One warm, summer, morning, I took my coffee outside on the deck and silently stood observing nature’s activities in my backyard. Three squirrels played a game of tag, chasing each other up and around a tree. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but notice the stillness in the neighborhood; no sound of cars going by, no dogs barking, and no sounds of children playing. However, my attention moved toward a buzzing noise. It was some type of insect, maybe crickets or katydids, and as I focused on it, it became louder and louder, until it was all I could hear. As my attention moved back to the lively squirrels, the buzzing faded. I noticed that if I wanted to hear the buzzing again, all I had to do was find it and put my focus on it. If I wanted to stop hearing it, I’d focus back on the squirrels.

This little backyard science experiment reminded me of the Tony Robbins quote “where focus goes, energy flows”. The light bulb finally went off! It takes me a while to understand certain things, but I realized my mind was going where I put my focus. No wonder my goals aren’t being reached (thanks a lot TikTok!).

Another epiphany I had related to focus was when my husband and I were invited to spend an evening at a colleague’s house. The couple were gracious hosts, entertaining us with a delicious three course dinner, engaging conversation, and gorgeous views from their patio. Our discussion surrounded their amazing trips around the world, their various business ventures, and stories of family dynamics.

While the entire visit was a pleasure, my key takeaway was what happened at the end of the night.

Around 10pm, right after a brief pause in the conversation, our colleague said, “Well it was so great having you guys here!” He didn’t ask us to leave, but in the politest way, his statement told us it was time to go. I appreciated that because I am a lingerer. I usually don’t leave when I’m ready to leave in fear of disappointing, plus my goodbyes feel awkward and not graceful causing me to delay them.

So, when our colleague gave us the permission to leave, I was both thankful and impressed. Impressed? You may ask. Yes! This couple created habits and set boundaries that they stick to. I imagine they were tired, or had plans the next day, or simply set the boundary that their guests won’t stay past 10pm. In other words, they had things to do and didn’t become successful by accident. Instead, they became successful through consistent, daily behaviors, and hard work.

They not only talk the integrity talk, but they also walk the walk. They exhibited the lesson that every self-development book I’ve read tried to teach me. That is, what it looks like when you focus on the daily habits and behaviors that move you toward your goals.

They didn’t wake up the next morning regretting the night before because they entertained into the wee hours of the morning. They never lost focus on what’s important to them. Not to say they are, or we need to be always rigid, but as a rule, keep your focus on the things that are important to you. 

Tell me this: Where is your focus?

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus.” Bruce Lee

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