Focus, this is a word that I use frequently both in my personal life as well as my professional life. Focus is something we are always trying to capture. Even now, I’m trying to think of a way to capture your attention and keep your Focus. We are presented with countless distractions from both external stimuli as well as our own internal stimuli. That reminds me I need to send an email…hold on one more second, someone just walked into my office…notification, someone just posted something on facebook…OK, back to work.
Usually when we talk about Focus, we’re trying to keep your attention on a detail or series of details that play into the bigger picture. The goal of this post is to get you to focus on the Big Picture and how all those details play into each other.
“Begin with the end in mind.”
Goal: This summer I want to be comfortable taking my shirt off at every pool, lake, beach I go to.
That’s my end goal for the first half of this year. If I Focus on one or two things, it will be food and exercise. I’m going to weigh and measure my food, balance my plate with Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats. I’m going to listen to my body and train as often as possible. With this focus I should be good right? Let’s look at this as if it were a game.
The game is “Look Good, Feel Good” a common game many of us play. The players on the board are Nutrition, Exercise, Accessory Work, Stress, Sleep, Hydration, Intensity, Consistency, and Mental Health. There are other players of course, and they will find their way onto the board at some point. But for now, let’s focus on these.
In order to win the game and get the best results, I need to move each one of these pieces across the board. Now, what’s the best strategy to do that? Do I focus on moving one piece all the way across and then come back and move another? Think chess, checkers, connect four, all of these games involve multiple ways to win. If I focus on just one way, my plans may be ruined should an obstacle arise. Tunnel vision prevents me from seeing what else is going on, what’s working against me, what dangers are approaching, and other ways to reach my goal.
What if I take a step back and allow myself to see the whole board. Moving multiple pieces consecutively and allowing myself to see how each piece affects the others? Each day I’m going to start with eating breakfast, packing my lunch and snacks and bringing a water bottle with me. I’m going to pack my gym bag and layout my day to reduce as much stress as possible. Each and every move we make will have an effect on the moves that follow. More exercise means I’ll need more food to fuel my body. It will also mean I’ll need more sleep to promote recovery.
If all I focused on was more exercise, I would miss out on these other moves to success. Seeing the whole board also allows me to see the game that’s being played and not get stuck in each individual move I make. Instead of just getting stuck on “I didn’t have a good nutritional day” I can see that my sleep, hydration, exercise and stress were all moving in the right direction. Looking at the whole board adds a perspective to how I approach each piece and how I should adjust it to progress forward while guarding against potential threats.
Staying with the exercise focus, if I don’t have perspective, I might not think about the lack of sleep and how that with influence my performance in the gym or my lack of willpower when it comes to food choices.
Life is a collection of years, the years get broken up into months and the months split into weeks which are separated into days and each day is a collection of hours. It is so easy for us to focus on the details of an hour or day. As enough weeks go by like this, we look back and say “where did this month go, this year is flying by.” We live in the moments, but from time to time we must step back and see the whole board. Are you taking the correct steps to lead you to the destination you want? Are you moving each piece or are you stuck on just one?