I feel like I’m being pitched a new project every day. Most of them seem really great. They’ll be fun, interesting, and worth my enthusiastic participation. The majority of them, however, will not help me accomplish my personal life goals.
Sure, I’ll have fun working on them and probably earn some folks’ approval, but they’ll ultimately subtract from the greater things I’m trying to accomplish with my life.
I’ll spend time fulfilling the plans that other people have for my life, and less time on the calling that God has spoken into my life. Sound familiar?
It’s an issue of focus.
So how do we prevent the world from robbing us of our focus? This is an important question that we seldom ask until it’s too late; when we find ourselves side-tracked by a load of inane ‘stuff.’ As leaders, we get bombarded with requests, tasks, and inquiries left and right. Some are mission critical. Some are not. These things all create more work. It’s up to us to decide what gets our attention and how much of our attention it gets.
It starts with a firm understanding of our vision and specific goals. If we don’t know where we’re going, then how can we expect to get there? Cast your vision. Develop the goals that will support the successful realization of that vision. Formulate a plan with specific actions that will drive you towards those goals. Systematize it. Develop a checklist if you have to and knock it out step by step. Leave room to breath, but don’t let outside distractions sneak in and knock you off track.
I read this little story in John Maxwell‘s book, Developing the Leader Within You(not an affiliate link):
A lighthouse keeper who worked on a rocky stretch of coastline received his new supply of oil once a month to keep the light burning. Not being far from shore, he had frequent guests. One night a woman from the village begged some oil to keep her family warm. Another time a father asked for some to use in his lamp. Another needed some to lubricate a wheel.
Since all the requests seemed legitimate, the lighthouse keeper tried to please everyone and grant the requests of all.
Before the end of the month, he ran out of oil. The beacon went out, several ships wrecked on the rights, and many lives were lost. When the police came to investigate, the man was very sorry and repentant. They replied to his excuses, “You were given oil for one purpose – to keep that light burning!”
Our businesses, team members, and resources; even our very lives, have been graciously given to us for a purpose. They are our “oil” and are in painfully limited supply. Don’t give away all your oil only to let your light go out! Don’t let all the seemingly good and reasonable requests and side-projects of the world become a roadblock to you achieving the great work that you’ve been sent out to accomplish.
What’s robbing you of your focus today?