Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Challenge of Focus

Or - Can you be in many places at once?

If there is one key to success it is Focus. Laser Beam Focus. To be successful you need to be focused. I make a plan. I plan the day, then I stick to it. I follow the plan and I don’t get distracted. I focus. Commit, Perform, Measure. But how do I focus as a working Mom? And on what do I focus?

In the morning, on the way to my basement office I stumble over clothes on the floor. As a matter of fact it seems there are more clothes on the floor than groceries in the fridge. I nearly avoid wiping the dirty dishes off the counter, which have mysteriously multiplied themselves last night, despite the fact that there is a dishwasher in the house.

Focus Buster No 1
We have an iron rule in our house that everybody has to help. But my kids - the Yeah Buts - say: I have to finish my homework first. Yeah but I have to finish that game first. Yeah but I am hungry. Yeah but I have to go to play with my friends. Yeah but it is not my turn. You see what I mean?

Focus Buster No 2
You have surely heard the phrase: Working Mommy Guilt. The Yeah Buts in my house know what it is. Mom has never time, she is always busy. Mom, you never drive me anywhere. Mom you made me so sad.
Working Mommy Guilt - feeling guilty because I am expected to keep my house clean. (Who would expect such things from me - o I forgot, I do).
Feeling guilty because the meals aren’t as nutritious as they should be. Even so, the rest of the family really doesn’t mind. Feeling guilty because - Oh I wanted to go to the training to night. And I totally forgot…

Focus Buster No 3
I am very fortunate that I can work from home, at home. This allows me to be flexible with my time. For example: The emergency phone call from school: Mom, I forgot my project today, it is so important. Can you pleeaase bring it over at lunch? So I jump into the car, no problem, it’s only 5 minutes from here, isn’t it? And here goes the focus again.
But you know, I can’t have it all. There is only so much I can do in a day.

So, I just overlook the clothes on the floor. Although the kids complain that there is never anything to eat in the house, they always find something. And I am really happy that my husband does most of the cooking. Interestingly enough, they never complain to him.
Their messy rooms - I just close the doors - I don’t have to live there. Luckily we have company coming over once in a while and then you should see us all whirling through the house. At least it looks nice for one day.

I won’t compare my business success with somebody who is working full time and I don’t overload myself and I will let a few things slide. I am not perfect and will never be. So I try to focus on what is really important at that moment (at least most of the time). Life is full of choices and I can choose to make the best out of it and enjoy it in the process.
I do not try to control circumstances. That is one of the biggest "busters’, the frustration you experience because circumstances have gone awry and then you feel guilty. You think you should be somehow able to control it. But let’s get this straight: You can’t! So the first thing I can do is to stop trying to control, or taking responsibility for circumstances that are outside of my control.

There is only one thing I can control in this world and that is myself. I can’t control the weather, other drivers, my kids or spouse. I have to focus all of my attention on developing myself and doing what is right in that moment. Controlling myself while letting what will happen, happen. Let it go. Let the Lord be in control.
I choose to focus on the good in every situation and every person including myself. Something else I learned is to stop making a "big deal" out of things that aren’t really a big deal at all.

I have a happy family, the kids are best buddies and friends to each other and we take time to talk and to laugh together. I am a Mom, a friend, a coach, a counselor, a businesswoman, and a wife - and - I can’t be in more places at once. That’s why I choose to focus on the most important thing of the moment.