If you’re lucky to have gotten to the point of figuring out what you want to do with your career, now is the time to stand up and ride the mountain. Having taken position, there seems to be a moment in which we second guess ourselves and go, “Oh snap, maybe I wasn’t ready to charge after all!” and that’s when distraction and procrastination start to rear their ugly, unproductive heads. No fear! There’s a way to stay focused and strong.
Taking off on a new project – whether at work or making a career move – is an exciting step. But what happens when the sheen of novelty and excitement wear off and we’re left with the stark reality of hard work and commitment? Following through is like a coyote ugly experience after the previous night’s beer goggles have worn off: we just want to chew off our arm and call it a loss. But we can’t and we mustn’t because we’re better than that and there has got to be a way to stay committed and focused on what can seem to be a daunting and overwhelming project.
1. Staying In The Now: If Not Now, When?
You don’t have to believe in The Power of Now to know that all we’ve got is right now to get things done. I’ve seen some of my own clients leave a session super pumped and focused on their project, but then they think about all of the work, struggle, and challenges they might have to confront on the way to their goals they lose steam. It happens to the best of us because the future can be overwhelming. The future is a place of anxiety – don’t go there; Stay grounded in the present.
Thinking about the future and anticipating failure, confrontation, and challenges does nothing but fill us with worry about how things should turn out instead of what we can do in the here and now. Heck, I take being in the now so seriously that I got it tattooed on the back of my neck! Even I need a reminder here and there to stop time traveling and focus on the present. It’s not a cliche when they say the present is a gift because it’s a place of power: The power of now comes from knowing we have choices right now that can and will determine the outcome of the future.
2. Let Yourself Soar: Stop Holding Yourself Back
When a client comes to see me, I intuitively pick up on their highest potential and I happen to see great potential in all of my clients. The problem with staying focused on goals is not so much about getting sucked into weaknesses, but rather the act of shying away from the greatness that lies dormant within. Why? Because being the very best and highest version ourselves requires great self-discipline, insight (in-sight, as in looking within to see our inner truth) and a lot of self love. Surprisingly, many people are not ready to commit to that kind of relationship: The relationship with the self!
So, when you find self-doubt and criticism like, “Who am I to think I could do such an amazing thing?” Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and allow yourself the opportunity to surprise you into thinking, acting, and being better than you think you are so you can stay on track and aligned with your highest career vision.
3. Look Where You Want To Go: Not Just Good Snowboarding Advice
Last week, a friend of mine in the snowboarding industry made his way over from Denver for a family style meal at our home and we got to talking about career building and maximizing life as we ate. We talked about many ideals on the subject, but what he said about focus jumped out and stuck with me:
“The way I see it (the career) is like when you’re snowboarding: wherever you keep your eyes is where you’ll end up going. Look towards the trees and you’ll end up in the trees. It’s a pretty simple way to explain it, but it makes sense to me.”
This, folks. This. Keeping our “eyes” or focus on where we want to go in our career helps the body (conscious and subconscious mind) act on that intention. Typically, we know intuitively what to do in most situations (like snowboarding, in my friend’s example), so practice allowing yourself do what you do best under the guidance of a crystal clear intention.
Focus: Mindfully Putting It All Together
Once we’ve got a crystal clear intention or goal for our career, we’ve suddenly placed ourselves into a mental battlefield. It means fighting for territory in our brains as to what will take focus: anxieties and expectations of the future, doubt and insecurity, and distraction – OR being fully engaged in the present, committed to being our best selves, and maintaining crystal clear intentions. Putting the effort into being focused and concentrated takes work before it can totally be natural and second nature, but it’s worth the practice for perfecting self-mastery and professional performance. We don’t have to be a guru to be focused, we just have to know that our greatest career potential lies within our own hands: Focus lies within the eyes of the beholder.
Coach Leslie’s Questions To Ask Yourself:
1. When I think about my career intentions, do I get caught up in all the things I’ll have to do and deal with in the future? Or, do I focus on what I can do now?
2. Am I a time traveller? Meaning, do I spend my time anticipating problems in the possible timelines of achieving my goals? If so, how can I get grounded in the present?
3. Do I doubt my abilities and knowledge when I think about my potential? What kind of negative self-talk do I engage myself in? What are a few positive things I can say about my potential?
4. Am I committed to being the very best professional and person I can be right now? Will I give myself the dedication, self-love, and in-sight necessary to achieve growth?
5. When I work on my goals, do I look towards where I’m going or do allow myself to get distracted? What kind of procrastination do I engage in?
Leslie Juvin-Acker is the contributing career and leadership expert at Malakye.com, a job board for the action sports and lifestyle industries based in Southern California.