Why it is important to not get distracted and stay focused
For those of you who have read my blog, Year of the Johnny knows that I was overwhelmed and stuck at a crossroads a couple of months back. I didn’t know what to do. Feelings of anxiety kept me from sleeping soundly and from being able to focus on my side-projects or be a supportive husband.
Each morning when I awoke I felt I was drowning in a sea of panic. I would wake and walk around from room to room not knowing why I was awake at 4:30 in the morning. I knew what I had to do but I couldn’t start. My day job had me stressed. The money I was being paid didn’t come close to the work I’d performed. I had to write; to help people avoid relapse, failure and find a way to a peaceful state of recovery.
How could I offer help and support to others when I could only focus on the overwhelming feelings in my life?
I was losing myself in this sea of panic. Sleep was constantly interrupted. Life was scary. In the past, it was not unusual for me to throw in the towel and give up, with ease. In the past, the first sleepless night was enough to make me bail out. But now, this doesn’t work anymore. Quitting is no longer a viable option.
Being accountable to myself, my husband, my clients, and my readers; gives my life meaning. I love the new me and I want to help others be able to say that phrase too! I want to help YOU say it, believe it, and manifest it in your life.
Does this dilemma sound familiar?
Is your focus waning?
Is stress building in your life?
Are you not in a harmonious place?
Sometimes you can’t find the words to write or stay focused. It seems that no matter what you do harmony has left your life. When this was happening to me I felt like a fraud because I was in such a state of disharmony.
I had no motivation or drive. I would run each morning to calm my nerves. The articles and blogs that I read meant nothing because I could not focus on the meaning.
Here are some ways to keep on course even when your focus is waning like a full moon:
1. Read every day
Are you a reader? I hope you are a reader. If you’re reading this you must enjoy reading, right?
It is hard to read during moments of doubt and confusion. What worked for me was to look for something new to read; fresh perspectives from different bloggers and authors. Find someone that excites you. No matter who the writer is, our minds always need more nurturing. New approaches and styles can help produce new feelings of discovery and excitement.
I started reading Benjamin Hardy on Medium. His work made sense to me. He helped, but it wasn’t enough. Even though I felt like I was in a fog for many weeks, I still kept reading. Reading always helps me to deal with the anxiety.
I ran each morning no matter how much it hurt. I hated it and I stuck with it. I knew that I could not let snap, all the mooring lines that secured me to my recovery. I had done this before, and I knew that once I drifted out to sea, I’d be lost. I once engineered a relapse that lasted 3 hard years.
In recovery, it is crucial when you feel your focus start slipping. Push harder through the challenge.
Make yourself wake up early and get out of bed. Even when it feels futile it is important to not let all positive habits shrivel up and die. You don’t have to run but it is important to get your body moving. Positive movement creates positive feelings and you must focus on these feelings to get out of a slump.
3. Wake up to slow down
During my span of goal disorientation and lack of focus, I still woke up early. Before I’d begun to slip into this non-productive space, I would wake up and run. This was impossible now. I had to kick my own ass out the door and down the path.
I started to pace and get nervous. My negative self-talk was incredibly powerful. I managed to find a way to quiet that negative voice down and with practice and commitment, this will work for you too.
When you feel a negative voice coming up and spitting venom in your head, acknowledge it for what it is; words. These words are irrational thoughts, self-limiting doubts that have been created by you as protection. Fear is the culprit here, but you have to quiet the voice down and combat these lies. Counter each doubt or fear with a positive affirmation and prove to yourself that the negative words are irrational. Remember that you must do this every time the negative voices come.
Wake early each morning, give yourself a gift and learn to focus.My voices arrived with my morning alarm. I learned to best manage them by making some coffee and then sitting quietly, with my negative self, and slowly, rationally, disputing each doubt.
- Examine how each thought makes you feel
- Decide you don’t like the feeling
- Replace it with a more realistic, positive feeling/thought
- And repeat
4. Reach out to your network of support.
It is important to always share how you’re feeling. Your peers, family, mentors, and others involved in your sense of wellbeing, will listen and give support. The only way this works is if you seek them out.
A network is important to success, during the good and bad times, equally. A support network, membership group, and mentors help keep your focus from drifting.
When you talk about your feelings with others you are processing and acknowledging how and what makes you feel certain ways. This process is crucial to self-discovery and realization.
It is vital to your success that you remain aware to
- The way you act/react or different stimuli
- What makes you feel good/bad and why
- The best way to handle yourself in stressful situations (This last one is the most important)
I have the created a system below to help keep me sober, but it also works when I am experiencing other forms of stress in life. I have faith in the routine and system I’ve created to keep me sober. This process might not work for you, but take the parts that work and tweak the rest so it fits your needs:
- Reach out to friends and support network to talk about feelings
- Practice gratitude for current blessings and what you have already achieved in life
- Meditate and brainstorm on ways to overcome feelings of futility
It is important to create systems that will help your days go more easily. When you have a network in place to help relieve anxiety and stress the challenge is easier to handle. This is important to keep you from feeling alone in difficult times. Knowing someone is available when you reach out is a great and nurturing feeling.
Having support is crucial to success. A person to phone or be around when difficulties arise makes all the difference. Identify that someone in your life who is supportive now. Be that someone for others.
5. Be open and receptive.
Recently boss walked into my office and gave me a 25% raise. I made it through a challenge without quitting or displaying anger. I did what I needed to do. This time the answer came easy in my life. The answer doesn’t always come easy. I had to trust in myself which does NOT come easily. You must trust yourself and your ability to recognize the answer when it comes. Listen to your inner self when it talks to you. Have faith that your choice will be straight and true. You will find the path that is best for you.
Once the answer was in front of me the goal was easy to set, and steps I needed to take were easy to follow. I had become complacent. Dreaming of change is not taking action. Manifest the change by taking action is change. Coupled with my fear, I was lost in perpetual time-wasting activities fooling myself into believing I was learning about my new craft. All of this insanity to the inevitable, one morning, I felt sick, stuck in an endless loop of overwhelming information that created nothing more than doubt and confusion.
Don’t let this happen to you. What I’ve learned is that complacency sneaks up on you. I felt I had gone as far as I could go and stopped working towards something more. It is easy to do. Have you done the same in your life? Are you doing it now?
Open up your heart and soul to feel that changes taking place around you. The answers are all inside of you. You only have to slow down and listen. Listen carefully and quietly. You will find the path of least resistance. Your brain works to protect you. Once you choose the best path for you, your subconscious will see it through. Left unguided, your subconscious will lead with fear.
Focus on the life you want and take action.
Your job, your boss, society builds a cage around you. You believe you are comfortable so you never try to get out. I had never been comfortable like this. I always worked for myself. Working for someone else almost caused my demise. I fell victim to the complacency of my desk, paycheck, not having to worry about clients or getting paid.
I told myself I would take action towards achieving my goal. But when the next day I came, I would say; “ I’m tired. I will write that chapter tomorrow.” As the old saying goes, tomorrow never came. ***The writer shrugs and sighs***
Once I got the raise I worked harder to get out. I recognized that victory as truth. The victory told me that I can do much better in my life. I said thank you to my boss when she told me of my raise.
She looked at me and said, “Don’t thank me! Thank yourself.
So I patted myself on the back and said, “Congratulations, Johnny!”
She smiled and replied with her usual saying, “You’re crazy,” and walked away.
This was huge. I learned that I have what it takes. I was the one who made this happen. It was in that moment that I finally understood what I needed to do.
You can do it too. Take action every day towards making your dreams become goals and your goals become reality. Little steps are all it takes. It’s up to you, you can wake up in six months and be right where you started, or wake up, smile, and reflect on how far you progressed towards your goals. In essence, focus and action are all it takes to get started. What are you waiting for?
Believe. Focus. Act. Succeed.
This win gave me the confidence I needed to move forward. I rewrote my resume. It was time to search for jobs as a writer. Nonetheless, I had listened and read so much about freelance writing in the past 3 years, yet I’d never taken action. I was stuck in an endless pattern. A new plan needed to be set. A set of goals I wanted to accomplish in the next 3 months were important. If I wanted my freedom back to work where and when I wanted. I knew how to do it. Fear was holding me back. Needless to say, an action was important and crucial to the realization of your goals. Hopium and the law of attraction are not enough to succeed.
I am aware that I am responsible for what happens in my life. The answer to the feelings of being overwhelmed was inside of me. Unfortunately, self-destruction was just around the corner so I needed to take action. I had to quiet the negative self-talk with affirmations. Most importantly, I had to shut-up and listen!
What happened next was amazing. I warned myself to not let complacency win again. My goal is to transition and become a freelance writer within the next 12 months. The plan was set. The goals were written and I had a system to follow. My reaction was quite different. The next morning I awoke and got out of bed feeling strong and energetic.
This is where I started putting it all together. By the same token, if I can do this, so can you. You have to find the reason to push yourself. Needless to say, once you figure out your genuine reason WHY you want to be better today than yesterday; that reason will literally fuel your engines for you. Finally, you can fly wherever it is you need to go. Fuel up, take off and let’s go.
Wrapping it Up
Now it is your turn.
Take some time to find what is holding you back from achieving your goals and dreams. Keep the focus on what you want and need in your life. Learn to enjoy reading. Read about how others met with their demons of doubt and self-limiting beliefs and overcame the challenges. Surround yourself with positive friends and peers. Keep your body strong with exercise and proper nutrition. Take it slow. Relax. Meditate on a better future; Learn to seek the answers from the inside and then manifest your burning desire.
Never stop until you are truly satisfied.
Most of all stop blaming your situation for what you have at the moment. Blaming only causes more negative responses. Positive actions and thoughts are pertinent to your success. Furthermore, a key takeaway from this post should be that it is always better to take action than to sit and wonder, what if…?
“Of all the words of mice and men, the saddest are what might have been.” -Kurt Vonnegut
What are you letting cause you fear?
Have you grown complacent with mediocrity?
What goal can you plan, write down, and start working towards right now? Leave a comment and commit. That is the first step.