An undeniable pressure comes with the role of being a “doer.” There’s always something you’re working towards, but that something is never easy, is it? You think and think about it until it nags at you: it lingers in your dreams, greets you when you wake up, accompanies you on your commute, interrupts you while you work.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt this way.
Why is it so damn hard to focus when you’re constantly thinking about what you want to do? The answers should come to you because you’re putting in the work to think about them, right?
While this may be the case for some situations, the reality is that it’s not always that simple.
If you’re having a hard time following through on your goals, it could be due to the slight difference between “thinking” about them versus “focusing” on them. Allow me to explain by examining the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of both terms:
Thinking: “The process of using one’s mind to consider or reason about something.”
Focusing: “The clear and sharply defined condition of an image.”
You see, by definition, thinking about what to do next tends to bring up many things to consider, which may lead to more questions than answers. However, focusing on what to do next sharpens your vision because you’re forced to define specific conditions in order to make your vision clearer.
For example, I’ve been thinking about writing a book for a long time. Actually, I have many book ideas in my head and have thought about them a lot. And you know what happened over the years? Not much.
The thought of writing a book, managing writing projects, and just life itself make the idea overwhelming¾sometimes impossible. But it’s possible because, in fact, I’m in the process of publishing my first book, From Nine to Thrive: A Guide to Building Your Personal Brand and Elevating Your Career.
Did I suddenly find more time I somehow overlooked? Absolutely not! My circumstances didn’t change, but my mindset did: I decided to focus on writing my book.
One day I was on the train and the inspiration smacked me in the face. I pulled out my handy-dandy Evernote app and started writing out some thoughts the way that an artist tries to capture the beauty of a specific moment in time (but far less graceful and mostly because I will forget a great idea in a split second).
From there, I was on fire. I started outlining the steps I needed to do to get started, and each time I completed one step, I moved on to the next. Suddenly, I was like the little engine that could. I just kept moving forward until the next thing you know I was chug-a-lugging along without even realizing it: I was writing a book.
You can apply the same principle when it comes to what’s keeping you up at night by focusing on what’s on your mind. What goals do you want to accomplish this year? Pick one thing that’s important to you right now. Is it getting a new job? Is it improving your health? Is it completing a certification? Is it writing a book?
I want you to focus on this, my friend, and stop thinking about all the reasons why you can’t start right now.
I’ll be honest. The inspiration may not come to you today. It may not even come to you tomorrow (maybe it’s not supposed to at this very moment).
But when it does, use the momentum to give you the push you need. Instead of thinking about the answers, try focusing on the questions.