With our political system in upheaval, instability in our education, housing and health care infrastructure and changes to the way we work—it is no wonder people crave a sense of stability. Everywhere I go, people talk about how quickly time seems to be passing, how the days are flying by and changes in our lives are unending.
Many of my clients translate this yearning into a desire to be “more focused.” They want to avoid distraction and give the tasks or problems at hand fuller attention, but they find it increasingly difficult to do when everyone is connected to their devices. New information – whether an email from a client or a breaking headline – is constantly breaking their concentration.
I believe that the reason people crave focus is that their daily activities are not aligned with their leadership, which means they are not doing what they love nor excel at. Those who are not aligned with their leadership want to find something to focus on that will distract from this unease, a short-term solution to a much larger dissatisfaction. The cycle keeps people feeling busy and temporarily useful, yet yields little progress toward their larger life goals.
Focus isn’t enough to provide us the stability we desire. To achieve a true sense of certainty in our lives, we need clarity. Tweet this thought!
Consider the definitions of each:
- a main purpose or interest
- the center of interest or activity – pay particular attention to
- the quality of being easily understood
- the quality of being easily seen or heard
The contrast between focus and clarity is the difference between finding temporary relief from anxiety versus the deeper sense of calm and control that comes from knowing who you are, what you want and trusting in your leadership to create it. Focus is what we do when we don’t feel positively about our current situation, so instead we look to something else to pay attention to, something tangible that will assure us that all is well. However, when you have clarity about who you are and what you want, you don’t need something external to show you what you already know to be true—whether it has happened yet or not. Tweet this thought!
Cultivating clarity is an essential practice to living leadership. When we are certain about the contribution we wish to make in the world and know the unique way in which we can offer it, focusing is easy because the steps we need to take are ones we will enjoy. Even if they are not always the things we love to do, it is easier to complete a task when we know it is allowing us to express our leadership and fulfill our purpose. Focus is then a natural outgrowth of clarity. You will find it is much easier to achieve that sense of concentration and flow when you are aligned with your true purpose. Trying to prioritize focus over clarity will lead to frustration and ultimately, back to anxiety.
Clear leaders experience success with great ease because their greatest resource, their time and attention, are guided by their inner clarity rather than outside circumstances. Knowing what you wish to create in the world enables you to clearly move toward your goals and overcome obstacles to them.
You are making the choice every day; if you desire to lead in life, choose clarity.