Focus equals Impact

As time and experience have weathered my perspective, I see all the more the value in her mantra. We all want impact in some place in our lives and are constantly looking for the ‘game winning hit’ that will solve the problem. But the approach is incorrect, because most times an ongoing focus on the issues at hand is what brings solutions. There is seldom one single change that can correct the issues at hand. This is where the value of NO comes in.

The Value of NO

While focusing on an outcome will most likely provide the impact needed, there will be another intentional action that is also necessary. It might be necessary to intentionally and simultaneously say NO to many other distractions and opportunities. Now it may not be as easy as you think to say NO to the distractions, because these days they are very well dressed. They demand attention because they are so impressive. Often they are popular to boot, and then it is even tougher to ignore them. These distractions in information form come ‘en mass’ and will bury you if you don’t employ ruthless discernment in attending only to that which is relevant. In other words; just say NO. We are in the information age and information can be difficult to refuse, because it is attractive and demands attention because of its sheer size. It has been shamelessly popularized and carries an incredible social compulsion to comply. But in the end, if it does not help – it blurs – so just say NO.

Important not Urgent

In this information age, our exposure to information is almost inexhaustible. However, just because it is boldly there doesn’t mean it is necessary or relevant. Stephen Covey did such a great job of distinguishing Important and Urgent in our lives and they set up this conversation perfectly. The idea here is not to ignore any Important, relevant or collaborative information, but rather to focus on the issue at hand and not to allow the sheer mass, urgency and sexiness of the other information to lure us away from keeping the main thing, the main thing. It will require saying NO, and it will have to happen on purpose. Intentionally.

Seduced by simplicity

Beware not to be seduced by how simple the approach seems. Or by how skillfully you already say NO. Our familiarity with NO is often what prevents us from using it when it is truly needed, because we think we have such a good handle on it that we could call it up any time we like.  Instead, what is required here is focus.
Focus keeps the main thing, the main thing. It eliminates the clutter and keeps the target front and center. While actively engaging in focus, you will automatically say NO to that which blurs the picture and as we all know, focus = impact.

Two questions then:

  • Are you seeing the impact you want from your efforts?
  • If not, what NO’s could bring a stronger focus to your effort?