The Importance of Keeping FOCUS
For all successful and success-oriented women, the one prioritized action item I recommend you do is FOCUS your efforts.
By FOCUS, I mean:
F – Follow your passions
O – Overcome obstacles
C – Continue your Growth
U – Understand Systems
S – Share your Knowledge
FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS
Over your lifetime, the process of understanding and following your passions helps you identify and navigate towards your more important achievements.
I'm a true believer in following your passion. You know, deep down inside, your core "thing to do." It's your mission in life! It's what gives you a sense of deep, fulfilled purpose. If you do not accomplish this thing, you probably feel just a little bit uneasy or bad inside.
To help you understand and remember your passion, take stock. Inventory your life stories, in particular those stories where you truly enjoyed what you were doing. What makes you proud? Where are you grateful? When were you doing something with your whole heart, soul, and every fiber of your being? Were there instances, events, or achievements where you were most filled with life? Which times in your life make you happy?
Richard Nelson Bolles' "What Color is Your Parachute" is an excellent guide for this exercise. He challenges you to identify twelve "stories" of your life in great detail, from your earliest childhood days until today. He encourages you to identify the *VERBS* within the stories. For example, typical verbs for me include: organizing, connecting, educating, and empowering.
Once you know those top 2-5 verbs that capture you at your personal best, you have the knowledge to expand your life to include hobbies, occupations, activities, and volunteer opportunities where you put those verbs into practice.
You can codify this by creating a Top Twenty Goals list, where you identify your top twenty goals for your life -- these are items that you must accomplish for you to feel your life is worthwhile.
Write down your goals on a piece of paper and carry it around in your wallet. Or declare them (see our members' declarations: http://www.asuccessfulwoman.com/?q=declare ) and refer to them at least once a day for the next month.
When I was a junior in high school, I went to summer music camp at Florida State University, where I took master classes with the piano professor in residence. He told me, to my face, that "You will never be a concert pianist." And you know what? He was right!
In retrospect, if I believe in what I'm doing with an unshakeable conviction, I overcome any obstacle, especially someone else's opinion. If I truly believe, I even take statements that say "you can't" as a challenge to prove my intent. Challenge makes us strong: we work even harder to achieve. However, this particular teacher was right: he sensed, at some level, that I didn't want to be a concert pianist.
I still play piano and I still share music with others, but I'm not a professional musician. My sister, however, is a professional musician, because she always knew that is what she is good at and that is what she was born to do.
We are what we believe: if I tell you that you never achieve anything and you never amount to anything... then, if you believe me, you act in ways to fulfill that belief system!
On the other hand: if I tell you that all your goals are possible and your entire life is already in place, you simply walk from one step to the next and answer the call that brings you forward... then, if you believe me, you act in ways to fulfill that belief system.
What are your obstacles?
What do you believe is possible?
What is not possible?
To what extent are you willing to believe your own reality?
How will you change?
Who helps you move forward?
Which beliefs do you choose to embody?
When we identify our values and goals, and we live in a way that supports those values and goals, we find all kinds of resources and opportunities that match our desired results.
CONTINUE YOUR GROWTH
Does change scare you? If so, you'll never be able to improve, and you'll never be able to take advantage of new ways of thinking and new ways of doing something.
Change is scary! That's just the way it is! No one liked to change their thought patterns or behavior, especially because as humans we are pre-programmed to desire routine and sameness.
That said, "if we're doing what we've been doing, we're going to get what we've been getting!"
If you're not feeling like you're achieving your full potential, then embrace change. Don't be afraid of failure, and definitely don't let fear get in your way. Fear, as my coach says, is "False Evidence Appearing Real."
When you are thinking as a change agent, you are open to manifesting whatever the universe has in store for you. T. Harv Eker in his Secrets of the Millionaire Mind book, explains his definition of an entrepreneur as "someone who solves problems... for a profit!"
When we incorporate entrepreneurial thinking into our basic mind-set (this might mean releasing any self-limiting or self-destructive thoughts), we start to see a world of opportunities: we start to see great ideas everywhere. We see an ability to change an existing product or service and make it better. Or we see a potential new product or service that we can create.
Change your routine around a little bit. Once every thirty days, incorporate something from your Goals list into your regular routine. Practice new habits! It takes ten times to get my son to try a new food and like it. Make a new habit part of your daily routine by committing to it. Write down your new beliefs on multiple pieces of paper and post them in conspicous places throughout your environment.
Changing your routine might be something as simple as taking an additional 15 minutes each day to take concrete steps towards your Goals: use your values to guide you.
When you embrace change, especially positive change, you bring yourself closer to your true self and you live with a greater sense of mission and purpose.
The world is made up of massive, interconnected, inter-related systems.
For example, capitalism is a system with creators, inventors, proucers, organizers, distributors, and consumers.
The ocean is a system with tremendous mini-systems including the wind, water temperatures, air temperatures, oceanic currents, water pressure, all kinds of bio-diversity from plankton to whales, etc.
Our own physical body is a system including the nervous system, the digestive system, the circulatory system, the skeletal system, the endocrine system, and thousands of other processes.
What affects one item affects other items. Once we understand how our actions and results "fit in" with the system that we are a part of, we achieve more clarity on our own skills and abilities. We achieve a greater understanding of the specific nature of what we offer. We utilize better knowledge on where we best "fit."
In the United States, multicultural women are traditionally minorities: we are not usually in the majority of opinions, thoughts, or decision-making at our place of work. This means we have a fantastic opportunity to closely observe our own system, then use our knowledge to share with each other, communicate and brainstorm to actively change our system, where change is needed.
For example, if each of us pro-actively promotes an anti-discrimination policy, or if each of us actively works to gain a seat on the Board, or if each of us contributes some of our time, talent, and treasure to better our communities, we actively shape and create the systems around us.
SHARE YOUR KNOWLEDGE
If you've come this far, thank you. I appreciate your readership and I encourage you to take some of these ideas and make them real in your own life. Practice and then come back and report on what you've learned so you can share with the rest of this community.
I love sharing any knowledge that I've learned with other people and I hope that you, too, will feel comfortable sharing your own valuable, unique knowledge. You will be amazed at how receptive other people are to your message when it's delivered straight from your values list.
So, to recapture the above: follow your passions, overcome anything that looks like an obstacle, always strive for continuous growth, understand the system that you are working within, and share your knowledge with others.
Send this link to someone that you trust and include a declaration of something you plan to achieve this year from your Goals list. This person will be a cheerleader for you and will help you achieve your goals... you will also inspire them to live with their values and goals in mind.
And come back and share what you've learned!