Is Concentration the New Focus?
We each experience challenges to focusing in this world of Facebook and Twitter, bombardment by ads and marketing messages, and the inevitable rabbit hole of following links on a website. Like Alice in Wonderland, we wind up some place totally unexpected and wonder how in the world we got here! So we know that focus is a challenge. But I wonder whether concentration is an even greater challenge.
I mean concentration of our effort, our energy, and our resources.
As women we are natural multi-taskers. Our brains are wired to listen out for a sleeping child while tending a simmering pot and talking with a friend about life's latest developments. We are really good at spreading our attention to many different concerns simultaneously. Questions like - How did Alice's medical test come out? Did I already send an email to that hot lead? What should I do about getting more help in my business? Why was Bob so cranky this morning? - can all be swirl around in our head at the same time.
What we are not so good at is concentrating our attention and efforts. It's hard to say "no" to that request to be on the event committee of your leads group or to listening to that latest and greatest free teleseminar which might just show you the secret nugget that will make you more money. I know. I've been there.
I used to love to spread my energy and talent around - joining this committee, listening to that free teleseminar presentation, giving away my work to people who didn't particularly want or value it. And what I've found is that spreading your energy and talent around doesn't work in building a business that serves your ideal clients at the highest level and makes you money.
I have learned to honor what Jill Connor Brown of Sweet Potato Queens fame says, "Be particular." She's talking about men, and I'm talking about business but it boils down to the same thing.
You can't just give your energy, attention, and talent away and expect to get what you want. Many of us suffer from the “Gotta Be a Good Girl Complex” of expecting that when we say "yes" to others’ requests that we'll be rewarded. Ain't necessarily so, girlfriend.
I talked to a client this week who lamented, "I have given so much time and effort as a volunteer to my civic organization, but I've gotten so little support in return." It's sad but true, that we often lend our support hoping to get it back in kind, but it rarely happens that way. If you're going to volunteer because you have the time, resources, and energy to serve others outside your business activities, great! Otherwise, take a note from a clever cocktail napkin that says, "Stop me before I volunteer again!"
It’s time to put on your Big Girl Pants and concentrate your efforts by doing what will get you what you want. That includes being brave and saying "no" when you're asked to volunteer for a committee, leaving the dirty dishes in the sink and not folding the laundry today, and making those tough phone calls to ask for a speaking engagement or a sales conversation with a prospect you'd love to work with.
Your business is a distillation of you - your thoughts, emotions, energy, and actions. If you dilute yourself with too many distractions or constant confusion and overwhelm, it's difficult for your ideal clients to find you to hire you to work with them. It's hard to get traction and momentum growing your business, and it's tough to make the money you need and want to make.
The truth is that there are constant and growing distractions in your world. It's your job to pick and choose what's going to support your commitments to yourself, your family and community, and your business and then stay true to your choices.
Remember, someone else can volunteer for that committee, and learn a lot from the experience; there will always be another free teleseminar and you probably already know what you need to do next in your business; and if someone needs what you offer, ask her to become a client.
Here are some questions to help you concentrate your time, energy, and resources:
- What are the top 3 things I want in my business and life this year?
- Will this opportunity, invitation or action help me accomplish one or more of my top 3 goals for this year?
- If it is in alignment with one of my top 3 goals for the year, do I have the time, energy, and resources (like money and/or help) to take this on and do it well?
- If not, how do I choose to decline or say "no”? Am I willing to “look bad” in order to concentrate my energy to attain my goals?
- If I say “yes” when I want to say “no”, what am I avoiding?
- Am I willing to concentrate on what is important to me right now and let the rest go?
Decide what you want, be particular, and concentrate your efforts. It's all going to work out.
And hey, those Big Girl Pants look great on you!