We live in a time when there is no shortage of superhero movies. They come in all forms trying to save the day with the unique ability that they possess. What about you and me in real life? Do we have a superpower? If so, what would that be? Does everyone have a superpower? Let’s try to answer this question today.
You may be wondering what I am gabbing on about. You might say there are no superpowers. Yet, we all know someone who is hugely successful and wonder how they could accomplish so much. The superpower I am talking about is FOCUS. Each of us possesses this skill, and it is the secret to unlocking higher levels of success in your life.
Focus allows you to get started on a goal without procrastination, and even more, it will enable you to stay on task by maintaining your attention and effort. Distraction is your enemy, and by strengthening your ability to focus, you can reach the targets you set for yourself.
The most precious commodity in the world is time. You can always make more money, but you can never gain back the time. “Time waits for no man,” we’ve read. It just marches on, not caring about anyone in its path. Time is an equal opportunity provider, giving everyone 24 hours each day for one to choose how they will spend them. How do you spend your time? Focus helps you exploit the most precious commodity and reap the greatest reward.
All of us agree that we cannot change the time. So, what then can we change? What do you have control over? We cannot do everything, and I think we can all agree on that. Chinese author and philosopher Lin Yutang said, “Beside the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of non-essentials.”We have the power to change our priorities. Each day we get to decide what we choose to do.
We have established that we cannot control that clock, but we can manage our activities and coordinate them with the clock. The only thing that we can change is our approach to time. How do you manage your priorities? In his book “Today Matters,” John Maxwell shares 3 questions we need to ask ourselves as we plan each day. Let’s go over each of them.
What is required of You?
Identifying the roles that you play will help you realize the areas in which you are needed. What is expected of you? At work? At home? You need to think about things that you must personally do. These are things that you cannot delegate. You need to be a parent/spouse, son/daughter, employee/employer. These are roles that you cannot pass on to another person.
We each have several different roles in our lives – different areas or capacities in which we have responsibility. – Stephen Covey
In the book “The 7 habits of highly effective people”, Stephen Covey writes about a common pitfall when people start thinking about their roles. People use a narrow definition for their roles and focus on professional success while neglecting their health. The key is to think broadly enough about your professional roles, personal roles, and community roles.
When you have all your roles clearly before you, you can frequently refer to them to ensure that you don’t get totally absorbed by one role and exclude the others as all the roles are of equal importance in your life.
What gives me the greatest return?
In the roles, you have written down, set a long-term goal that you want to achieve in each role. If you cannot think of a significant purpose, then you should be rethinking your role. Is that something that you should leave undone?
You are setting long-term goals to be aware of the rewards you will achieve in performing the role. Also, you will be able to identify the roles that give you the greatest return on the investment of your time. In your professional roles, calculating your return on investment will help you realize where you are and if that is the right path for you. Do you have room to progress in your career? Is it worth your time? Asking and answering these questions for yourself will help you identify where you can get your most significant return.
I have realized that pursuing a promotion in the career that I am in right now will not add value for the time I will have to invest in performing that responsibility. So, I have started investigating other areas where my skill set could return more value for my time. I would not realize that had I not worked out my roles and yielded the highest returns.
We do that all the time with our investments. When a stock is not performing well and is very little in the pipeline for the stock, we sell it and buy one with more potential. Why should your priorities and how you manage your time be any different? Identify your skill set and work to match that with a role that yields the greatest return on time you will choose to invest in it.
What gives me the greatest reward?
It is vital to think about your personal satisfaction when you are thinking about your priorities. If you focus on only the things you must do and an effective way of doing it, you will be a highly effective individual, but you may not be content. Identifying the roles that bring joy to your heart will add meaning to your life.
Philosopher William James said, “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” When we focus on our priorities, which we have distilled down to the essential, we will wisely govern our time. We don’t need directing, controlling, criticizing, or micromanagement. We are fully engaged with our lives, do things required of us, and yield the greatest return and reward.
To be successful, you can’t run on the fast track; run on your track. – John Maxwell