What Do I Focus On & What Do I Manage?
Written by Dr. Cory Reich, Ph.D., Posted on , in Section Editors Picks
When I was first learning to mountain bike, I felt that my personal safety and survival warranted the value to receive some instruction. As a result, I took some lessons from a mountain biking instructor at a mountain resort. As I approached the mountain biking lesson shack, I looked at the mountain with a tremendous amount of awe and wonder. Two others, a man and a women were taking lessons at the same time. As the three of us began, we were asked our current skill levels. The other gentlemen and I expressed that we had some experience but certainly not experts, intermediate is the term. The women indicated that she was a beginner.
The first principle the instructor taught and he did it emphatically, was that “where you look is where you will go.” He explained that if you look at the stream, you will end up in the stream, if you look off to the right while riding down the path, you will end up on the right of the path--seemed an important principle to remember. It's funny how you pay much closer attention to principles when imminent harm is possible if you don't.
After receiving several pointers and developing skills in the parking lot we rode the chair lift up the mountain. As we began our decent, everything seemed to be going well. I was directly behind the instructor, with the gentlemen behind me and the women behind him.
As we approached a large stream, the instructor started across, hesitated, looked down, and barely caught himself as he was about to fall. Thinking that if the instructor had a difficult time negotiating through the river, surely I would. As would be predicted, I went into the river, hesitated and stopped pedaling as I hit some river rocks, looked down, and I ended up in the river. I was unable to click out of the pedals and fell into several rocks just below the surface--yes it hurt!
The gentlemen behind me, seeing all of this, choose simply to stop before entering the river and walked through, not taking a chance. After waiting for a few minutes, the beginner came around the corner and headed straight at the river. I remember thinking, this is not going to be pretty. As she approached the river, she kept her eyes up, kept a constant and steady rotation in her pedaling and rode throw the river as if on dry ground! We all were standing on the side of the river in shock.
I have reflected on that experience many times. Regardless of skill level and experience, the principle of focussing on what is meaningful and necessary and trusting the behaviors required to get to your goal is the surest way of getting where you want to be. If we focus on the obstacles, the challenges, or whatever other feature of distraction might occur, we loose sight of the end goal. In such a distracted state, we remind ourselves of our imperfection, often loose faith, and fail. Or as my fellow riding colleague, we choose out and don’t even try!
Focus Management Principle
In coaching and the therapeutic process of change, I have seen this principle express itself many times. If we focus on what is broken, believing that when fixed we will be more happy, or more prepared, we are actually mistaken. If you focus on what is broken, you will always feel broken! We are also aware that the que for imperfections is pretty long, making our “brokeness” feel impossible to overcome.
We have learned that the best way to accomplish a sense of healing in imperfection and progress towards wholeness, is to focus on what is meaningful, the actual defined goal! By rallying your gifts and talents, asking for support, and focussing on the goal, you are most likely to succeed. In fact, regardless of the outcome, growth and insight will occur and you will benefit from the experience.
Manage Weakness & Disease
Do not focus on the things that make goal strivings difficult or even challenge it. While imperfections, weaknesses even diseases cannot be ignored, they are only relevant as they get in the way of what you are focussing on. As it relates to diseases, you do need to manage the disease. However, you do not define yourself by it or focus upon it. Again, in an effort of emphasis, only when unwanted behaviors or diseases express themselves in the context of goal pursuit, do you then move to manage them, but even in that you do not define yourself by them or focus on them! By staying focussed on your dreams and abundant living, you will grasp the why and the motivation to manage weaknesses and disease.
Remember, focus on your strengths and the meaning pursuit! Manage the weaknesses only as they express themselves and interrupt you in your quest for a meaningful life.
Now, believe and pursue! Remember, where you look is where your life will end up!