Quote: Focus

by Lance Ekum on January 29, 2012 · 1 comment

power of the sun
Creative Commons License photo credit: spacepleb

“The sun's energy warms the world. But when you focus it through a magnifying glass, it can start a fire. Focus is powerful.” ~ Alan Pariser

~ Comments Closed ~

The Paradox of Focus

by Tanya Geisler on January 22, 2012 · 10 comments

I'm going to be honest. December is historically my slowest month in terms of client sessions. (That's honest, yes, but that's not my confession). So, to make good use of the space created in that time, I had fabulous intentions to map out 2012 in a truly powerful way during the month. Well, I did set some excellent goals, shared them with the world (or at least, my corner of the world), then…oof. (Annnnnnd, here's the confession). Instead of strategizing and scheming, I baked and decorated. I shopped and sang. I cooked and visited. I hosted and wrapped. And it was bliss.

Regrets = 0. Memories = ~ 1,000.

I'm rested, recharged, and raring to go in my business. It's already been a wildly fruitful couple of weeks.

So as I have been refocusing, it's not surprising that my entrepreneur clients are wanting the same. Over the past couple of weeks, they've been coming to session saying: I want to focus on focus.

YA BABY! Let's get started! Let's get specific! Let's clamp down!

Ah…but wait.

The paradox of focus, is that to be focused, we need step way, WAYYYYY back and take a meta-view of who we are and where we are going.

Who are you?

Who are you in this world? Your values will tell you. They are the bricks in the glorious and utterly unique house of you.

Knowing what your values are will help you to make soulful decisions for your business. {And soulful decisions generally translate to cash.}

I've written before about some values clarification tools that will help. Also notice who you admire and why. What do they stand for? Likely rooted in there are some of your values.

Once you've gained on your values, start to notice what might be missing for you right now.

Lean into the values that aren't being honoured in your business. Notice how exciting that feels. Pretty hard to not focus on something that feels exciting, non?

Where are you going?

If you don't know where you are heading, then you don't know which way to go.

This ain't rocket science (and yet…)

Get clear on your vision . What do you want for your business? What feelings do you want to experience? What is your dream for your business? Get as granular as you like (say, a vision for your products or services, your employee relations, your community contribution, etc). Whatever works for you.

Create a vision statement, a vision board, a manifesto…SOMETHING to keep your vision top of mind.

Now your action is intentional and keeps you pointed in the right direction.

So we're fired up, we have our vision. It's completely aligned with our values and we know where we're going. We are stoked and ready to try it all! So many shiny things…where to start?!!


Action and motivation are like two buddies egging each other on at a frat house kegger. Being in action is motivating and this motivation stimulates the urge for action. We surf this powerful momentum and pile on the action because it's all so tasty: new opportunities, new partners, new projects, oh my!

And THEN?????

OOPS happens

Like another 4-letter word, it is messy stuff. OOPS = over-operational planning syndrome.

Our momentum takes a nosedive. Action and motivation part ways to down some aspirin and snore off the effects of the kegger.

Call it the Dastardly Dip, call it what you will.

As a coach, my role is to be aware of that effect and help my clients to trim the wings before the nosedive.

Here's how.

Yes's and No's

Making room for your vision to flourish, you probably need to start saying "no". Most of us do. So you can say "yes" to the brightest possible version of your life and business.

Elegant in its simplicity. (And yet…)

You may choose to get rid of the ugly chair, to make space for the stunning one you've always wanted. Is that a partner? A product? A supplier?

You may need to say "no" to some customers. If you find that you are not giving the best of yourself, get curious about why. And know that your industry is too small for you to not be giving the best of yourself. It may well be them, or it may be you, but if there's not a fit, the outcomes will be dire. That = bad business.

Lovingly and supportively release them into the arms of a colleague who may be better suited to them. And spend that found energy on finding your RIGHT people, and having them find you. Motivation restored. Back to action. But what actions?

Decision-making Matrix

A while back, I was in a program with Pam Slim and Chris Guillebeau. I was introduced to another elegantly simple exercise. I've adapted it to suit my business and share (with permission) with my clients. Feel free to email me for a copy.

Draw a table. 6 columns by 6 rows. In the left hand column, list the projects that are sitting on your chest that may or may not want to get started. (Only consider projects that are in alignment with your values…but you knew that already, didn't you?)

Fill the next 5 columns with filters that work for you. I use Vision (how aligned with my vision is this project…see why vision is critical?) + Interest (how excited am I to tackle this project?) + Profitability (how much cash will it bring in?) – Effort (how much time and energy will it take?) = Grand Total. Swap/add filters as you like (Reach may be more important to you than Profitability).

Subjectively rate each project on a scale of 1-5 (5 being highest). This simple exercise is intended to get you clearer on what wants to happen in your business soonest. If you need to cut a project or two, pick the lowest. If you can only take on one right now, pick the highest. The rest can be put on a shelf with no remorse…you get to revisit them when the time's right. So that "no" can become a "not right now".

Buddy up

Holding a vision as big of yours is pretty weighty stuff. Who else can help you to hold it? A coach? Mastermind group? Accountability partner? Advisory Board? Assess your support network and consider how having someone else help you hold your vision will keep you on track.

You are one lean, mean, focused machine.

Vroom vroom, indeed.


by Tanya Geisler

Farmers' Market
Creative Commons License photo credit: NatalieMaynor

You want to be healthy. You want leanness. You want to feel awesome as much as possible. You want perfect digestion if possible. You want to avoid sickness. You want to be disease and cancer free.

You can have it all. The most important step is feeding your body what it desires.

How do you do this?

Buy food at a farmers market.

Here is what you may find in abundance:

  • Fresh veggies
  • Fresh fruit
  • Pastured eggs
  • Grass-fed meat (including the nutrient dense organ meats like liver!)
  • Fish/seafood
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Extra virgin/cold pressed Olive Oil

Local food. Sustainable food. Perhaps certified organic food. Food that nourishes you. Food that will prevent sickneess, disease and cancer. Food that will make you come alive.

Food that will make you healthy.

You will meet farmers and will be able to learn exactly how your food is grown and raised. You will build relationships with the farmers you buy from.

You will NOT find crap. You will NOT find CAFO meat. You will NOT find colorful boxes.

Begin to focus your grocery shopping efforts at your local farmers market starting NOW!

Then thank me later.

You need to begin feeding your body whole food if you want vibrant health. You will find this at the farmers market. Sure, you can buy whole, real food at your standard grocery store. But, most of the "food" that is available is crap unless you are shopping at a place like Whole Foods. Farmers markets are not perfect either but it is by far the best place to start. It is by far the best place to focus on.

Go ahead and buy coconut milk at your areas standard grocer.

But, if you want to make it easy on yourself then just visit your farmers market. There are countless benefits in doing so.

If you have no idea where a farmers market may be in your area then why not do a quick google search? Or, visit LocalHarvest.org for farmers markets or EatWild.com for grass-fed, wild meat.

Do you shop at your local farmers market? Why or why not?

by Todd Dosenberry

Want to save money? Focusing on ONE specific goal can be more effective than spreading yourself (and your money) too thin.

Conventional wisdom says that the best way to save more money is by earmarking small amounts of money towards a wide gamut of goals.

For example, your monthly savings might look like this:

  • My next car purchase – $75 per month
  • A "rainy day" fund – $100 per month
  • A down payment on a house – $150 per month
  • A trip to Italy – $50 per month
  • A new dishwasher – $50 per month
  • Total Savings – $425 per month

But this spread-yourself-too-thin strategy can be disheartening. After 1 year of sacrificing concert tickets, restaurant meals and cute new clothes, you've only managed to save $600 towards that trip to Florence and Rome. That won't even buy your airline ticket.

What's wrong with this savings strategy? Lack of focus.

(Now, a quick disclaimer: I'm not saying this is a bad strategy. If it works for you – awesome! This post is written for people who have tried this strategy, felt disheartened by their lack of progress, and – as a result – have given up on their dream trip to Italy.)

What's the alternative? Focus on ONE goal at a time. Stop spreading yourself thin.

Here's what that model would look like:

  • A "rainy day" fund: $425 per month

After 8 months, you'd reach your goal of a $3,400 "rainy day" fund, at which point you turn your complete, unadulterated focus to another goal.

You start putting $425 per month away for that trip to Italy. After 6 months, you have enough saved to go there.

When you return from Italy, you start focusing on the next goal: a new dishwasher. Within 1 month, you've got it.

Isn't that more satisfying than spreading your goals too thin (and therefore needing a longer time frame to reach those goals)?

This idea comes from the "snowball" method of paying off your debt. It's a theory that states that you should pay down your smallest debt first, regardless of its interest rate. Focus all your money on just one specific debt. Once that debt is repaid, focus all your money on the second-smallest debt. And so forth.

That theory has many critics who argue that you'll pay a lot more in interest by focusing on your smallest debt, rather than your highest-interest debt. But its supporters say that focusing on one small goal at a time is more effective than spreading yourself too thin.

The hyper-focused method may (or may not) be the best method for repaying debt – but it's certainly a great way to save for a goal.

by Paula Pant

Everything Becomes Easier If You Have This

by Jason Kotecki

One of the biggest barriers to success — in anything — is lack of focus. That we might be unfocused is also a hard thing to admit about ourselves. Because being focused seems too limiting — too small. We’re created for greatness, right? “I want to get debt-free AND lose weight AND train for a […]

25 comments Read the full article →

5 Steps to Focus On to Achieve Your Goals

by Stacey Curnow

“To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” ~ Anatole France I haven’t read every personal development or self-realization book out there, but I suspect that every one of them has at least a chapter that’s all about defining your dreams and focusing on what […]

28 comments Read the full article →

What Is Excellence To You?

by John Spence

Several years ago a client asked me to deliver a speech on “The Essence of Excellence.” I won’t drag you through the entire process, but I spent weeks re-reading books from my library, calling CEOs and college/university Presidents and asking everyone I could get to talk to: What is excellence to you? In the end […]

15 comments Read the full article →

Breaking Down FOCUS

by Jen Slayden

When I first saw what Lance had picked out for this month’s theme, I actually started laughing. After a week spending every waking hour with my children and spouse on a five state and seven day road trip for Christmas, I had visions of how many repeated conversations we had with our kids because they […]

19 comments Read the full article →

Focus and Succeed

by Lance Ekum

photo credit: Jerrycharlotte “I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.” — Zig Ziglar Focus. It’s an interesting thing…focus is.  At this very moment, I’m […]

36 comments Read the full article →