Last week, I challenged you to a 45 days exercise that will transform your life. After seven days are you still focusing on what is working?
By now, you’ve heard the story of “You Get What You Focus On” however, this post is not about the lesson itself. This is about how to apply that lesson and make it work. We all know that we get what we focus on, but how can we actually change what we focus on?
I’ve noticed that people struggle to not only to adjust focus, but also to maintain that change.
3 Techniques for Changing Focus
There are three techniques to equip you to actually change your focus:
- Evaluate What Shows Up
- Deal with the Difficult, but Don’t Focus on It
- Realign Focus to What is Working
We have previously focused on Technique 1. This week we are going to focus on Technique 1.
Technique 1: Evaluate What Shows Up
My grandfather was a quiet man. He didn’t say much, but when he did speak it was usually powerful stuff. “You Get What You Focus On” was one of several powerful seeds of wisdom he left for me.
As long as he was there to provide reminders, I was good at managing my focus. Life is kind of like that, you know, as long as the lessons are obvious or we’re reminded of them, then we do OK. But in the day-to-day drama of everyday life, we forget even the most basic of truths.
That’s how it was for me. When grandpa passed away, I was 28 and in the midst of a skyrocketing career. His death alone was devastating, but the absence of his wisdom soon became debilitating.
Within the first year after his death, I had completely forgotten most of what he taught me. With a career in hyper-drive, accompanied by an obsessive-compulsive personality, it became easy to lose focus on what was working and to shift it to what wasn’t. Besides, I was a “fixer” and was rewarded profoundly in executive roles for identifying issues and fixing them. The more I was rewarded, the more I focused on things that needed to be fixed.
Soon, an interesting pattern started to show up. Today, I affectionately refer to it as an addiction to drama. But back then, it wasn’t so clear. The more I looked for what was broken and needing fixing, the more things broke.
I went through several years of being addicted to drama after my grandfather’s death because I didn’t know how to change my focus. I remembered his words “you get what you focus on,” but didn’t know how to apply them when he wasn’t there to remind me.
Then in the fall of 1996, God inserted a little help…via misfortune. Life drama had been escalating and I was trapped in what felt like hell on Earth. I had no way to escape and it seemed like things got worse every day.
First, a relationship failed. Then, my career began to falter. Then, my elder brother passed away from an AIDS-related brain tumor. And finally, less than three weeks after his death, I was in a very bad car accident, which put me in the hospital and out of commission for over three weeks. I was unable to walk without assistance from a nurse or a friend.
There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and no way to fix what needed fixing…me.
At the time, I thought I was being punished. Since deep down I didn’t believe I was good enough, it made sense that God would punish me by these unfortunate events. The funny part (and it’s only funny now) is that the accident was just the break I needed to realize one thing: the common denominator in all of the unfortunate events happening around me was…me.In that moment, I learned how to change what I focused on. I evaluated what showed up.
Look around. What does life look like? Life is simply a mirror of our focus. If a bad relationships shows up, then ask yourself why? The truth is that we’re probably focusing on bad relationships due to fears and insecurities, or perhaps we don’t expect that we should be treated well.
And if the lack of abundance has shown up in your life, look around.
What are you focused on? Usually we’re focused on fears about money and success rather than on creating it.
The more we wonder why we aren’t receiving abundance, the more we’re focused on what we don’t want.
It’s very easy to overlook our role in the drama and put the blame “out there.” The truth is that life is simply a mirror of our focus. So this first technique for changing what you focus on is to evaluate what shows up! That will let you know where to change focus.
What is showing up in your life? Evaluate it and adjust your focus.