The Secret to Focusing on What Matters
Trivialities replace what matters when you’re under the gun. The dark power of time pressure, stress, and urgency is they obscure what’s meaningful.
- Getting things done replaces making a difference.
- Check lists replace connecting.
- Coercion replaces partnership.
- Junk food replaces healthy food.
- Rudeness replaces respect.
I’d like to say that I focus on what’s important and forget what isn’t. But, who has time for purpose and meaning when things have to get done?
Insignificant leaders focus on trivialities.
The things you focus on express the importance of your leadership. When you inflate insignificant issues, you deflate meaningful leadership.
When you manage, the devil’s in the details.
When you lead, the devil is the details.
Things that matter take greater focus and more concentration than things that don’t.
I’m using the, One Word, approach to help me focus on what matters in 2014. I wrote about it yesterday, Don’t Make a Resolution; Find a Word. My word is Health. It’s already taking on a bigger meaning than I anticipated.
Top of mind is top of life.
Who you are is best seen when you’re under the gun.
Jon Gordon, Dan Britton, and Jimmy Page, authors of, One Word That will Change Your Life, offer suggestions for maintaining focus on your word.
- Write your word down and post it in prominent places.
- Create a screensaver with your word.
- Take a picture of your word and save it on your smartphone.
- Keep a One Word journal.
- Look for saying and quotes that relate to your word.
- Pick a song that reminds you of your word.
- Get a tattoo. They suggest a removable one.
Bonus: Download your One Word ACTION PLAN.
How can leaders stay focused on what’s important?
I recently came into a new positiona as a teamleader and I really want to say thank you so much for your splendid blog. I look forward to keep on following you and getting knowledge and inspiration 2014.
Thanks panikikubik! Happy New Year and best wishes for the journey.
Thank you so much!
Ugh these words again
Less effective way cooler. And anyone who feels words are trivial are the less effective. The choice of words matter, they reveal the mindset that chose them.
Just imagine a mentor having a chat with you. “Hey you are insignificant cause you blah blah blah fill in the blank”. Or “hey you could be way more effective if you considered doing x”.
So which would you respond to with more gusto? Think, words matter.
Jeez, what I focus on is an expression of what I feel is important. See the distinction?
Who I am is who I am when no one is looking. Heard dat! You hear dat?
Number one health issue for me Dan is less eating for taste and more for health.
Raw foods are my ticket. I juice and drink a terrible tasting green drink twice a day. I add superfoods, three of them.
I really knew nothing about food per say recently so I do what I always do when I know nothing. I admit it, then google.
Found David Wolfe. As always learning FREE on youtube. He has a bunch of great videos free on youtube. Very healthy dude with results galore.
One thing I found and then I will shut up. There is not one thing more important for my health than what i choose to eat. Not one, he is the expert, not me, his opinion.
So for 2014 for my health I will consume as much raw food as I can possibly stand. No one thing I can do will impact my health more. If I keep eating what is killing me how am I going to make any significant progress? Duh me if I do not get that.
To understand this I first chose to educate myself about what I really had been centering my diet on. I was horrified and enlightened ong the way to a better understanding. You might be too.
Anyways looking forward to my best year yet, hope the same for all.
SP to the juicer!!! Now!!! Yuck, but does my body good!!!
Thanks Scott. Happy New Year!
Health for me is less about food and exercise and more about the way I relate to others and the state I leave people in after I leave. Although, food and exercise matter to me.
Well I felt the same way till what I was eating almost killed me. Think while that was going on it effected my work performance?
Quite a wake up call.
Thing I find interesting is people who fancy themselves Leaders what in the wide world of sports do they tell themselves when they look at the obesity rate in America?
What do these so called Leaders say to themselves when our kids rank 28th to 31st in math and science every year since the testing started in 2000?
What do so called Leaders say to themselves when Delotte says 80% of people feel disengaged at work?
Do these so called Leaders look at these results and say when I leave them they are going to be dumb, fat and miserable? I served them great!!!!! Well you are succeeding so called leader!!!
Until the problems are looked at honestly, until so called Leaders see we got major problems we just repeat what is clearly not working, we will just continue what we been doing.
Till people understand others as a whole, and understand what we eat has a very important role in how we feel and how our minds function then it will have a not so important place in ones thinking.
Anyways I know it might not get me a ton of thumbs up and most likely thumbs downs……but is what I am saying TRUE?
As a nation we are obese, our kids rank miserably in math and science skills and 8 out of 10 employees feel no one cares about them at work.
These are the facts. Google each one. Don’t like those facts, not liking me does not change them but if it makes u feel better thumbs down away!!!!!
So the question is IF you consider yourself a Leader what are you going to do about it?
Live in Lala land and just lie to yourself and others everything is just grand?
Well that is a choice. Not mine, but a choice.
To me Leaders deal in truth and reality, deals with what is really going on not just patting each other on the back. Right now in America we got some serious problems and delusion and denial is not gonna help us get out of the mess we are in. Getting honest for starters will help.
Understanding others, every bit, including their diet, gives me a better chance to be of more service to them. That starts with admitting what I do not know which is MASSIVE, and get about learning all I can to be of more service to Gods other kids.
Being in denial and delusional don’t cut it.
If we both expired today Dan what kind of shape are we leaving the folks in? Want the answers? Google obesity rate in America, world ranking of our kids in math and science comprehension and Delotte survey on employee satisfaction. That is how we would leave folks if we expired today. Is that the legacy you want?
My Word is “Service”…. It hit me about 3 months ago. I realized this when I approached everyone in the company, from the owner to the line workers, with the genuine intent and internal question of “How can I be of Service to this person and our organization?” The results have been nothing less than magical. Success used to be about what I could get.., frankly I didn’t get very far. Now it’s about how I can best serve, and for the last 18 months My professional, personal, and spiritual life is working with me, instead of me against it. The results are clearly obvious and quantifiable in so many ways. Thanks Dan!! Have a Great 2014!!
Congratulations! Love it.
I will echo what panikikubik stated. Thanks so much for this tremendous source of inspiration/advice for leaders.
I work as a educational consultant and chair a monthly middle/high school principals roundtable for our region in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. I’m constantly looking for motivational messages and videos to share with this important group of leaders.
I’ve been amazed and disheartened by how few motivational resources have been created for these men and women who are responsible for inspiring and motivating all stakeholders in a school (students, staff, parents,community). Having been a high school principal in the past, I know how low the battery can get. I’ll be sharing your thoughts with them and encouraging them to follow you as well.
As for my word, Opportunity, I’ve been blessed to co-chari a committee, committed to providing more Career and Technical Education (vocational) programs for high school students in our rural region, with a retired Air Force Officer who has taught me the importance of focusing on the many opportunities that present themselves each day and making sure our committee does the same. The results have been phenomenal.
Thanks again for your service to others and Happy New Year!
You’ve hit the nail on the head.
I see plenty of managers and leaders with titles in business, education, and government. Few of them truly lead.
Our foundation as a nation is based on leadership being its own reward – a place of honor and respect for the individual willing to pay the price having heard the call..
Somehow this calling has been replaced by managers in positions that often produce nothing and cost an enterprise much. With little or no return on the investment, “job security and steady pay” results in a stagnant mindset that views the aspects of leadership as simply a bigger title and more compensation, with little regard to the awesome responsibility = opportunity to actually lead our fellow citizens to greater heights in creating the impossible.
The entire institution of Leadership, much like Citizenship, is one of our greatest assets as a people. Rebuilding the institution of leadership is the path to rebuilding our state and our nation.
I’m grateful for this wonderful resource that helps propel us into the unknown while on point, everyday.
my one word is honorable. Thanks for a good year. Sounds like there is a business opportunity to develop motivational programs for teachers and administrators.
My 2014 word is filter.
One word? You want me to pick one word out of the whole dictionary for the whole year? 😉 Ok, integrity. For me that word encompasses focus, service, value, and actively engaging in learning/understanding what will encourage more service, growth, value and focus.
Dan, Given what’s happened in your nation over the past year or so I think “Who you are is best seen when you’re under the gun” is a poor choice of a metaphor for stress.
Rather I’d say that “Who you are is best shown when no one is watching.”
My word for this year is progress.
Can he say “target” marketing? Dan does this everyday… He’s the man in the arena providing a free and valuable service to all of us. Let’s understand his message and use the wisdom. Dissecting figures of speech to critique one’s work is better left to the cable news shows. I petition for thicker skin. – Chris
My one word for 2014 is “Focus”. My attention is pulled in so many directions, distractions are easily found for any and all occasions. With Focus, I will spend my energy frugally and effectively. I already know my priorities (Family First, then the rest). The trick will be to focus on the tactics (at home and at work) to accomplish my goals.
My OneWord for 2014 is Connect. Connect with myself (who am I, really?); Connect with others (as Dan says, stop letting checklists trump connecting); Connect others with God (I AM a pastor, after all :)); Connect others with others (let’s help each other here, gang).
I’m hoping ‘Connect’ will get me out of my comfort zone and force me to take the ‘me’ blinders off. Thx Dan for a great post!