Where is Your Focus?
It is so easy to get distracted these days. Everything seems to beep, buzz, and ding as a way to get our attention. Add in the kids, the dog, the list of obligations hanging in over your head – it is a wonder we get anything done at all.
Once a month, I have a standing appointment to Zoom chat with my friend Leslie. We met at a professional seminar over a year ago and have kept in contact to give each other support and encouragement.
Last Thursday, I totally forgot about Leslie.
As I am wandering the aisles in Lowes Gardening Center, I see a notification that I am missing my Zoom meeting. S**t! I quickly Zoomed Leslie from Lowes to apologize profusely, but man, I felt really bad. She graciously rescheduled for yesterday, and we were able to have our chat. I again apologized for my rudeness and told her I would write about her in today’s message.
I am all about continuous improvement. It seems like a little thing, to miss a monthly chat, but there is always a lesson in every experience.
Here is what happened. My husband took a half day off on Thursday. This change in routine caused me to unconsciously shift all my focus to him. He did not ask me to do this. I am completely responsible for my actions. I retreated to my default personality trait – put everyone else first. It happened so easily that I did not even realize I had done it until missing my obligation to Leslie snapped my focus back to where it was supposed to be.
So, what is the big deal?
Taken on its own, this one incident is not that big a deal. Leslie and I rescheduled, and we had our chat. But, let’s look at the big picture.
When my husband changed his schedule, I shifted my schedule to adapt to his. It was like a reflex - I put everything I am working on to the side, and completely shifted all my energy to my husband.
I love him. I love doing things with him. He is my first priority in life. The issue is not that I make him a priority. The issue is that I unconsciously shifted all my focus to him and neglected everything else that is important to me.
This is my default personality showing up – put my needs last, focus on making everyone else comfortable, happy, successful.
Though I have spent years retraining myself to put myself first and to focus on my own goals, those habits are programmed deep and can pop out at the most unexpected times.
Learning comes from awareness and clarity. And this is why it’s a big deal...
Standing up a friend on Zoom is bad. Neglecting a client, missing a new job opportunity, insulting a huge investor...you name it. The stakes can get very high, very quickly.
The Universe gave me a little tap on the head. It said, “Hey. Wake up. Look at what you did.” It is important to heed those small messages so you can avoid the big ones.
The lesson for me is to pay attention to how I so easily put myself to the side to focus on others. I will not achieve my goals with this behavior.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the Six Paradigms of Human Interaction. I have been programmed to think LOSE/WIN. I will gladly lose to help you win. I must conciously shift my thinking to WIN/WIN. Let’s find a way for us both to win.
There are so many things pulling at our attention. It is important to make sure you deliberately prioritize your needs and goals before they are put to the side. Be careful that you don't so easily neglect yourself as I did.
Where is your focus? What is important to you? What should come first?