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If I had to define my character, I’d say I’m pretty optimistic. I genuinely want to see the best in people, assume things will work out for the best, and believe that there’s an intelligent force greater than myself that’s got everything covered.
But I’m also human and that means when one thing is going wrong and nine things are going right, my entire focus will be on that ONE thing that’s not working out. The result, if left unchecked, is I get more of what I don’t want rather than ALL the good stuff I do want (and am actually receiving!).
If this sounds familiar, worry not. Because what I’ve learned personally, and through coaching countless creatives, is that when we cultivate a growth mindset and hone our focus to what we want and what’s going well, we make huge leaps forward in our business and life.
Here’s how to enhance your focus, boost your positive expectations, and get better results.
You can’t solve a problem when you don’t know it exists, and the surest path I’ve found to self-awareness is a commitment to personal development. Taking personal responsibility for our part in any situation (good or bad) frees us up to look at how we handle things with curiosity rather than fear, see how it might be done better, and take a different course of action next time.
What you can do: I’ve found that the practice of writing Morning Pages (from Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way) is enormously helpful in processing events and allowing the wisdom within me to find a solution. If you’ve never heard of morning pages, why not give them a try for a month? I promise you won’t regret it.
Each morning I set an intention for what I’d like to achieve that day. Now remember, intention is different from a to-do list. Your intention should feel meaningful to you and serve your greater goals, both personal and professional. For example, today I had a new client starting this morning, another after lunch, and this post to write, so my intention was to create the optimal conditions for me to deliver great value across the board. For me that meant making sure that my morning wasn’t rushed, finding time for a couple of quick brain-boosting walks, and avoiding distractions that didn’t align with my intention.
What you can do: Before you sit down and start your day (and yes, that includes checking your email), set the intention for your day with a focus on why it’s important to you.
With so many things we could be doing at any one moment, focus is the holy grail for a busy business owner. This is the action part of intention. When you inevitably find yourself being distracted by, oh Instagram, holiday planning, etc. etc. you can redirect yourself to the actions that align with your intention. Easy. As. That.
What you can do: Try this simple hack: stick a post-it to your computer that says, “Is what I’m doing right now moving me measurably closer to my goals?” I swear, it works.
You’re not always going to set great intentions or have laser-like focus and that’s OK. Each day is different and sometimes stuff just happens, and you just have to roll with it. What can you let go? Where can you refocus and when? You’re not a machine and life should be flexible. Regroup and move on.
What you can do: At the end of the day, write down what you did well (like not overacting to the snow storm hit and re-adjusting your expectations), what you could have done better, and if/how you might do something differently next time.
What I love about each of these tips is they’re all easy to do and don’t take much time or effort. The secret is making them a habit, something you do every day. That’s when they become powerful drivers in your personal and professional development.
How about you? What habits and rituals help you overcome business and life challenges? What helps you move the ball forward? Leave a comment and share a thought, challenge, or strategy. I’d love to hear from you!
Justine Clay is a speaker and business coach for creative entrepreneurs and freelancers. Through a series of clear, actionable steps, Justine will teach you how to you identify what makes you stand out from the crowd, create a marketing message that resonates with your ideal clients, and build a successful and fulfilling creative business or career. Sign up for Justine’s free guide: How to Find High-Quality Clients and Get Paid What You’re Worth and start making monumental changes in your creative business or career today.