After more than a dozen years of coaching people through the Halftime Institute, I see a trend, an obvious and recurring barrier to a life of joy, impact and balance: a lack of focus.
The truth is, we all struggle with focus on a daily basis.
It’s not a stretch to say that there are more available distractions in our lives now than ever. Did you know that the average knowledge worker in the U.S. is interrupted every 11 minutes by some form of communication or another? In this environment, finding time to pray and ponder what matters most to us is difficult to do, to say the least.
Another related culprit in our inability to focus, besides our technology, is low clarity on our calling and personal values.
If you are not clear on your mission, all opportunities, obligations and activities appear equally alluring and critically important. That’s a surefire recipe for frenzied busyness… and a low grade feeling that you’re hustling on a treadmill to nowhere. Many people live their entire lives there, just doing things every day and wondering why they’re tired and joyless.
Are you one of those people?
The good news is that a lack of focus is fixable if you, as Stephen Covey says, “Begin with the ends in mind.” Here are some simple ways I would suggest:
- Carve out 45 minutes for this exercise. (Ok. I’m willing to bet I just lost 95% of the people reading this. Most people speed-read articles looking for magical information, but don’t want to put in the hard work necessary for real transformation. Hence the unfocused and unhappy among us, spinning their wheels in life. Just sayin’)
- Next, imagine you’re on your deathbed and a friend from long ago who you haven’t seen in 60 years shows up and asks “So tell me, how’d your life turn out?” And you respond with, “It was perfect.” Then you went on to share about your marriage, your kids, your work, your greatest contribution to mankind, your health, your faith, your friendships, etc. Write no more than 2-3 sentences of how you would describe those elements of your life.
- Next, which two elements of your “ideal life” are you furthest away from. In other words, where’s the biggest gap
- Think of 2-4 daily habits and commitments that, if you really stuck to them consistently over time, would guarantee that you bridged those gaps by the time you die.
- Lastly, tell at least 2 other people about those commitments and ask them to hold you accountable. (We’ve learned at the Halftime Institute that people grow best over time and with others.) Now, pray for strength and go make it happen!
We’re here to serve you at the Halftime Institute. We’ve found that much of the success of this journey happens within the structure of a coaching relationship, so if we can serve you through one of our coaching programs, either Halftime One on One or the Fellows Program, please don’t hesitate to reach out. There’s a form at the bottom of this page you can fill out so that we can discuss next steps. We hope to hear from you.
Wishing you a more focused life with greater clarity, balance, and joy!