What you focus on expands
Do you know how often we focus our attention on exactly the opposite of what we want? We see a coworker with a cold or flu and we say “Oh I don’t want to get sick!” or we’re driving on the highway and the fuel light is on and all we can think about is coasting to a stop at the side of the road, stranded. How often when you’re preparing for that big sales meeting or important presentation do you find yourself thinking about all the things that could go wrong, or just worrying about blowing it? We do this all the time and it’s undermining our ability to achieve our goals.
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there. -Lewis Carroll
The most important thing to do if you want to make a change or set a new direction is to get crystal clear on your goal and put all of your attention on the successful completion of that goal. Because your mind is powerful and will perceive more of what you are focusing on, by default. In other words, your focus affects your perception, so what you focus on grows.
First, get clear on what you want so you know what to focus on
I encourage you to you take some time now, regardless of when you’ve last done it (if ever!), to reflect, re-assess and re-align your direction. Without this effort, your direction may not be clear and goals never realized.
Here are some ways to do this:
- What course correction is needed in my life right now? Based on all the new information and experiences and learning since you took a pause and reflected on things last, what needs to change to make sure you are tracking on target once again? A full review of all areas of your life is in order once in a while to identify adjustments that might be needed on the plan.
- Where have I stopped honouring my boundaries (that is, my values and beliefs)? As time goes on, sometimes we let our boundaries slide, and then we find ourselves in a situation that is uncomfortable, frustrating or downright ugly. Often this is a direct result of not honouring our own boundaries. Now is a great to ask, “where did I say ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no’?” and, “what truth do I need to communicate in order to honour my Self?”. An example might be, “I am not willing to be around people who are chronic complainers.”
- What do I want? So often we forget how to allow our ‘wanter’ to be activated, by believing something unattainable, too much work, or a pipe dream. But every now and then it’s good to let those lost dreams bubble up, to play with them and adjust them until we gain some new clarity about that positive future outcome that we’d just love to create. So pause and ask yourself, “What do I really want? really?” “And where have I settled with less than I want?”
- What’s the first step I need to take? Backtracking from that exciting dream or goal, what are the milestones that need to occur back to now? It’s far easier to figure out the immediate next step if we work backwards from the final outcome and identify the milestones needed to be achieved back to the present.
- What’s holding me back? Really, what’s getting in the way? What gets me stuck? And what support do I need to get through or around the obstacle to get back on track? Sometimes the thing that’s in the way is removed simply in the process of identifying it. Other times, some work is required to uncover the root cause and to devise a solution.
Focus on what you want
Once you’re clear on what you want, spend time with your goals, imagining what it will be like. Put yourself in the place of having achieved them already and bask in the satisfaction. Explore all the positive implications and consequences of having achieved these outcomes. This can be a daily practice of mood-lifting daydreaming.
The more intense the positive feelings, the faster it is coming to you! -Abraham-Hicks
Here’s the catch. Our unconscious mind does not process a negative. So when we think “I don’t want to mess this up!”, the unconscious mind hears “I want to mess this up.” When we think “Don’t miss that deadline.”, the unconscious mind hears “Miss that deadline.” And when we think “I don’t want to lose my money in another crash!”, it hears “I want to lose my money…”.
The world is full of contrast, constantly showing us what we don’t want so we can get even clearer about what we do want. Notice when you are struck with a thought about something you don’t want and convert it to a positive thought as quickly as possible. This will take practice. For example, “I want to stay healthy.” “I will get that contract.” “I will ace this project!” “I want my money to be secure.”
I wish you all the best as you re-focus your mind and re-align your life towards more of what matters most and more enjoyment and success.
How do you keep you focus on track? Please share!