A Focused Life Series 2021: How to Determine Where to Focus Your Life
We are in a series entitled, “A Focused Life.” The purpose of this series is to start off 2021 with a word that will help to determine the success of 2021 for you, for your team and for your organization. The word we have chosen this year is “Focus.” Without focus, one may be able to experience a good life. With focus (on the right things) one is guaranteed a dynamic life. I say this, not necessarily from the perspective of data/research, but from personal perspective. I have mentioned this before… In my personal study of the most successful women and men I know, they have one thing in common: They have all given the balance of their lives to ONE THING. Not several things. Not 3 things. One thing.
This is the secret ingredient of success… giving your life to ONE THING and remaining with that ONE THING through the passage of time.
Sounds easy enough, right?
The question is, “How do you determine your ONE THING?”
In the movie we referenced last week, City Slickers, Mitch asks the cowboy, “What is the one thing.” To which the cowboy responded, “That’s what you have to find out.”
And the same can be said to you; determining what you will spend your life focusing on is up to you to decide.
How do you make the determination of where to focus your life?
Your Purpose, your Vision and your Mission.
More than anything, the focus of your life will be determined by the purpose and subsequent vision and mission for your life.
What is the Purpose for your life? The thing you were created to do.
What is the Vision for your life? The thing you set your mind to accomplish.
What is the Mission for your life? The steps you will take to accomplish your vision.
It all begins with your Purpose, Vision and Mission (PVM). It is not good enough to simply know one or two of the three. You must know all three.
If you lack focus for your life you either don’t know your PVM or you are rejecting your PVM. More than likely it is the former.
At the very beginning of focus is understanding your purpose.
I wrote about this in my 2018 book Be You: A Practical Guide to Living a Fully Expressed and Fully Integrated Life, a book I wrote because I was struggling in my own life to determine my exact focus and direction. In this book, I write about the five aspects of who you are that determine your focus.
- Your Potential (Your God-given talents)
- Your Passion (What lights your fire and keeps you up at night)
- Your Personality (Extroverted, Introverted, Relationship-oriented, Task-oriented)
- Your Perspective (How you see the world based on your history, experiences and understanding of the world)
- Your Physicality (The sum of your physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, financial and relational health).
You put these five aspects together and you will know your purpose for living.
Often, if you can simply answer the first two – your Potential and your Passion – you will know the answer of what your purpose is. The other three categories are simply “icing on the cake,” so to speak.
Once you know what you are purposed to do, you connect that purpose to one ideal: How to make the world a better place.
Period. End of story.
And, may I add, rarely (probably never) is your purpose to simply make money. This goes for people and organizations. Sure, you may end up making a ton of money in the pursuit of your purpose, but the purpose – your personal or organizational purpose – must be tied to a great ideal, such as making the world we live in a better, safer and more inhabitable place. And, truth be told, the most successful people you can think of right now have done just that. They have created. They have innovated. They have invented. The have led. They have taught. They have healed. They have protected. They have written. They have performed. They have directed. They have inspired. All for the purpose of making the world a better place.
And yes, many have made a lot of money in the process. But the goal was never about the money.
I think about Walt Disney. If you have read about his painful journey to become a global icon, it all started as a person who had a passion to draw (create) and came upon an idea of a mouse. All Walt Disney wanted to do was to bring smiles to the faces of children around the globe through the vessel of a mouse, The Mouse. Sure, the Disney organization has grown, evolved and matured on its way becoming a 70 billion dollar a year company, yet the purpose has never changed: Making people happy.
Every activity the Disney company embarks on centers around this one ideal: Making people happy.
The lesson is clear: Discover your Purpose and your focus will begin to fall into place.
Once you know your Purpose and have connected this purpose to a vision of a better world, you now have your Vision, an exact vision of your desired destination. This applies to any field.
Here are some examples of life purposes and how they become life visions.
Purpose: I am a teacher.
Vision: I want to be a teacher that makes the world a better place by helping 1,000 students go to college and/or succeed in the workforce.
Purpose: I am a lawyer.
Vision: I want to be a lawyer that makes the world a better place by providing legal counsel to global companies that are doing good work and providing meaningful jobs in lower income communities.
Purpose: I am an engineer.
Vision: I want to be an engineer that makes the world a better place by working on large projects that seek to build sustainable cities and infrastructure around the globe.
Purpose: I am an artist.
Vision: I want to be an artist that makes the world a better and more beautiful place by elevating people and communities through the creation of songs, shows and art that inspires humanity to think deeper and live more fully in the present.
You get the idea.
There is something about connecting your potential to an ideal of a better world that brings greater positivity, greater seriousness and greater weight to your purpose.
Once you know your Purpose and Vision, then take the time to figure out the steps you will need to take to achieve your vision. This is your Mission.
The daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals and benchmarks… this is your mission.
This is where your focus should be 2021: Your mission to help create a better world in only the way you can.