A few days ago, I was trying to develop some material for a new leadership program, but I found myself getting distracted frequently. The phone, incoming email, competing demands and other people kept intruding, and several hours later, I was no further ahead than where I was when I first started. Frustrated, I swung around in my office chair and looked over at the window. And saw one of my cats! For the next 15 minutes, I watched while she stalked a small flying insect with complete concentration. Not even the prospect of play with her furry sister strayed her from her objective. Nothing else existed except the prey she was hunting. Minutes crawled by as she waited for that bug to creep out from under the curtain. She was prepared, she was unswerving, and above all, she demonstrated intense focus. She knew what her priority was, and she was relentless in devoting her energy to her quest. As I contemplated returning to my work, I wondered what could give my cat such enduring single-mindedness, and I realized that I could learn a lesson from my loveable little lioness. My four-legged friend was clear about her goal; she understood what might divert her and could not be persuaded; she applied all her energy to accomplishing her objective.
How often have you found yourself in a similar situation? As a business professional and a leader, you too have organizational and personal targets to achieve; yet other distractions hinder you from achieving long-term goals and objectives.
- Do you have a clear goal: a vision for yourself, your career, your department, or your business?
- Do you know what things distract you the most, and more importantly, do you deliberately set them aside so they don’t hamper your success?
- Are you relentless about dedicating your energy to your identified priorities, or do you allow yourself to get sidetracked by the trivial and less important?
Perhaps you too could learn about concentration from my cat!