Kenny Silva's Blog | Faith Based Leadership - FocusI 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?

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8 Responses to Focus

  1. tracee October 26, 2010 at 9:00 am #

    Such a great story about the light house!! I’m gonna be thinking about the oil God has given me to manage today. Thanks Kenny!

    • Kenny Silva October 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm #

      I'm glad you learned something from it. It's such a great reminder that we only have so much available bandwidth. If we divert our resources from one endeavor to several others, the original will always suffer.

  2. Morgan MacGavin October 26, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    Wow, I agree about the lighthouse story!

    My focus is on a career that doesn't exist…yet…I pay the bills and am thankful I have the means to do so, but that's about it. I'm bored and ready for God to speed things along in His plan. Then again, I'd probably have to skip some crucial training. *sigh*

    • Kenny Silva October 26, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

      Whatever that career is, develop your vision for it and build a plan. Know what the next most important step is and get to work. God's timeline supersedes our timeline, and His will is always going to be done, but the common distortion I see is that His sovereignty gives us a sort of license to be lazy.

      Some lies we tell ourselves: "I don't need to go out and find a job because God will provide one for me. I don't need to be pro-active in starting my business; God will open the door for me."

      We have to remember that our God is a God of action. We should always seek His will and walk in it, but it is up to us to do the walking and let Him use us for His purpose.

  3. @jeremy_chandler October 26, 2010 at 2:06 pm #

    This is a great post, Kenny. Thanks. Definitely harder said than done, but worth it.

    • Kenny Silva October 26, 2010 at 2:33 pm #

      Yessir. I even found it hard to focus even while writing this post, because I kept getting interrupted by by email inbox and a few other things I had to take care of. Much easier said than done.

  4. Ashley Segroves June 18, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Wow, great post and example. I will absolutely work on the attention others need v. the attention my business needs. I have a hard time saying no, but have started to. Goals…so very important. The thing I’m not doing is writing them down. That is going to change. Thanks Kenny for your continued leadership.

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