the power of focus

The Power of Focus – Why Intentions Aren’t Enough

Many people talk about the power of intention. It sounds good, but it’s kind of a vague phrase. Intention in what? Intention to having an awesome life? Being successful?

People intend to do all kinds of great things. But they keep getting sidetracked and never get to the destination they intended to.

Here’s an analogy: it’s like having a scope on a firearm and not using it while taking the shot. The person holding the gun intends to the hit the target, but they choose not to use the best tool they have to do so. Sure this is cool in a video game, but in reality, it’s just bad practice.

They don’t focus.

To Focus, We Need Clarity

In the last 6 months or so, I’ve been making it a point to figure out how people made it big before the advent of internet. In other words, how did people become recognized as gurus or thought leaders before there were all these platforms to circumvent the traditional routes?

What were the traditional routes?

After speaking with a handful of upcoming guests on the show, I’ve come to realize that the best methods of building a successful business start off with:

Knowing yourself,
knowing your industry,
and knowing how you can help others in it.

Leverage Your 3 P’s

In my resource, Uncover Your Personal Mission, I refer to these as your 3 P’s:

Passions,
Purpose,
and Process.

If you haven’t downloaded the resource yet, when I refer to Passions, I’m talking about the things you find interesting. Topics that you naturally gravitate to. Skills that you’ve been naturally learning.

When it comes to Purpose, I’m referring to how you interact with those around you. What is a group of people you feel a bit of a calling to or you love to help?

Then, your Process can be thought of like this: what is the unique way that you can help people in that group? What do they need help with the most?

For many, the first two Ps are pretty straight forward. They’re your Why and What. But your How is something that many of us don’t necessarily know how to determine on our own. In fact, many of us don’t do the right work to figure out how we can truly help others.

In fact, often times, we’re creating content or performing work similar to what we’ve heard others create.

This simply isn’t how you go about finding your How.

Stop Living Vicariously

Interestingly, I’ve been doing some research to get ready for a guest I’m happy to announce will be on the show in an upcoming episode: Jordan Harbinger. I listened to a couple of his recent interviews where he and his guests were talking about two topics that I felt were pretty interrelated. Focus in a Chaotic World (with Cal Newport) and Why Self-Help Makes People Feel Terrible (with Gabriel Mizrahi).

Talk about a coincidence!

In both conversations, the idea came up that many of us who are in this creative entrepreneur/thought leader space are exercising a simple “monkey see, monkey do” strategy. We see how certain people have risen to where they are and we try to be like them to get the same results.

We feel that we have to do everything that the successful people are doing, or we won’t be successful ourselves.

The problem is that when a generalist approach simply isn’t as effective as a specialist’s approach.

As generalists, many of us just starting out don’t realize that these big names with the thousands of followers actually have their own teams. Or if they don’t have a team, they’ve just been doing what they’ve been doing for so long that they now have reached a point where they have exponential growth.

Trying to duplicate those results as someone relatively new to an industry, shouldn’t be what we’re focused on.

What to Focus On

Instead of trying to do all these different tasks to try and get your name out there and recognized, you need to focus on a few things. The things that really are a value for others.

For example, Jordan has specifically focused on his show for… 12 years.

Funny thing is he still hasn’t really used the different social medias like many of us think he should based on his influencer (fyi – he hates that title) status.

Sure, in the last year he’s completely rebranded himself from scratch, but he did that because he had the connections in place to do so. People knew him from the previous 11 years of being a great host on his old show. They knew what his niche was and, to an extent, continues to be.

If we want to be as successful as Jordan or other influencers that we look up to, we have to find our own track to do it. No amount of learning how to do Facebook ads or learning some other skill is going to have an direct impact on your success. What has worked for others, more than likely won’t work for you.

However, if you start out on your own path of creating value for others, you’ll make the right connections along the way. Find out what’s needed and find a solution for those needs.

Action Steps

So, here’s a bit of advice that I learned all the way back in 2012. We collectively need to practice Idea Extraction (a phrase coined by Dane Maxwell who I had on the show in session 56) in our businesses. We can’t just sit back and hope that we can find what other people need by being on our keyboards or browsing on our phones all day. We need to actually get out there and find out what’s needed. If we can do that within an industry we love utilizing skills we have (or can learn) then, we’ll have it made.

To get you going on the right path, here’s 5 questions that anyone who’s starting a new business needs to be able to know about their clientele:

  1. What keeps them up at night, staring at the ceiling?
  2. Are they upset about something? What do they find frustrating?
  3. What do they desire the most?
  4. Are there any trends that suggest something will change in their lives or work?
  5. What other solutions have other companies tried selling to them. Were they successful?
  6. Are there any weird idiosyncrasies about this group of individuals. For example, if they’re an engineer, do they use a lot of jargon in their working day? If they’re a performer, maybe they tend to work better in chaos?

Once you get an idea of what it’s like to live in the life of someone in the group you want to work with and could probably write a journal entry for them, then you’re onto something. My recommendation is do this at least 7-20 times so you can definitely start seeing a pattern of issues.

Once you get a fix for one of those issues, then you can easily take it to others and start being known as “the person who does X”. Then, from there, you’ll start to build a following as more people hear about your successes. Just don’t forget to constantly update how you do things. I’m still learning everyday!

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