4 Resources To Help You Focus (Part 3)

My girls on the malecon

You ever heard of a “Life Plan”?

I heard about it a year ago from Michael Hyatt. Last post I talked about “The Wheel of Life” which shows us the key life areas shaped like a wheel. But the Life Plan takes it down another level- more specific.

After you know your major life areas, the Life Plan helps us do a few things:

  • Create a list values to live by
  • Set standards for each key area of life
  • Plan action steps for each key area

That’s it. Simple, right? It’s so simple no one does it and that’s the problem.

I’m sure there are tons of different ways of writing a life plan. In the one from Hyatt’s website you write a plan based on what your ideal situation would be for each key area of your life. For example this is what I wrote as the ideal situation in my health section:

“I am exercising at least four days per week; including strength and aerobic training. I am eating a balanced meal and getting 7 hours of sleep daily. My cholesterol is at a good level, my energy is high, and my mind is alert. My body feels nimble, toned, and ready for combat :). My memory is sharp and I can recall names, dates, faces, and facts easily.”

The Life Plan helps us find the specific steps we can take to stay on track for whatever goals we set on those key areas.  What makes the Life Plan unique is that within each key area, there are additional categories to help us stay on track and motivated.  Staying motivated seems to be the hardest part for me.

It takes time to write a life plan, but it’s worth it.

If you are not aiming your life towards some goals or objective, you can’t complain when you haven’t accomplished anything. That’s like people who complain about the President’s policies,  but never vote.

This reminds of me something Zig Ziglar is famous for saying,

“If you aim at nothing; you’ll hit it everytime.”

Without something to focus on, how do you know where you are headed? No one plans to fail, we just fail to plan. And when we fail to plan, we prepare to lose.

Google some of the plans out there and see if any of them interest you. Find something to aim at.  You can adjust along the way, so don’t worry to much now about what to focus on. Just take the first step. The next step will become clear as you move forward.

4 Resources To Help You Focus (Part 2)

Blurry train
Blurry train. Warsaw, Poland 2015.

 

Welcome back!

In case you missed my first post in this series, check it out. It has one of my favorite photographs!

Over the past three years I’ve come across a few resources and books that have had a big impact on my life.  These resources have changed my perspective on a lot of things.

Read more

4 Resources To Help You Focus (Part 1)

 

I'm Focused, man.

 “I’m Focused, Man!” 

This is my first post in a 4 part series on resources to help us focus.

(This is also my first series. 🙂 )

Have you noticed that there’s never been a harder to time to focus. We have to deal these daily:

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat (whatever that is)
  • Instant messaging
  • Instant movies
  • email
  • News tickers
  • 400 cable channels

There’s a bunch of other stuff not incuded here begging for our attention every second of the day. I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time focusing on anything for more than five minutes. I have a hard time reading an entire newspaper article.

One of the unexpected benefits of blogging is that it gives me time to focus my thoughts on one subject per post. I like that. I need it. But I’m not talking about focusing for a few minutes. I’m thinking more about how we focus our lives.

When I saw this guy I had to take his picture. But he was walking so fast I couldn’t get my camera to focus on him. He looked 70 years old, but he was walking so fast and with so much determination he kept moving outside of my focus. I finally ran up close behind him and started snapping pictures before he got out of my focus again.

Without an object to focus on, it’s impossible to get a good picture, right? You don’t have to be a pro-photographer to know that. It’s the same thing in life.

If you want better results, you need to have a target in focus.

But not just any target; we need the best things to focus on.  And when we find the right things to focus on it changes our lives for the better. I learning that focusing on the right things; makes the right things happen.

How do you know if you are focusing on the right things? We have to be aware of how we spend our time, even the minutes. Regardless of who you are, we all have the same 24 hours in one day to use–even Beyonce. And we all have the ability to choose how we’ll spend that time.

But first we have to understand or become aware of our own mortality ( my post on mortality). It sounds creepy, but it’s not. No one lives forever and those who act like they will end up wasting their lives. And when we understand our mortality, we start to value our greatest resource- TIME. This is where it starts.

We have to value every minute of our lives. Maybe this is what Bruce Lee was thinking when he said,

“If you love life, don’t waste time, for time is what life is made up of.”

So what are you most focused on?

 

Over the next few posts I’ll share three other resrouces that have helped me direct my focus.  If you need help in this area, stay tuned. I’m not an expert or a guru, but I have a PH.D from the prestigious School of Hard Knocks.

Is Fear Stopping Your Full Potential?

Baby Scorpion we found in our house.
A baby Scorpion we found in our house. The adult ones are scary!

A few weeks ago I asked people in my mastermind group for ideas on business goals I could set for 2015.

But I don’t have a business yet, so I’m still looking for ideas or a path. At this point, I’m trying to find my voice (core message) and build a platform.

Or maybe it’s better to say that while building my platform, I’m finding my voice and core message. It’s not about creating just any business.

It’s about creating a business that complements my preferred lifestyle, personality, strengths, and passions. Some people call this intersection:

  • A vocation.
  • A sweet spot.
  • A professional calling.
  • Living in the Flow

Anyways, back to my story.

So one idea I got from someone in my mastermind was to write a book. As I read her suggestion I could feel my stomach grumble and curl.

Why?

Fear!  After the excitement went away I thought:

  • That’s crazy.
  • I don’t have any experience writing.
  • I have three kids and full time job; I don’t have time to write.
  • Stick with your blog for now.
  • I have to learn how to write first.

These are all true to some extent. But…not exactly. This was FEAR! A different type of fear. I was scared and excited at the same time.  

Fear and resistance gave me a one-two combo straight to the gut. Bam! These two are like twin brothers always hanging around– waiting for the right moment to punch us in the face and back to mediocrity. Their job is to stop us from moving forward whenever we want to do something different or outside of our comfort zone.

But they do it in stealth mode.  And sometimes it’s hard to recognize that they are actually the ones stopping us from moving forward.

Since starting this blog a few months ago, one of things I’ve learned about taking action is that we should do it even when the path is blurry and difficult. If it ends up being the wrong move, we learned something from experience. It’s all learning if we take something away from the experience. Thinking back, a lot of the reasons I had for not starting this blog were actually excuses disguised as reasons

The brain is hardwired to create excuses on why we can’t do things. Seth Godin calls this the “lizard brain.” This is where fear and resistance live. Maybe this is what Eleanor Roosevelt was thinking when she said,

 “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Let’s look at the Pro’s and Con’s of writing a book.

Pro’s:

  1. I can use the book to help me to uncover my unique voice and my core message.
  2. I can blog my way to a book (creating content for the book and new blog posts).
  3. Writing a book will help me right moe betta. (just kidding…) But, seriously, there’s a lot for me to learn about writing.
  4. I can write about something that will help others and maybe have a positive impact.
  5. If the book does well I can earn extra income. (Side-note: I need about $15,000 to take my wife and kids on vacation to Japan.)
  6. The book can lead to other books, income streams, credibility, and opportunities.

Con’s:

  1. I read that only about 2% of the people who want to write a book actually accomplish it.
  2. I only have about 40 minutes per day that I can devote to writing.
  3. I don’t know anything about publishing or self-publishing.
  4. If I do publish a book, what if it is an absolute disaster?
  5. What if the book is so bad that instead of growing my platform it destroys it?
  6. Isn’t it expensive to pay for publishing, book covers, editors, and advisors?
  7. It’s impossible to write a book in one year! Are you crazy!?

I don’t have much to lose except time.  So here’s my big announcement (mostly to myself) and the one other person who reads this blog. (By the way, if you are reading this, please leave me an encouraging message below. 🙂

THE BIG ANNOUCEMENT: (Drum roll, please)

By the end of 2015, I want to have written and published my first book. Not only that, but I want to sell 5,000 copies by December 31!

The idea of writing a book energizes, excites, and scares me to death. That’s why I’m doing it.

Plus, I checked with my wife and she supports this idea. She’s brilliant! If this were a terrible idea, she would be the first person to warn me. This is still crazy of me because I don’t have a:

  • a topic
  • a subject
  • a title
  • or any experience.

I’m starting from scratch. All I have is a general idea.

That’s it!

I feel the fear and resistance coming so it’s time for a motivational quote. It’s brought to us from the Internet Business Mastery podcast (one of my favorite). One of the hosts quotes his grandma all the time. When he was a kid, she would tell him,

“If someone else can do it, you can do it too. And if no one else has done it, you can be first.”

I heard someone say that the richest place on earth is the cemetery. You know why? Because it’s full of so many brilliant ideas that people took with them to the grave.  Many of us choose, let me say it again; CHOOSE to take our greatest gifts, ideas, and passions to the grave. But why? It doesn’t do the world or us any good there. I don’t want to save anything till end. I’m leaving it all behind.