Sustainable Excellence Through Process, Discipline & Focus (Part 3)

I’ve presented the process and discipline components of sustainable excellence in the last two posts. The final piece of the performance equation is focus. Your goal plan provides the process you follow to achieve your ultimate vision. Determining whether goals are met along the way lets you know if you have the necessary discipline to achieve sustainable excellence.

On any given day, there are countless options competing for our attention. Most people (even many performers) allow the events of the day to determine their activity. They end up constantly feeling behind, always catching up, and ultimately overwhelmed. In other words, living the life of the proverbial hamster on the wheel in a cage. Why?

A lack of focusing skills is usually the culprit. Focus is the ability to turn your attention, energy, and effort towards things that allow you to avoid distractions deterring you from achieving your vision. Here are some tips to remain focused every day.

For business people: Don’t make a “to do” list with ten (or worse, more) items. Completing two out of ten things on a daily list is not focus. Instead, start each day with a commitment to complete one or two things critical to achieving your vision. Get them done before turning your attention to other matters.

For athletes: Much of your time is devoted to structured practice and workouts determined by your team and coaches. In order to achieve sustainable excellence, you can’t just run with the pack. Make a personal goal to achieve during each practice in addition to what your coaches require. Nearly all sustainably excellent athletes I’ve worked with over twenty years also put in additional work between and after required team practices. Don’t forget that at highest levels of performance, this work includes a steady dose of psychological and mindset focus.

For both: Create a time management journal. At the end of every day, give yourself a 1-10 rating on how well you focused and used your time. Note lessons learned such as: What did I allow to become a distraction today? What allowed me to remain truly focused today?

Another focusing tip is to plan your next day at the end of the current day. Sustainable excellence is achieved through proactivity, not reactivity!

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