Focus is hard, and the hardest part of focus is hidden. It’s a secret of sorts.
It’s easy to think focus is some scientific formula of strong desire, cans of Red Bull, and late nights. But, I wonder if focus really begins much earlier: saying no to things.
Saying no is difficult for lots of reasons. It could be our boss is asking for something. It could be the non-profit we care about asks us to do more. Or, it could be the request seems small. The problem is, that small request has 63 other small requests behind it.
I’m convinced that most times victory doesn’t come through maximum effort, but from what we say yes and no to in the beginning.
We don’t win by avoiding eating the cookies on the counter. We win by never buying them at Publix in the first place.
We don’t win by putting in late nights crafting the perfect Request for Proposal response. We win by choosing which RFPs to pursue and which to ignore.
What are we choosing to say yes to? How can we say no to more things to free up the time for the important things, the things that let us improve, the things that let us grow?
We need to be able to select what we want instead of life selecting what it wants us to do.
That sometimes means we need to say no to great things to keep our focus on the most important things. Saying no is hard.
But sometimes…saying no is the only way to grow.
Ps In a future Founder’s Friday article, I’ll show you a method I’ve found to say no and to say no, nicely – so stay tuned!