Whether you’re the CEO of your organization or the head of your department, you are the thought leader for your team. The way you think and believe and what you demonstrate can either lead to success or failure. If you’re like me, you constantly get ideas or notice patterns you’d like to see change. Too often, those things get pushed to the wayside in favor of the things that have to happen right now.
Starting today, I’d like to challenge you to a different approach: When you see something that needs to change or hear an idea from someone that you’d like to incorporate, decide that you are going to focus on it and declare that pursuit to your team and organization.
For example, if you want people to focus on improving communication, talk about communication in every meeting. Add it to your monthly goals. Measure your progress. Take note of what people are talking about in meetings. When you shift your focus in a particular direction, an interesting phenomenon occurs. Suddenly, you will become sensitive to all the problems. It doesn't mean the issues are happening more, it just means you're noticing them more because you've directed your attention there.
It can be discouraging, but not if you have the right mindset. It’s an example of teleological thinking, which means that whatever you think about the most is what you will gravitate toward. Your mind becomes especially activated toward a particular topic and you notice everything that could slip by when your mind wasn't tuned into that "channel", so to speak.
As crazy as it may make you feel, this intense focus can be positive. My second child, Mary Jane, was born six weeks premature and was quickly placed in an incubator on a different floor than my wife, Shelly. They couldn’t wheel Shelly’s bed (along with all the wires and attachments) to Mary Jane, and they couldn’t bring Mary Jane (and the incubator) to Shelly. The only way for Shelly to see and nurse our six-pound, five-ounce newborn was for her to get up. So that’s exactly what she did, in less than 24 hours after her C-section.
It usually takes several days, as it had with our first child, but this time was different. Shelly got so focused on the idea of seeing our newborn that no obstacle was going to stop her -- not doctors and nurses advising against it, not her own experience with our first child, not even me, her concerned husband. When you lock on to something, you see everything through that filter. You look for supporting evidence and lock out evidence that contradicts your beliefs and goals. In Shelly’s case, it caused her to do something extraordinary.
Have an intense focus. Lock on to your goal. Be extraordinary.
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