Lynne d Johnson



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09.25.13 11:02 AM

How A Lack Of Focus Can Be Attributed To Fear

Today's meditation: "Those who do not move, do not notice their chains." - Rosa Luxemburg

For a long time, I've held the belief that I couldn't be an entrepreneur because I don't have the basic skills to make that kind of thing work. I've long held the belief that I lack focus. I mean, not like an ADHD lack of focus, but more like trying to do too much at one time lack of focus. I mean trying to do too much at one time so that I'm not able to discern what's going to be more enriching either financially, spiritually, or otherwise.

And I've held onto these beliefs for eons.

Many years ago, when I worked in a bookstore, I once told a friend who I worked with that I really, really feared failure. He pondered what I said for a second and then asked, "How do you know you fear failure, and it's not really success that you fear?" Whoa! BOOM! I tucked this one away into my back pocket -- for eons.

So here's the deal. A few times in my life I've been laid off from FT gigs for a slew of reasons, but mostly having to do with budgets. And I'd say that each time this happens, I get committed to becoming an entrepreneur, a freelancer, a consultant. But that's only until some FT job offer comes along and I simply bow out. I'm in one of those phases of my life right now and there's a long list of reasons why a FT gig sounds better.

That's especially true when I pile up all of these reasons why I can't go it alone. "I'm not good at the biz dev part." "I need more structure in my day and in my life." And, yadda, yadda, yaa. But doesn't that sound like fear talking?

This past weekend, while watching Oprah's Lifeclass with Dr. Brenee Brown on vulnerability and daring greatly, it clicked: This lack of focus is really masked by a little something called fear. So instead of things working out, I make things hectic. I bring the chaos and the drama. So here's what I'm learning to do.

VALUE MY TIME: This is also called having a plan. There are but only so many hours in the day, and if you want to be successful at being productive on the things that matter (be they personal or professional) you've got to plan them out. Sure, you can be Zen about it and just live in the moment, but even living in the moment requires a plan. What is it that you're about to do in this moment? How will you be present if you don't know what it is you're doing?

LEARN TO SAY NO: Now this is a big one for me and it goes along really well with valuing my time. No one person can do everything. It's just completely impossible. People will understand if you have to say no, and if they don't, oh well. They will get over it. That goes for both the personal and the professional. Multi-tasking successfully is a myth, so if you can't learn to say no, you'll be drowning yourself in a list of to-dos that never get checked off and you'll never have any time for yourself.

DON'T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF: And I'm sure you've heard this one a million times, but it's really true. That dialogue we start in our heads about why we can't do something, only creates a lack of focus. We start jumping from thing to thing without a plan, and unfortunately, without motivation. Trust me, I've been there.

Fear is that crazy thing that can make us do a pile up. A pile up of what ifs. And a pile up of things that we just won't ever get to. Don't worry if you don't answer all of your email or all of your voice mail. Choose a set amount of things to do each day. And focus on what's important. Use programs like RescueTime and TimeTracker to track how you spend your time. You'll be amazed when you see how much time you spend doing things that aren't a part of your plan. And then there's a slew of programs to help you block those distractions, once you figure out what they are. StayFocused and Concentrate work for Chrome. I settled for RescueTime, as a solution I could use on both my desktop and my phone, and track my time as well as block time-wasting sites.

And most important, stop fearing what people will think of you. And stop fearing that you're not choosing the right stuff to do. If you feel it in your gut, it's the right thing for you, right now.

The other side of the crazy fear is that it can make us stand completely still. Stillness is fine as it helps us to be mindful and clear out any misgivings. But when that stillness makes us completely immobile and unproductive for a length of time, well, it's a problem.

So do I fear success? Well, we can all learn a little something from failure couldn't we. We can learn to be successful from failure. Making mistakes teaches us how to do something right, or better. But it's about taking that risk and opening ourselves up to the possibilities of what's to come without judging ourselves or others in the process. So maybe there's more a fear of not believing that I'll get to success.

Do I suffer from a lack of focus? Certainly. But most of it can be attributed to fear. And well, I'm in recovery and already learning how to kick fear in the A.

And while I'm definitely not against taking a FT post again, I want to do it for all the right reasons. And I don't want any of those reasons to be that I was afraid to at least try going it on my own.

What do you fear?

posted by lynne | |


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