At some point, we have all reached a place where, despite our best efforts, things are simply not going to plan. It’s at times like these, you need to stop… and regain focus.
Some attempt to deny they have a lack of focus; they just plod along. Others become discouraged and flounder. Both are ineffective at best… and often self-defeating.
Denying means you continue in the same direction which works out to going in circles. Becoming discouraged means you stop altogether and admit defeat.
These two are polar opposites, but often result in the same dead end of not getting you where you want to be.
Take a Step Back
Sometimes, to regain focus, it helps to take a step back. Either through a few hours of reflection, or even better, a weekend or day trip that gets your mind off the situation at hand.
For those who might think you’re walking away from analyzing the situation, this maneuver is far from that. Your mind will continue to work on the problem, just in the background where it has time to consult all your stored information to provide a solution. True, our natural impulse is to push through and keep going. But this mentally actually creates a bottleneck where so much information is coming in you don’t not have time to process it all.
The unintended result is that your mind spends most of its time trying to store rather than analyze. Small periods of stepping away and focusing on something else allows your mind to catch-up which provides breathing room to begin to analyze the information that may provide a solution.
Look for Unintended Benefits
I’m reminded that the original focus of air travel was not the transport of people but mail. Charles Lindbergh originally wanted to prove the point that continental flight was possible for swift transport of mail. Rather than sticking strictly with air mail he singlehandedly helped others see that the airplane was an instrument for transport, mail or otherwise. And thus began the airline industry.
In that same vein, take a moment and ask yourself if there are other applications you hadn’t anticipated. What idea might spring from the thing that did not work out as planned?
To regain focus, break it down to the most elemental point. Find an unintended benefit. Then ask yourself how it can be expanded in your favor.
Develop a Very Thick Skin
Most people do not share your vision. You have to work to help others see what you see.
Just because others have told you it can’t be done, or is too “out there” for them, does not mean what you’re trying can’t work for them. They just might not see it in the terms you’ve provided.
One method to regain focus is an old sales technique: For every feature you give, explain how it will help them accomplish a goal or task. Help them see the benefit to them! By taking this approach, you provide the imagination most people lack. You also increase the chance they will understand the true significance of what you are proposing.
Try to Keep Trying
Along with that thick skin should also come a desire to try… and keep trying.
Go read “The Tipping Point,” by Malcolm Gladwell. The most important point from that book is that an ongoing assault can develop critical mass. But it will take time.
Do what you have to do in the meantime to survive, but keep pushing your idea over, under, and around the roadblocks that inevitably appear. Recognize that there will be times when you are at your lowest point. Anticipate those points, so when they arrive you know them.
And in those moments, step back. Give you the courage to keep going. Try to keep trying. After all, you have to keep traveling your road in order to get where you want to go.
About the Author: Cherrie McKenzie is a former stockbroker and therapist who explores the psychological side of business on a blog and podcast at CoActiveDreams.com. She has National Board certification in Clinical Hypnosis, coaches related to visualization for peak performance. She conducts workshops and produces multi-media coaching sessions to provide commonsense techniques for better results in every day life.