Updated: Dec 20, 2019
"Stay true to yourself, yet always be open to learn. Work hard, and never give up on your dreams, even when nobody else believes they can come true but you. These are not cliches but real tools you need no matter what you do in life to stay focused on your path."
I know. It’s been a minute. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be writing this piece as it comes on the other side of multiple victories I’ve experienced over the past few weeks. The road to victory wasn’t easy though! No sacrifice, no victory!
Radical transformation is hard. Getting out of debt means you’re going to have to endure seasons of sacrifice with beans and toast for dinner before the steak dinners, drinks and a night out on the town come around. Raising enough funding to make a lucrative investment may have you skip out on a holiday or two while everyone in your circle is seemingly catching flights. I lived this all of last year when we joined the millions of Dave Ramsey followers who were actively working at chiseling down the mountain of debt before experiencing financial freedom. It was grueling, it was rough! But if there is anything sacrifice guarantees, it’s a handsome reward on the other side of the toil.
And what else did I learn during this season of number crunching, and that of my 2019 summer? That you have to stay in position in order to close in on the win. You cannot afford to leave the room when important conversations about the next opportunity are being held at the table. You cannot afford to entertain distractions just because going out with the girlfriends or buying that fancy purse is the cool thing to do this summer, especially when your goal is to save some money that will bear fruit in seasons to come. You will have to say no to some invites so you can get the work done. You may have to turn down some opportunities so you can look into THE OPPORTUNITY! See what I’m getting at?
Between planning two events within a month from each other in two cities on different continents, breaking for a summer holiday which was mostly about business travel than total pleasure, to submitting my dissertation after a 2.5 year long journey of assignment after assignment after a long day at work; and then hosting family members visiting us from overseas – and a growing list of other stuff in between – I learned that surgical precision and focus towards task completion is the method of people out there working on winning through life.
Ever been so busy that once you’re done with everything you can’t seem to get out of bed earlier than noon? Allow me to share tips for focusing and staying in position that have helped me tick off most off my 2019 goals before Q4 even comes around:
1. Focus on the things you want. Yes that’s right! Focus on the things you want, not what the world is hurling at you! This year I spent many man hours researching markets and investment opportunities because I had my eye set on making an investment move before the year was out. I could get anything else done this year, but if I didn’t close in on this one thing that had been a prayer point for years, I wouldn’t feel as though I had won at 2019. And so that that’s what I did. Any spare moment I had, I spent in learning more about this particular thing of interest. July 2019 I witnessed its manifestation. I always knew GOD was going to answer my prayer and reward me for working at it, but focusing on this thing took my attention away from the stress of waiting for it to come alive. Each day my goals got bigger and my knowledge increased. It was so much fun playing and winning that this will definitely be a repeated exercise!
2. Connect with people relevant to your pursuits. A big on in this season for me! We all have reference points for all the things we seek in life. Marketers will tell you that consumers have a set of reference groups they turn to in their decision making before they purchase a car, a house or a shift. As you build your connection circle, ensure that they are aligned with your vision for your future. You have no business connecting with the neighbourhood bricklayer unless he’s your uncle, or is about to lay down your foundation. Now, I’m not saying people having some sort of connection to your pursuits should be a barometer for how you strike up relationships. I’m simply saying move with people that share your same mind. People who go hard at hustling like you do will understand you when you say you’re working on something or need help with ideas for growth. They’ll also likely know someone you need to know for your next move – which is often times a win-win for everyone. Relevant circle is a good circle.
3. Manage your time like your life depends on it. As with everything else – time is money and we don’t have all day. Planning counts for nothing if we then don’t execute with consciousness of the limitations associated with time. Wasted time is wasted money. I had a pretty tight window to get a lot of what I needed to get done this summer done. I was conscious of the pressure so instead of wallowing in the strain, I simply listed the action points each day and hashed them out the best way I could. Eventually it came together. I was knocked out for six after all was said and done but it was done and that’s what the goal was right? Partial 2019 goals – check!
4. Celebrate the smallest of wins. Key to keeping the momentum is encouraging yourself along the way. Getting what we desire is often an arduous task, and effort doesn’t always mean you reach the finishing line right away. Whatever you have set in mind to achieve today, do that and acknowledge that you’ve done the best you could with it. Focusing on what’s going well as opposed to what hasn’t happened yet makes all the difference in keeping your mind right in the midst of pressure. No win is ever too small.
5. Know when to fold. Now we are often told never to quit. Quitting isn’t ideal but also is necessary when something is simply not working – or won’t work. You simply cannot be in two places at the same time neither can you please two people with opposing views. Know which battles to fight and choose which side you’re on when fighting them. If you are hemorrhaging money and there’s no sign of a turnaround anywhere on the horizon, perhaps it’s time to cut your losses and keep it moving. Along the way and with whatever decision you make, remember to communicate to everyone who is a part of what’s going on. Acceptance and communication are two of the most critical elements of getting ahead and maintaining your focus.
As we press on for the remainder of the year, may be hold on to the fact that we do have the power to shape our lives and we do carry the capacity to push harder. Having focus is directly correlated with how much we get done as we do life. The question begs – what should we be doing more off to be better focused on our goals?