I often find meaningful metaphors for change in nature. Last week, I gave myself a gift of a few fun days after exhibiting and presenting a breakout session at a national conference, and did some hiking in Napa Valley. It was my first time in this beautiful region. After many rainy days in California, the sun was shining, the air was warm… and the trail was muddy! My goal for the day was to enjoy the fresh air, explore the park and the nearby town of Calistoga.
So here I was among the tall redwoods noticing how my attention was constantly being pulled away from one thing toward another. I was focusing on 1) looking down to avoid the mud, 2) looking up and see the magnificent trees and 3) looking ahead to avoid any obstacles in my path. No matter where I was looking, I wanted to look elsewhere.
In the workplace, each time we look away from where we are heading, we lose something. We might gain something else, such as appreciating the beauty of our surroundings but we also lose time, momentum or balance, and increase our risk of falling or failing to meet our goal in a timely way. Can you afford to look away from your goals at work? Do you have time or momentum to lose?
Today’s organizations, especially a STAR Organization, we must stay focused on your most important tasks and resist the temptation to be pulled in another direction. When you have a goal ahead, where do you look? Do you let yourself be distracted or do you stay relentlessly focused and stay on your path? Achieving your goal requires the unrelenting focus of your attention and the inner strength to say no to distractions.
If you look too far ahead of the goal, you might feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the distance or the challenges that are sure to arise somewhere on the path. Just as in hiking, keep your focus ahead of you, perhaps just a few steps or a few feet, especially when you are concerned about arriving at your destination in a particular timeframe.
To remain focused on your path to change:
- Notice where your attention is focused
- Keep your pace
- Keep your gaze slightly ahead of your steps
- Stay in step
- Discipline yourself to avoid distraction
- Recognize that each time you look or move away from your path, you slow down progress
Stay tuned for my upcoming book later this year (tentatively titled Be a Changemaster) which will contain a chapter on focus; Remain Relentlessly Focused.
“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books.” ~John Lubbock
~ Karla Reiss, Professional Coach and Organization360 Consultant Licensee