. Doing this will allow you to better understand what you need to accomplish now to achieve your goals in the future. If doing this does not help, maybe try moving your phone out from in front of your face.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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