The strangest of moments can bring you insights. I’ll tell you that for sure. Do you see the picture that accompanies this post? That was moments after winning a silly competition where I had to use a piece of uncooked spaghetti to spear six ziti noodles without using any hands. How did I accomplish this faster than my competitors? Well, that’s where the insight came in.
How Can I Focus Better?
In that moment, my brain-chatter was intense: “I don’t want to be here. Why did I say yes to this? This is stupid? I’m going to LOOK stupid. Wow, I’m very shaky. My eyesight is a bit off.” And so on. My mind was all over the place. Until I decided to own the situation.
After that moment, my brain-chatter was this: “I’m here. I’ll do this. Move deliberately. Hold your breath in between attempts. Kneel to get yourself steady. That’s it. Great work. Get another one.” And so on. Focused.
I learned some of this from my recent experience with Jacqueline in completing a Spartan Race. We took one obstacle at a time. We worked on the challenge in front of us and we didn’t try to predict the future, nor did we attempt to dwell on the past. We were in the moment. In the now.
But it doesn’t just come naturally. There’s work to it.
Focusing is a Practiced Art
It helps if you have a plan. On the stage at that event, I didn’t have a plan, until I settled on: just get this done, and do so steadily. that’s all I had. At the Spartan Race, Jacq and I knew we would take each obstacle one at a time, that we’d jog as much as we could during the running parts but also catch our breath and not worry about a finishing time. We also knew we wouldn’t leave each other and we’d help each other through the process.
A Six Step Plan to Build Your Focus In the Moment
So, every obstacle we faced (and what I did to win the noodle-spearing event) was broken down like this:
1.) Access the plan or make a plan.
3.) Pace: deliberate but neither stalled nor rushed.
4.) Execute the plan.
5.) Only positive self-talk allowed.
6.) Celebrate the little victories to build a string of bigger ones.
You can apply this to business. You can apply this to life. You can apply this to everything you intend to own.
Ready? Set? Focus. Go.
Photo credit Wanda Booth, who is a very awesome person.