The Power of Focus

Many years ago I read the book “The Power of Focus”. Well, I started reading it… didn’t finish. I guess I got distracted. More recently I’ve made some aggressive choices to narrow my focus and that has opened the door for some big steps forward. (It was actually the book “Essentialism” that led me to experience this breakthrough)

A few years ago I could have listed my job title as Magician/Improvisor/Banjo Player/Graphic Designer/Web Programmer/Marketing Consultant/Event Producer. Okay, I’ve never made any money as a banjo player, but everything else was an active role, and each job required a slice of my attention and energy. At the time my mindset rationalized that I was doing whatever I could to get by, but now I see how wearing all those hats was weighing me down and undermining my forward movement. How can you get anywhere when you’re moving in six different directions?

The core lesson of Essentialism summed up in one picture.

The core lesson of “Essentialism” summed up in one image.

You Can Only Do So Much

I took at a hard look at how I was spreading myself too thin, and how I could limit my focus to some core strengths that would make the biggest impact in the world. I began to aggressively say NO to everything else. (Interesting to note: when I declined taking on new projects my clients weren’t upset, but often expressed that they understood and respected my choice to focus on my chosen path)

The truth is you cannot achieve an expert level at more than one thing. What will be your thing? As a magician you cannot have the BEST kids show as well as the BEST corporate show. So, which is more important to you? Which path will allow you to feel most fulfilled while serving others at your highest level? 

Step One

Focus On Your Best Work

An activity that helps you visualize the relative value and importance of your goals and projects. This will help you focus on what is most important.

Action Step: The Wall Experiment

Write down all your goals/projects/jobs and lay them out according to their importance and value. 10 – 20 minutes

As we sort through your goals and move towards a plan, you should be looking for big goals that are mutually beneficial . That is, when you’re making progress on one goal, will it also naturally move you closer to another? We all have limited time, and especially limited time to spend on developing as a magician, so you need to make sure you’re not fighting against yourself.

Step TWO

Learn To Say NO

The hard part, once you determine your focus, is aggressively protecting it against all the distractions. This means saying no to people and projects that are not on your path forward.

Action Step: Cut Out Distractions

Using your “Wall Experiment” as a guide, make the decision to cut things off your to-do list, and remove them from your life. 5 – 10 minutes

Step THREE

Write Down Your Focused Goals

We’ve written down our dreams, and done some work to choose our path… finally it is time to actually make your list of goals that we are going to be working on.

Action Step: YOUR GOAL LIST

Write down the goals from your “golden quadrant” that you need to be working on this year. 10 – 20 minutes

Tip: Be wary if you are writing down a lot of goals to work on this year. We want to focus on a small number of BIG goals… any more than five and you may be setting yourself up for trouble.

You absolutely MUST be writing this stuff down, on paper or on a digital device. It simply will not do to keep it all in your head. We will be working with this list of goals in the upcoming lessons to create your action plan.

What’s next?

The next lesson drops on January 7th, and we’ll talk about how to make sure your goals are too important to fail! Make sure you complete this lesson before then.

In the meantime, I’ve set up a Facebook group for fellow magicians in the Make Magic Happen program to meet, connect, and help each other along the process. It’s the perfect place to add your questions or comments about the current lesson as we’re all working on the same thing.

Action Step: Join the Facebook Group

Connect with fellow magician in this program and discuss the current lessons.