Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Shifting your Focus
Struggling on changing a habit, managing a transformation, switching jobs, acquiring new skills, juggling too many accounts … you fill in the blank, challenges abound. Just to be clear right from the start, I too believe that every situation, every person, and every challenge is unique and has it’s specifics. I also don’t believe in golden bullets. So this post is about reminding you of something you already know, but what might have been pushed to your background while digging into your challenge deeper and deeper:
Changing your focus can provide you with new perspectives, shed light on some of your blind spots, create a different mindset, positively influence your attitude, and point towards coping strategies otherwise gone unnoticed.
I present you with nine questions that can aid you in shifting your focus. Try them out and see which ones work for you in what types of challenges.
1. Are you listening to yourself? Many different aspects of yourself such as the language you use, the places where tension builds up in your body, the stories you create in your own mind etc. can give you clues to your beliefs, your strengths and weaknesses, your thought processes, your attitude, and more.
2. What are the consequences of staying in the status quo, or: What happens if you don’t change? Have you asked yourself this question lately? What’s keeping you from moving, growing, taking risks, charting new territory?
3. Are you taking full advantage of what you are already doing right? Of course, figuring out what’s not going right provides you with important information. But solely focusing on the ‘wrongs’ will affect your (and others) attitude negatively and it misses out on the opportunity to make it a two-track process including building on strengths, skills, accomplishments, present knowledge, and gifts.
4. Are you using multiple perspectives from within and outside ‘your circle’? I’ve mentioned the value of approaching people who think unlike you in previous articles so I’ll leave at this.
5. Are you using metaphors such as a classroom, a football team, a group of sailors, a tutoring situation, a herd of deer, or a scientist working on a medicine to look at your challenge?
6. Have you grown complacent or do you lean more towards frantically running from one goal or challenge to the next? What are you putting on your plate and what are you allowing others to put on your plate? What is driving you to act complacently or frantically?
7. Have you acted as your own advisor and coach lately? I refer to the old technique used in therapy, training, and coaching where you act as your own advisor by pretending that a good friend or colleague approaches you with your challenge and asks you for advice. Or a different version: You are a 20 year older ‘you’, wise from life’s experiences and you write a letter of advice to your younger (current) ‘you’.
8. Have you lately played with what’s in your foreground and what’s in your background? At times we get so tangled up in a situation and in our set beliefs and ways of thinking that we do not realize we are doing ourselves a disservice by what’s on our screen and what we neglect to pay attention to. We don’t even differentiate between the two.
9. Have you gone so deep into your personal comfort zone that changing is simply too much of an effort and that staying where you are and being part of the pack is just fine? And if it really is just fine or even great with you, then you’re good to go: stay in your comfort zone and be part of the pack. But if you keep yourself from moving towards your purpose, your values, your passion, and your goals, and if you know and feel that you honestly aren’t happy with the way things are, than get off that seat and mobilize support, tools, confidence, and energy.
Shift your focus, open new doors, and above all, see with different eyes.