Focus is such a personal thing. And some folks are so damn good at getting focused, keeping focused and not letting much of anything interfere. (Both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet claim that “focus” is their most important trait for success!).
Here’s a thought… the more we like something, the more focused we are capable of being.
Case in point: I love to cook. So, when I get it in my mind to make a certain dish, follow a recipe, make something up, bake a cake, try something new… I am totally focused on the task at hand. It’s not a problem for me to stay in the moment, be fully engaged with the cooking process, and stick with it till I’ve produced the finished product….
Another example… when I begin a project that has a clear beginning, middle and end, it’s easy for me to stay focused. It helps if it’s a topic I know something about, or am interested in learning.
Both examples have in common, what I call the “I” factor. “I” stands for two things; I (me, myself and I), and Interest. If the idea comes from me (I) and is something I’m keen about (Interest), I’m way more likely to stick with it and stay focused.
When I’m coaching a client and they bring up their trouble with focusing, I’ll sometimes suggest that they think of a time in their life when they were really good at maintaining a focused approach to a problem or a situation. What was different about that? What made it seem effortless to keep the focus? How did it feel to stay engaged on one topic? What was their level of self confidence coming out of the process? And in the vast majority of times, both “I’s” show up as they tell me their story.
Reflection is such a powerful thing- for us all. When we allow ourselves to think back and reflect on a time when we were doing well (focused in this case), we’re often able to get back in touch with how we got there, how the pieces fit together, and how we benefited. And those reflections can help us become more aware in our future.