How to Determine Your Focus

lens-1209823_640Four weeks. That’s all we have left. Pretty soon, 2016 will be in the history books. Is it just me, or does it seem like we were just here – staring at the end of 2015? My, how time flies.

The month of December always presents a quandary for me. Where do I put my focus? Do I double down and work hard to finish the year strong? You know, it makes sense to use the final weeks to close in on the year’s goals, finish up loose ends, or put the finishing touches on that last project. Or do I turn my sights to next year? After all, a little planning now will help me hit the ground running come January.

The answer, invariably, is both. You absolutely can’t step off of the gas now. While others are coasting through the holidays, you could be making the most of the time that’s left to focus the team and crush this last month of the year. And while you are taking care of business like the absolute boss that you are, let your mind ruminate just a bit on how to carry the right kind of momentum forward.

That’s a tall order, I know. You’d much prefer to let dreams of sugarplum fairies occupy your mind for the foreseeable future. But you’re a winner, aren’t you. You’re not going to let this opportunity slip away. To help you out, I want to provide a handful of questions you can ponder. Answering these should point you toward the focus for the next month, and clarify some goals for the next year.

  • What do I want to accomplish? That’s easy enough to answer, right? But think deeply on this one. What does victory this month look like? What does a great 2017 look like? When the final whistle blows, what specific actions will have defined success?

Research has shown that visualization has a tremendously positive impact on performance. When you paint a picture in your mind of success – in as much detail as possible – you unconsciously activate the mental and emotional triggers for victory. Just by imagining specific images of success, you prepare yourself to win. And it works with teams too.

  • What has worked in the past? What hasn’t? You’ve probably been asked these questions before. You may even have asked them yourself. But here’s the thing – most people ignore the answers. That means that, despite having identified specific steps that worked out for them in the past, people choose not to repeat them. And, having identified specific things that led to failure in the past, people choose to travel the same exact path again.

Isn’t that the definition of insanity? If something works, do it again! In fact, ramp up your efforts. Pour more time and resources into the actions that have proven successful for you. If something doesn’t work, stop doing it! Don’t keep slogging on because it’s comfortable or popular. Figure out what works and do that – only that.

  • Who will do what by when? Ultimately, it all comes down to this question. Goals aren’t achieved without action, and the key to action is specificity. So, who is going to act? What are they going to do? When will it be done?

So many great accomplishments wither and die having never left the planning stage. When opportunity knocks, you have to answer. While people wait for the right market conditions, or the work load to let up, opportunity stops knocking and walks away. And that feeling you get – you know, the one that says “maybe I should be doing something” – that’s opportunity’s knock.

Four weeks. That’s all we have left. How will you use them?


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