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Every day, entrepreneurs have to deal with a million issues and tasks related to running a business. Staying on top of things can feel overwhelming at times, and watching other people seemingly overcome challenges with ease just makes it all the more frustrating. What is their secret ?
As American author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said, “The problem is lack of direction, not lack of time. We all have twenty-four hour days. Being able to focus is one of the keys to success, but it requires more than focusing on the task at hand – although that is part of it. It’s about learning where to put your attention.
Learning where to focus had a huge impact on my success. I no longer focus on what’s wrong, the irritations or the obstacles in my way. Instead, I focus on what will really get me where I want to go. Here are some of the key points to focus on – and where do not focus — which I teach in my trainings.
1. Focus on what you can change, not what you can’t
You can’t change the weather, the economy, or the fact that your top salesperson has gone to work for a competitor. What you can change is your response. With every circumstance, no matter how daunting, comes an opportunity waiting to be discovered. Concentrate on finding him.
2. Focus on past successes, not past failures
Once you understand the lessons of a failure, forget it. Focusing on that past failure will only drain your confidence and make you fearful. Your goal should be to succeed, not to “not fail again”. You play to win, not “not to lose”.
Related: Want to Succeed? Stop thinking about failure
3. One thing at a time
Make sure your focus stays on what you need to do right now, not on everything you need to do. Studies have shown that if you focus on one thing at a time exclusively, you get more done than if you try to multitask.
4. Focus on solutions, not excuses or blame
Finding excuses for why the problem happened (or, even worse, focusing on finding a culprit) is a complete waste of time. And focusing on the “seriousness” of the problem just zaps your energy. Instead, look that challenge straight in the eye and focus on creating solutions.
5. Focus on actions, not distractions
SMS, emails, calls, people wanting to chat – how long do these things take in a day? How much value do you get out of it versus the value you would get from the actions you should take instead? If you can’t totally ignore your distractions, schedule them for certain blocks of time in the day. Don’t let them interfere with the times when you need to focus on the action.
Related: 6 Ways to Master Distraction and Stay Focused
6. Focus on what you need to do, not what others are doing
If you have delegated your marketing to someone in your organization, let them. If you have entrusted the accounting to an accountant, let him take care of it. Yes, this business is your baby and you will have to follow the work of others for you. But once you trust the person you’re delegating to, focus on what others can’t do for your business and only you can do.
7. Focus on what you can give, not what you can get
To truly succeed as an entrepreneur, you need to make sure that you give your customers more than they expected and more than anyone else. You need to focus on them, not yourself and your own success. I know that sounds backwards, but it’s true. The more you give, the more you will receive.
Related: 5 Reasons You Need to Give Back
8. Focus on the “why” not the “what”
We all have goals for what we want. But if you focus on “more money” or “more sales” without being very clear about why you want those things, somewhere along the line, you’ll falter. When you focus on your real “why”, you find yourself jumping out of bed in the morning with almost limitless energy and inspiration.
So ask yourself, “Where am I directing my attention? Is it about what will bring success or about things that don’t serve me? The good news is that we can always choose where we put our efforts.