Focus

One of the greatest challenges in achieving success is finding the focus to hone in on a task or goal that needs to be completed.

But focus alone won’t get it done.

You need to focus on the right things.

Stephen Covey does a great job of talking about this in his book 7 Habits Of Highly Successful People.

Some people focus on putting out fires – urgent tasks that may or may not be important down the road.

Some people spend their time getting things done, but they work on tasks that aren’t important, and aren’t urgent.

In order to win the day you have to make sure you are focusing on the right things.

It’s a challenge, because the right things can also be the things that have been put off.

Difficult tasks often get procrastinated.

Instead of checking them off, they stay on the list.

One way I’ve found to get around this is to spend time in the morning planning and scheduling the key tasks for the day.  I write them down to further put it in my mind.

Its amazing how much more productive you can be when you focus on the right things.

 

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Hands in the air like you just don’t care

I consider myself pretty fortunate.  I do hundreds of performances and speeches and most of them go well.  But there is always ones that don’t go as smooth.  And its hard to tell when they are going to come.  I can wake up on the right side of the bed, arrive and feel great… I can even do a great performance – at least one that is similar to ones that go really well.  But sometimes the crowd just doesn’t respond.  They don’t laugh at the jokes, they don’t applaud at the punchlines, and they don’t put their hands in the air like you just don’t care.  It’s more like – they just don’t care.

I remember that it used to bother me.  If the crowd wasn’t responding, I would react.  My energy level would come down.  I might not try things that I would usually do.  But nowadays I consider myself a veteran.  I’ve been in the position before.  So I think of a few things…

When the audience doesn’t respond as they usually do, it makes me want to go harder.  Be better.  Not in a way that I have to force it, but I feel like – time to really step my game up.  I look at it as an opportunity.

I say to myself – It’s not me, its them.  I’m not criticizing the audience, but I know that I have enough experience to know that my material is good, sometimes people just don’t connect.  Just like a talented comedian might do a show that he has done hundreds of times and people don’t laugh.  That’s not to say you don’t have to self-evaluate.  I do, but I just don’t take it like its the end of the World.

And finally, I realize its not as bad as I think.  People respond in different ways.  Just because they aren’t outwardly showing their appreciation, it doesn’t mean that its not connecting.  After the show, I had students come up and tell me that they enjoyed it.

But it also made me realize, sometimes its selfish to expect an outward showing of appreciation.

I’m trying to connect with high school students.  I’m trying to connect with the ones that have some issues and things going on in their lives.

It’s easy to get response from the youth that are feeling good.

I remind myself that someone like a teacher doesn’t always get that response.  Oftentimes they don’t.  They might be appreciated years later, and they may never hear those words of appreciation.

Bottom line, don’t search outside for validation – look inwards.

 

Process People

Anyone that has gone on a fitness routine has likely heard the saying “trust the process.”

The scale might not reflect the commitment you have put in.  You are trying to lose weight but the scale doesn’t show it.

You might not be lifting heavier weights either.

But you have to trust the process.  You have to stick with it and eventually you will see the benefits.

Colin Cowherd – one of my favorite radio broadcasters – takes it a step further.  He believes in process people.  For him, it’s a way of life and as a professional athlete – either you get it or you don’t.  Either you put the work in, or you don’t.  After all, a professional athlete can often coast on their natural abilities.

A process person is the quarterback that spends hours watching film in order to gameplan and improve their game.  It’s the person that is training during the off season so that they come to training camp in shape – not working to get in shape in camp.

Process people are about habits.  They have schedules and plans and rely on a daily commitment to achieve their goals.

I’m with Colin on this one.  Process people are nearly always successful.  And if not, they may be disappointed, but they can rest with the satisfaction that they’ve put the work in.

 

Realistic

Realistic.  It’s a word used by parents, by teachers, by some friends.

It’s a word despised by kids, by dreamers, by entrepreneurs.

We see it as limiting.

They will say “Why dream big?  You are not being realistic.”

Dreams aren’t supposed to be realistic.

I like to think of the saying – aim for the moon because even if you land on the clouds you will be okay.

If you only set your sights on the trees, you may not get hurt from falling from a branch to the ground, but you also won’t get the benefit of the chance that your dream can come true.

Of course there is also balance.

You can’t always have your head in the clouds.

I see rappers aspire to be the next Jay-Z, or the next Drake.

It’s great to have these aspirations.  But it can also set yourself up for failure when you don’t achieve their level of success.  Both of these artists are one in a million success stories.

What should you do?

I think the best thing to do is aspire to be the best you.

In the words of Oscar Wilde – “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”

 

 

The Most Powerful Button On The Internet

The most powerful button on the internet is… the share button.

It’s the ultimate co-sign.

Attention is a valuable commodity in this attention deficit culture.

The share button means that someone has taken the time to check out what you are posting.

They have listened to your song.  They have watched your video.  They didn’t just scroll past it.  They didn’t just watch or listen for a second or two and maybe most importantly – they didn’t respond passively.

They want other people to check it out.

When someone shares your post they are saying that it is worth being on their precious timeline.

For you, it means exposure.  It means more eyeballs – attention.

Some people try to “hack” the share button.  They tag you in their posts so that it will show up on your wall.  That can work – I guess.  But it isn’t the same thing.

If it’s a friend or someone that you are a fan of, then maybe you don’t mind that they tagged you.

But most of the time it is annoying.

Not only have they occupied your precious territory without asking for permission, but now you get annoying notifications when people comment on the post.

At first you think people are responding to something you posted.  Nope.  Its about someone else.

Some people ask you to share.  They recognize the value from your organic share.

That’s fair game, but its not as authentic as the genuine share.

Get enough of those, and that is how you go viral.

 

Show Must Go On

The show was going fine… great even.

Then I noticed more people were looking at the screen than at me.

I turned around and saw that the Powerpoint wasn’t working correctly.  Instead of showing just one slide, it was showing the presenter view – a combination of a few different and upcoming slides on the screen.

I tried to fix it.  I switched displays, I closed the presentation and opened again – didn’t work.  Then I closed the program and tried again.  Still didn’t work.

So I turned it off and went on with the show.

At first I tried to gain my footing.  I’d been knocked off my game.

It had been my first show in a couple of months – my longest break of the year with the school break, so coming back to where I was wasn’t as natural as it normally was.  But I didn’t stumble, I kept the show going and finished strong.

During my freestyle part of the show I made a joke.  The topics were banana, money and cookie monster, before I started I said, “Couldn’t have given me something easy? today is already challenging day.”  The teachers laughed.

I apologized once for the technical difficulties but I didn’t come back to it.  Didn’t dwell on it.  The show must go on.

I thought about it after – I know that teachers could empathize.  I’ve seen countless teachers get stuck trying to get their presentations working correctly.  The kids?  They didn’t care.

At least the music still worked.

And really that’s the thing, when something goes wrong people only notice when you notice it.  If you forget a line most people don’t notice.  They don’t really care.

Some people have their head in the clouds.

It doesn’t matter what you say, or how you do, it matters how you make them feel.

You’re Gonna Die

Heard this gem from Gary Vee when he was on the Jim Rome show.

He was was talking about a question he received from a woman during one of his talks.

The question was something like: “Can you offer me motivation? I’m stuck.”

His answer: “You’re Gonna Die.”

Jarring, but it worked.

It’s something that makes me think of motivational speaking guru Tony Robbins.

He talks about how change comes when you change someones state.  One of the most effective ways to do this is to shock them.  A statement like this is shocking.  But its also true.

When you realize that life is going to end, you drop the trivial, insignificant things and start focusing on the important.

You realize that time is short and that you need to hustle.

You realize that it doesn’t matter what others think or say about you, all that stands in the way of you and your goal is YOU.

We won’t be able to do this forever.