Have you ever watched American Ninja Warrior?
The men and women that compete in that show are INTENSE.
Before the show, they often build homemade American Ninja Warrior style courses to practice on, they hire trainers, and they learn how to do the craziest obstacles — we’re talking lifting your own body weight up a scaffolding that is mind bending….
All in a quest to win one of the most grueling physical competitions in the world.
Their feats of physical prowess are absolutely amazing, but what’s even more amazing is their focus. You can see it in the eyes of the best competitors.
Focus IS what gets them through the next obstacle and the one after that.
In business, like in the American Ninja Warrior competition, focus is one of the keys to success.
With it, you can scale any height.
Without it – you crash and burn.
Here are five ways to hone your focus skills in business and in life.
Write down your goals (on paper).
Paper engages your brain in a way that nothing else does. When you use a pencil or pen and write on paper, you can see your ideas out in front of you in ways that just don’t happen on the computer.
When you’re creating your goals, make sure that these are things that you actually want to accomplish.
They can be things like “build a recurring revenue business”, “create revenue from my email list” or “develop a back end offer for my best customers”, or even “create time in my schedule to go fishing”.
Whatever your goals are, writing them down will help you to keep them in laser focus.
For those who are true digital diehards, there’s a great screen protector called PaperLike that makes writing on your iPad feel like paper, I love it.
Develop experiments that take you toward your goal.
In business, a great deal of what you do is going to fail.
This sounds terrible, but it’s actually quite desirable.
Because it gives you a tremendous amount of freedom to experiment toward your goal. And it lets you harness a pretty typical entrepreneurial trait for good — the desire to try new things.
Jeff Bezos — of Amazon fame — made a pretty profound statement about the payoffs of experimenting…
“Given a ten percent chance of a 100 times payoff, you should take that bet every time. But you’re still going to be wrong nine times out of ten. We all know that if you swing for the fences, you’re going to strike out a lot, but you’re also going to hit some home runs. The difference between baseball and business, however, is that baseball has a truncated outcome distribution. When you swing, no matter how well you connect with the ball, the most runs you can get is four. In business, every once in awhile, when you step up to the plate, you can score 1,000 runs.”
When you experiment towards a goal, you are specifically looking at ways to achieve the goals that you’ve written down (they are written down — right?).
Your experiments should be designed to be as low risk as possible, and have data that shows whether or not you’re actually winning. And they should always, always be attempting to move you toward your stated goal.
When you set up experiments like this, you know very quickly or not whether they are working. And they help to satisfy that entrepreneurial itch of learning something new while helping you keep focus.
Our brains chatter at us all day long.
Telling us all varieties of things… “you aren’t good enough” or “you will never make it” or “maybe this idea is better”.
Mindfulness is a Western adaptation of an ancient Buddhist practice that helps to quiet that chatter.
It can give you the ability to focus on the task you’re doing instead of getting distracted all the time.
The easiest way to develop mindfulness in everyday life is to use meditation techniques. You simply sit still, set a timer and focus on breathing for five minutes to start.
Your mind will wander a lot, and that’s okay. The goal here is not to have your mind not wander, but to bring it back to your breath every time it wanders. Over time you can lengthen the amount of time that you “sit” focusing on your breath.
It’s like weightlifting for your mind.
As you strengthen your mind in this way, you will find it is easier to focus on the task you are working on in the moment.
I particularly like both the HeadSpace and Calm apps to do this.
Use blocking software.
The internet is awesome… and distracting.
And it’s designed to be a complete time suck. If you find yourself going down a Social Media – YouTube – News Site rabbit hole, you aren’t alone.
My personal favorite way to deal with this is free blocking software. The Focus Chrome extension is a little piece of software that sits on your browser.
You can put any site into it that normally becomes a distraction.
Then when you hit the “Start Focusing” button it blocks those sites for 25 minutes at a time. It’s amazing how much this one small thing can help with focus.
Review those goals
quarterly monthly weekly daily.
Yes, every single day.
Remember the goals in step 1?
We’re going to wrap up with them again.
Focus requires knowing where you are going.
And that means reviewing where you are going every day. Get out those goals and take a look at them every day to help keep you on track.
Focus is — in large part — is what defines the ability to be successful.
To Your Online Success,
Brian T. Edmondson
Founder, Internet Income Coach™
P.S. To discover more killer focus techniques check out my Six-Figure System™ eCoaching program. It’s a completely unconventional approach to getting more done in business in way less time so you can live the “online lifestyle”.
Citations: Observer.com and Sec.gov