Why am I here? That’s the most significant question you can answer. This single question is enough to answer everything that is most important in your business and your life.
So, when everything seems blurry, your productivity takes a dive and you’re not sure what you are moving toward, that’s when you need to answer that question.
Press pause from your hectic work—or personal—life; this nearly guarantees a considerable productivity boost once you press play again.
Take a step back and look at the big picture; it can help to review your priorities in an objective manner.
Focus. Once you’ve done that, break up the tasks and objectives that make up that big picture, and concentrate on them one at a time. Focus really works best when narrowed down. Things can spiral out of control if you try to get ahold of it all at once.
What are you focusing on right now? Do you believe in it? Whatever you’re aiming for, put your head, heart and hands into it.
Here are five tips that will empower you to focus and finish the year on a high note:
1. Be big, think big and act big. Benjamin E. Mays, former president of Morehouse College, once said, “The tragedy of life is often not in our failure, but rather in our complacency; not in our doing too much, but rather in our doing too little; not in our living above our ability, but rather in our living below our capacities.”
What can you do to drive value in all that you do? Make it happen.
2. Be open to happy accidents. Joe Jaworski, author of Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, says, “Serendipity is when you go to a place, a setting or a meeting expecting a certain outcome and discover something entirely different because you are open and are present to the moment.”
In “Perceptions of Serendipity,” published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, we learn that “career analysts find that 83 percent of midcareer professionals believe chance (serendipity) played a significant role in their ultimate career path and that they highly value staying open for unexpected opportunities.”
Keep moving forward. You never know what you might bump into, my friend.
3. Be intentional with your time and energy. Vilfredo Pareto was an Italian economist who in 1906 observed that 20 percent of the Italian people owned 80 percent of their country’s accumulated wealth. Now to put this into context: 80 percent of your success is the result of 20 percent of your efforts.
Determine how you can move the needle by becoming laser-like in your daily efforts, rather than being a floor lamp that diffuses its energy or a strobe light that can’t focus on any one thing.
4. Be desperate. In his latest book David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell shares an amazing story about University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino: “In 1978, when he was 25 years old, Pitino used the full court press to take the school to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 24 years. Pitino says he has many coaches come to Louisville every year to learn the press. They turn around and email him and tell him that they can’t do it. He tells them, ‘We practice every day for two hours. The players are moving almost 98 percent of the practice. We spend very little time talking.’”
The coaches who came to learn from Rick Pitino were not desperate enough to change. Gladwell makes the point that to beat the Goliath in your life, you have to be desperate enough to do the unconventional.
5. Be a storyteller. Jonah Berger, author of Contagious, says, “People don’t share information; they tell stories. But just like the epic tale of the Trojan Horse, stories are vessels that carry things such as morals and lessons. Information travels under the guise of what seems like idle chatter. So we need to build our own Trojan horses, embeddingour products and ideas in stories that people want to tell. Make your message so integral to the narrative that people can’t tell the story without it.”
Simon T. Bailey is an international speaker, writer and personal transformation strategist. He is the author of Shift Your Brilliance: Harness the Power of You, Inc., and Be the SPARK: Five Platinum Service Principles for Creating Customers for Life. When he’s not working, he enjoys rooting for the Buffalo Bills (his hometown team).