Don’t fall out, don’t fall out, hold it, holdddddd it, focus!

 

This is what I was telling myself in last night’s yoga class during an especially difficult “Dancer Pose” or natarajasana (see photo above) for all my yogis. I was balancing on my left foot with my right hand holding my right leg behind me and my left hand straight up in the air…if that sounds like a lot going on good, because it felt that way too! Different muscles are twitching, my standing leg is slightly shaking, struggling to balance and the instructor said, “Just keep focusing on that single spot on the wall, clear out the other distractions.”  At the time it was so profound, and exactly what I needed to hear, so I squinted and stared “harder” at the speck on the wall just below the mirror….

 

If you’re not a yogi, if you never been to a yoga class, or even if you dislike yoga stay with me because there’s a bigger point to this story >>> So there I am, balancing on one leg, staring at the wall when I notice the gal next to me wobbling and the guy in front of me completely loses his balance and falls out of the pose, my standing leg wavered but I kept focusing on that spot on the wall.  In yoga “falling out” and losing the pose can be contagious and create this domino effect. The only thing that combats this is focus and it worked. I did not in fact fall out of that pose, which was a win in itself for me.

 

 

Your ability to succeed is determined by your ability to focus.

 

I’ve found this to be true at work, with personal goals, and yes even with yoga.

 

What about distractions?

 

Whether it’s an internal distraction (did I remember to lock my car?!) or external distraction (the bead of sweat dripping down my nose that was really starting to itch), being able to focus actually downgrades distractions from detours into speed bumps, they may shake you slightly but you keep going.  

 

Just today I was on the phone with a friend, Susan, who was told yesterday that she’d be in Detroit for the next 2 weeks on site with the client.  Surprise? Yes. Distraction? Yes. Detour? Nope. Her focus is managing stress so she can get her blood pressure numbers down, and even with all the last minute packing and adjustments and finding dog care and organizing her files to bring, that remains her focus.  So she took care of the administrative aspects of travel, kept a cool head, and even pre-booked a couple yoga classes in Detroit to keep her heart rate down. And she will succeed because she is clear + locked in + focused on her goals.

 

The truth is clearing out distractions is NOT easy, and psychologists have coined the term “monkey brain” to describe how easily our minds become distracted. Think of a monkey in the jungle, jumping from branch to branch and back again as they become distracted by every blowing leaf and buzzing insect. However, identifying what is important to you and channeling your energy towards that (and minimizing the energy leaks from internal & external distractions) maintains that focus and ultimately leads to success.

 

3 Tools to Master Distractions

 

1) Stop wasting mental energy on worrying.Many internal distractions come in the form of worry or emotional imbalance from overthinking, overanalyzing, and constant comparisons. Your mental energy will be wasted on these, so understand why this is happening (monkey brain) and immediately shift your thoughts back to your focus.  Get back into the present moment by writing something down about your focus.

 

2) Make your focus tangible and keep it in front of you. Remember I was staring at that spot on the wall?  It was tangible! Create a vision board around your focus, select an object that is a visual reminder of your focus, be creative.   Or you can mimic Susan, as a reminder of her focus to reduce her blood pressure she wore the same bracelet everyday. Every time she started to get stressed out, she touched that bracelet and re-focsed her energy to relax and let go of that stress.

 

3) De-clutter your physical space.The loudest source of external distraction is physical clutter.  You know when you walk into a room to do something, then something on the table catches your eye and get roped into that and eventually forget what you came into that room for? Exactly. Make it easier to focus and clear off your desk, your car, or wherever you spend a lot of your day.

 

So what is the area of your life you’d like to make a  focus? Where do you want to be successful? It’s easy to get distracted, but if you truly want success you need to clear out the distractions.  I’ve seen so many women be successful when they truly focus – they’ve done it, I’ve done it, and YOU CAN DO IT TOO!