Focus pocus and new resolutions

Person jumping over a gully at sunsetNo posts for ages, and then suddenly a couple in a row. I must be on holidays or something. Oh wait, I am! Back to work Monday though <sigh>.

Speaking of work…

A couple of years ago when I started up Creative Manuscript Services, I made sure I saw a business coach (Leanne Shea Langdown of Achieve Beyond) as part of my redundancy package with CSIRO.

One of the things Leanne recommended I do was to choose a word to help guide me each year; an empowering word with some sort of significance and meaning for me. A word to live by for the year.

I was pretty sceptical, to be honest. I had New Year’s Resolutions, enthusiasm and drive. What did I need a motivational word for?

Unfortunately for me, New Years Resolutions rarely survive January and are quickly forgotten, while enthusiasm and drive are subject to Real Life (RL) intervention like jobs, running kids to events, and a billion other things.

So, New Year’s Resolutions have never really worked for me despite my good intentions, and neither does a list of goals and daily task lists (largely because I get distracted and forget to do them), and even the strongest enthusiasm wanes in the face of RL.

So this year I’m embracing Leanne’s philosophy in favour of a single word to keep me focused. Only what word?

It has to be just right. Something that’ll keep me motivated, focused and constantly achieving little goals on the way to bigger outcomes.

A hand and the world 'Achieve'Leanne’s word in 2017 is ‘Be’. She wants to:

  • ‘Be’ the person she needs to be to achieve her goals
  • ‘Be’ in the moment
  • ‘Be’ aware of the impacts her actions have on others
  • ‘Be’ a leader
  • ‘Be’ brave…

‘Be’ is a great word, but it’s not mine. Or, at least, it’s not mine this year.

Considering I need to focus my efforts, this year I’ve gone with the obvious… ‘Focus’.

Why ‘Focus’ specifically? Because I need to:

  • ‘Focus’ on achieving my goals
  • ‘Focus’ on the task at hand, not the mountain of tasks I can always see
  • ‘Focus’ on creating positive outcomes for myself and my family
  • ‘Focus’ on the reasons I care about what I’m trying to achieve.

That last one is particularly important – why do something unless you care about it, right? If I’m going to devote my down time to a project when I could otherwise be chilling, reading, catching a movie, etc., it had better be something I have a strong emotional connection to. What’s the point otherwise?

Focus is what I’ve lacked these last few years. I’ve wanted things, but I haven’t achieved them because I haven’t cared enough about whether I succeeded or not. I’d passed the ball and was letting others run with it.

What do I mean by that? Well, I’d started full-time work which took a lot of my focus, and I thought I’d already achieved a large measure of success just by landing an agent and publishing contract. Adding to that was advice from my agent not to write the sequels until the first book gained some success (which makes sense – why spend years writing and editing three what could otherwise be unsellable sequels if the first one is a total flop), so I kind of lost focus and let things slip rather than refocus on getting some new novels finished.

I half turned my attention to other projects, but not with any real determination.

Consequently I had no measurable outcomes. No more successes.

The words: Focus on what matters and a corridorThis year I’m determined to change that and keep my reasons for doing things in the forefront. This year I’m going to Focus on those reasons – and achieve the outcomes I’m after.

Maybe ‘Achieve’ will be next year’s word, but for now, I need to Focus.

What’s your word? Let me know if you have one, or don’t yet, but intend to figure one out.

4 thoughts on “Focus pocus and new resolutions

  1. Interesting ideas, Chris. Last year I basically didn’t write a new short story, one maybe. I felt I couldn’t really do any better so I might as well keep subbing what I already had, and I had a little success (very little 😉 ). Instead I took on a range of new things which I’ve enjoyed immensely. My word will be “giving” because I think that’s what I aim for when I create and make it public.

    I’ve had various reactions to this (didn’t have a single word before), mostly people tell me they want to learn, develop, actualize themselves, and some think my objective is a bit conceited. But there are many ways to give, and it’s not about my talent or realistically, lack of it 🙂 . The world is a big place, and if anyone at all (bloggers, editors, random readers) gets something out of my stuff, I’m happy. That being said, I am definitely way too diffuse right now, so maybe I need two words, all the best with “focus,” Steve.

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