Aim Higher: The Power of Focus


When you hear the word “focus”, what do you think of?

I am instantly transported back to elementary school. Our classroom was in a basement. I can still see the painted cement brick walls and can still tell you how many were between the door and the back of the class. Yes, I was bored out of my mind, and I remember that part vividly. What we were studying, I don’t know now and probably didn’t then.

My mind freed me from that boredom as I imagined other worlds, time travel, historical figures, the future. And then I would be snapped back into the present, literally, when the teacher stood in front of me and snapped her fingers and said, “Focus!

I was focusing, I thought, on anything other than your monotonous voice boring us to tears.

That was my first memory of the word and it wasn’t very positive.


“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four-hour days.” -Zig Ziglar


Focus is Key to Success

But today I know that focus is vitally important to success. Literally anything that we focus on gains strength and increases its chances. Most of my own abandoned goals are simply due to a lack of focus. Where I have achieved anything of significance, I used the power of focus.

The power of focus marshals a concentrated burst of energy in a direction that alters the current state and produces powerful results.

As we look at our goals for the year, it’s those that get our continued focus that survive and become reality.

Leadership is also all about focus. Leaders direct attention and resources through the power of focus. That starts with self-leadership and focusing your goals, and then it extends to leading others.


“Your focus determines your future.” – Skip Prichard


5 Ideas to Help You Focus

Here are five quick ideas to help you focus:


Direct your thoughts.

When you wake up in the morning and think of your goals, what comes to mind first? Mindfulness is an important way to gain control of your thinking and refocus on what’s important.


Eliminate distractions.

Don’t allow yourself to pick up the phone with every text. Don’t fill your refrigerator with junk food.


Learn to say no.

If you’re someone who always says yes, you will recognize the importance of learning to say no. Everything you say yes to causes you to say no to something else. By saying yes, you’re in danger of allowing someone to dictate your time, attention, and focus.


“Focusing is about saying no.” -Steve Jobs


Take control of your calendar.

Do you find your calendar full of meetings that take you nowhere? Do you find yourself responding to emails, allowing others to hijack your day?


“Instead of focusing on circumstances that you cannot chance, focus strongly and powerfully on the circumstances that you can.” -Joy Lee


Master your habits.

What are your daily activities? Where are they taking you? If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you will find yourself struggling to focus.


“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.” -Brian Tracy


The bottom-line lesson for me is this: the ability to focus is an incredibly important talent. And it’s one we need to practice to improve. It’s the difference between a rambling, hour long monologue you’ll never remember and a quote that makes a million people smile. It’s the difference between a day where you go home feeling great about something you accomplished and a day where you can’t remember anything that happened. It’s the difference between making your partner or children feel like you connected with them rather than just being in the same room.

My panel on this week’s “Aim Higher” podcast— Tammi Spayde, Drew Bordas and Rebekah Kilzer, each have some very wise, very practical advice to offer on how to stay focused as a leader, in your work, and in your personal life, too. I hope you’ll join us. And I’ll suggest that you put down your second screen, step away from the TV, and focus for about half an hour on this important topic.




More Quotes on Focus


“The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.” -Alexander Graham Bell


“Education was the primary focus in our family.” -Katherine Johnson


“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” -Bruce Lee


“Focus on what do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.” -Denis Waitley


“A focus only on tasks won’t build a team. You need to focus on relationships as well as transactions.” – Tammi Spayde


“Focus is a discipline.” – Rebekah Kilzer


“The ability to ask, ‘Is this working?’ is important to shifting focus when necessary.” – Drew Bordas



Photo Credit: Paul Skorupskas







Learn the important power of prioritizing sleep

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