Our theme this week is Change. We even have a song: Jack Johnson’s “Change.”
Today I want to talk about change in our conscious attention.
When we want to start or grow a business, we are inviting change into our lives.
My very first post on this blog suggests we embrace change as “what is” rather than fear it or resist.
Often when we decide to make a change we jump into “preparation mode.”
We want to read every book, scan every guide map, listen to every TED talk, podcast, dive into the free reports and webinars.
While reading up and learning is a great way to start, it can become “the work.” There will always be another channel to distract you from doing YOUR work.
Our attention is fractured
We can spend a lifetime surfing screens, seeking validation, begging for a sign of approval, permission, the “secret” to doing work without risk or fear or the potential for failure.
I see acquaintances doing this “seek, seek, seek” behavior online. They are the ones telling us about the next great free class, low cost blueprint or guru who has all the answers. They tend to be on Facebook or Twitter quite a bit. And, yet, they produce nothing (nor not nearly enough), crumple in frustration, can’t connect the dots, say “I’m working so hard and so busy and have nothing to show for it.”
And they ARE working hard and are super busy. It takes time and energy to consume all the information available to us.
It is completely impossible to process all the information available to us. I suggest you don’t even try. It’s too much. And it’s mostly useless.
The vicious cycle we fall into is spending our precious time reading, listening, giving our attention to others who are telling us to live and behave differently. Taking time to read someone telling me to be mindful or choose bravery or innovate takes me away from being mindful, being brave or innovating.
Diving into all that content is the resistance.
Ironically, those who write and guide us aren’t on Facebook or Twitter or flitting around. They are focused on doing the work of telling you what to do with your fractured focus.
See how this is unhelpful?
Instead, own your attention.
Consciously decide where you are going to put it.
It’s fine to read and learn. Choose where and when and who you will do that with. I have my “go to” teachers, books and content. I spend time with them daily. I scan social media for new ideas and voices. I vet every new information source carefully. Are they helpful, honest, have values similar to mine? Is their content meaty? Are they sharing new ideas? Or are they regurgitating stuff I already know in a flashy package? Can I connect with them personally or do they put up barriers to relationships? Those I trust I follow consistently. Those who don’t pass muster, get deleted from inbox (email and brain).
Owning your attention is a change. We have been conditioned since we first touched media to let our attention be led around by the nose. Advertisers, marketers, PR firms all get into your living room, on your screen and fight the good fight to get you to shift your attention to their noise. Our brains like shiny objects and are quick to comply with the demands of sexy, funny, fast paced distractions.
But you don’t need to let that happen. Just own your attention.
I’m not going to tell you how.
One of the values I hold dear is supporting people to empower themselves to do their work.
I want you to figure things out on your terms.
I find “how to” articles useless. My way of focusing and yours are different. A list of 10-Ways-to-Focus from my perspective isn’t much use to you because you’ll focus on MY 10 ways which distracts you from finding YOUR 10 ways.
So here’s what I suggest. Set an intention to own your attention. Plan an activity you want to really focus on. Maybe it’s in your business. Maybe it’s in your family life. Go and pay attention to it.
When you get distracted, recommit to paying attention. Experiment with what works for you. You are smart and you are going to figure this out over time.
The Big Picture
Owning your attention pays big dividends in life. You can decide what messages you attend to or not. You gain big stretches of brain space to create and innovate. You get to choose where you focus your energy and time. You empower yourself to follow your heart and passion, rather than give your power to outside forces who demand that you prioritize them over what matters to you.
I’m setting up my online space here for people who want to commit to owning their attention. We’re going multimedia and idea driven. Posts won’t be the expected 200 words, videos will go over 2 minutes. Ideas will be shared that are open ended, available to ponder. I’m not lobbing “the answers.” I’m inviting you to create, share and innovate with a community. We collaborate on a process together.
True success, valuable change, creating a sustainable business, lifestyle, mindset all require intentional attention, deep thought, commitment to a broader cause. We don’t have the space for that process in many places anymore. I’ll set up shop here for those of us who choose to engage our attention on purpose.
And Thank You for your attention. I know you can be in 1000 other places right now. Your choice to be here means a great deal to me. <3