Enough Chaos Already! Where is Your Focus?
For innovation to flourish, letting go of the old must occur. Disintegration may feel chaotic and create anxiety. It happens, for example, when the merger of two companies takes place, or the blending of two families occurs. You can never go back to the old way, but the new way is still evolving. By definition, we are in limbo during this transition. From constant world changes and the push of technology, to the effects of a globalized economy, we are challenged to change and live with uncertainty.
Add to the mix the inundation recently of record flooding, storms, wild fires, political polarization and threats…Enough Already! Information and stimulation overload! What to do? From employees having trouble being productive at work, to leaders who tell but don’t lead, to parents struggling to keep the family peace – how can we calm these concerns?
1) Change your Focus. As Dr. Stephen Covey relayed in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we can spend time focusing on and worrying about all the stuff beyond our control – our “Circle of Concern” – or choose to focus on building our “Circle of Influence.” That means putting your energy and time in the areas you can make the most difference, and on strengthening your relationships, alliances, and influence with those able to make even more of a difference.
2) Watch Your Thoughts and Stay in the Present Moment. Do you ever find yourself going so far into the future in your mind, that you wake up in a mental fog? Toddlers remind us of what it’s like to stay present, to get curious and interested in our surroundings. Our brains are wired for taking shortcuts, processing and sorting huge amounts of information. Staying present helps us be more aware of our mental shortcuts – assumptions and conclusions we make- when we don’t necessarily have all the facts. Being present may mean we are less comfortable and less certain, but we are also likely to be more open to new information.
3) Focus on Learning and Gratitude. Having a growth mind set (instead of a fixed mind set) means you value learning and growing. Even during times that are difficult and stressful, you can learn valuable new skills, more productive ways of doing things, and expand your horizons. It’s up to you to choose whether you will ultimately benefit from lessons learned and new opportunities or bemoan the fact that things are less familiar or certain. Many books and people tout the power of focusing on what you are grateful for. Making a gratitude list can change the way you think and feel… and little things count!
When you feel surrounded by chaos and over-stimulation, remind yourself of the power you have to choose what you focus on.