“When the lion is chasing the antelope, he doesn’t look back. He has to eat.” –Robert Cheruiyot

The antelope knows how to focus. That’s what this post is about–focus.

Last Sunday I had a meltdown.  I was tired.  In the past few weeks, I’ve gone from New Jersey (NJ) to Bermuda back to NJ to Boston back to NJ to West Chester, Pennsylvania and then finally back to NJ.

It was a lot.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining.  I had an incredible vacation in Bermuda, a great time with my family in Boston, and an amazing speaking engagement in Pennsylvania, but

No matter how positive each experience was, travel is exhausting. It can spin you around, shake you up, force you to look at different perspectives, and break you down. And sometimes (like in my case) you need to be broken down.

The Breaking Point

For the past couple of months, everything was alright. I was getting by. So I just kept moving. Nothing was monumentally wrong, so why stir up the pot? Right? Wrong! I had forgotten something that I learned a long time ago: Contentment does not mean happiness. A clam is content. I wasn’t happy; I was content. There is a big difference.

It hit me really hard late into that Sunday afternoon. I’d realized that after all of the traveling, the adventure, the joy–I was going back to work the next morning. I was leaving happiness & returning to contentment. This realization–on top of the sheer, travel-induced exhaustion–flung me into panic mode and so began my miniature break down.

I Lost Focus

After a little tantrum, a few tears, and a bit of moping; I had a really great conversation with my partner. I am really lucky to have him in my life because he is very patient on the rare occasions that I get that way. He is a great listener and giver of advice. His Taoist beliefs always lead me back to reality when I stray too far away. (By the way if you’re at all interested in Taoism [which you should be!] here is a great place to start: Living the Wisdom of the Tao).

While the experiences I had during travel were incredible, they were also distracting. And it wasn’t just the traveling that steered me off course. I started 2010 with extreme clarity and focus. I knew exactly where I was headed and how I was going to get there. But then–as it so often does–life got in the way.

While I didn’t do anything to set myself back, I did lose the intense momentum that I’d started the year with. Now however, mini-breakdown behind me, I am back on track, full-speed ahead! My main priority for the next 6 months is to stay absolutely focused on accomplishing the goals that I set at the beginning of this year.

It’s a proven fact that big cats, like lions & cheetahs, can run faster than antelope. Yet, I see antelope escaping certain death all the time on the Discovery channel. It’s not divine intervention. It’s focus. The antelope knows that focus is the key to his survival. I know that focus is the key to my success.

What’s Next

As for my goals, I can not share 100% of the detail at this moment. Some of my goals are personal in nature and others have to be kept quiet for other reasons. I did share my financial goals in great detail earlier this year. I am proud to report that I am actually doing better than I’d anticipated on that front and am ahead of target to reach my financial goals by December.

With out going into too much detail my other goals involve:

  • The continued growth of evolution you and my life coaching/motivational speaking businesses
  • The continued improvement of my personal health & fitness
  • My continued progress down the path to fulfilling my Personal Destiny (read The Alchemist for more on that one).

5 Tips for Staying Focused

1. Minimize distractions. We’ve all got distractions and vices–Facebook, Twitter, junk food, alcohol, shopping, and so on. Whatever it is that’s distracting you, just avoid it as much as possible. If you’ve got a deadline, take a week away from Twitter. If you’ve got a marathon, keep junk food out of the house. Have some willpower. Make a decision that accomplishing your goals and creating the life of your dreams is worth more to you than some unhealthy or unnecessary distraction.

2. Track your progress. Update a notebook or electronic document daily, weekly, or monthly with your progress. Mark down all milestones–no matter how small. Reflect upon your progress regularly. Writing your successes down will motivate you to push forward. Just the knowledge in the back of your mind that you’ve got to write something down at each interval will compel you to keep moving & keep doing.

3. Make your goals public. Tell as many people as possible about your goals. This is all about accountability. For example, I’ve told the whole world about my financial goals and that gives me a great, positive sense of obligation to deliver on those goals. I want to make everyone proud! I want to show others that they can do it, too. Not only will sharing your goals make you more accountable, but it will let you know who your true friends are. Your true friends will be cheering you on every step of the way, checking into see how you’re doing, and congratulating you at the end of your journey.

4. Clearly define your goals. Make sure that your goals are as clear as clean glass! You can not get too specific about what you want to accomplish. If you want to pay off debt, define exactly how much you want to pay off and by when. If you want to quit your job, define exactly where you see yourself in one year’s time. Visualize what you want–down to the tiniest detail. The more clearly you define your goals, the better off you will be.

5. Have faith. Remember that when you truly want something, the entire Universe conspires to make it happen (The Alchemist).

5 thoughts on “5 Tips for Focusing & My Mini Meltdown”

  1. I think mini-meltdowns are healthy. Sometimes we just need to let it all out, and release in order to get back your clarity, or focus as you describe.

    Interesting about Taoism… I’ve always been interested in it, and just talking about it with someone. I must check out your recommendation 🙂

  2. @Karen – Thanks for the great comment! I absolutely agree, sometimes we all need a good cry. 😉

    You really should check out the book. It’s Wayne Dyer and it’s fantastic. I just finished the audio version this past weekend and it’s transformed my life already. I’ll be doing a full review soon.

  3. I’ve been there Dena. Over the years I’ve gotten better at spotting the symptoms of meltdowns; mini or not. This is when I turn up the meditation and tune out sources of stress which I formerly believed I had to face in an agitated state of mind. When you’re calm the source of stress no longer exists; it’s just an experience which you had misinterpreted.

    Your contentment statement sums it all up. Sometimes we think that filling life makes us happy. It works the other way around. Be happy with whatever it is you’re doing and you’ll feel fulfilled.

    As for my goals I can appreciate your personal take. That’s how I view all my goals. I like to keep ’em between me and the universe 😉

    Thanks for sharing your story Dena.

    1. @Ryan – Thank you for your thoughtful comment, as always! I am really happy to hear that my desires to keep some things personal are understood. There is always a fine line there, especially for me. I am a “tell all” sort of gal. But I really like your idea about keeping your goals between you & the Universe. That’s beautiful.

      Thanks again!

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