Focus can be difficult to maintain. Particularly for the creative types who, like myself, fit into the jack-of-all trades, master of none category. Sometimes we go off track when it comes to focus: whether it’s a business, job, blog, or workout plan. We’ve all had those experiences where we kind of lose it. Sometimes it’s for a few days, sometimes for months on end. We find ourselves back where we began, it’s frustrating – like Sisyphus pushing that fucking rock up that fucking mountain.
There are reasons we go off track when manifesting our desires (by the way, for me manifestation means focus and concrete steps.)
The first issue we need to overcome is obviously distraction and desperation – like me right now, I’m currently in the process of creating a clothing company . I want my focus to be on that and my YouTube and Patreon so they can grow into the business I want to create for change. But money is tight and even though I am making ends meet, and I have my beautiful patrons – it’s not the money I’m used to from working full time and dancing. I get down, distracted and I start looking for other jobs rather than promoting my company more, and reaching out to more people to help it grow.
How to combat it: For me, the best way to combat distraction is to get focused. Instead of just thinking about what you want, what the future plan is – write it down. Write down a vision and a business plan draft, work out what you need and who you need to contact and do it. Write a PR list, or contact people for a mailing list to keep everyone updated about what you’re doing. Research the steps you need to take and knock one out, or write a to-do list. It brings your focus back to the long game. Reach out even if you feel like it’s a long shot. There are so many incredibly supportive people out there willing to help. Understand that as a person starting a business you do have something to offer. You’re a brand, you have a website, you’re a company director and no matter how subjectively successful your work is, you can still provide something to others – opportunities for them to expand that can in turn help you.
I listen to a lot of Abraham Hicks, if you know anything about the Hicks philosophy one of the teachings of Esther is to focus on abundance and not lack. To focus on Abundance we focus on what we want – not what we don’t have, or don’t want. Therefore to actively change my distracted focus of looking for another job I should change my focus from, ‘I’m so broke’ to, ‘I want to create a company that empowers women socially and financially, I want to research this and make it the best thing possible’ – and to spend all my spare hours, after I’ve reached my expenses quota, working on this. I want it to expand and become incredible.
The second issue might be that it’s taking longer than we thought, leading us to increasingly become more desperate.
The solution: Try a different approach: If you need to be more methodical, become so. There’s so much freedom in throwing things at the wall in a creative manner, but it’s not always worthwhile if you’re trying to live off your creation. A friend of mine created a Youtube channel years ago that had no direction. She wasn’t passionate about the subject matter, so she just made whatever videos came to mind. She later disbanded it because she felt like it was worthless – but it led her to create a new one late last year. She began a shared travel channel that focused on teaching international students about Australia – the niche category blew up and was shared throughout many international students Facebook groups. In three months they have gained over 2000 subscribers and even though the company is small, they’ve methodically researched and listened to their subscriber base to produce high-quality videos designed to teach prospective international students how to apply for visas, write resumes, and find places to live in Australia while they study. Her previous efforts showed her how to produce videos so their company didn’t have to learn that in the beginning. They’ve even hired an intern!
The third issue: We’re viewing ‘failure’ wrong, and not bouncing back from it.
How to fix it: Develop a growth mindset. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve thought “I’ve failed at my goals” when in reality they’re just taking longer to come to fruition. I adapted a ‘growth’ mindset in 2016 after reading Carol S Dweck’s book on the topic and it has changed my entire outlook on life. I’ve always been moderately good with rejection – I started shopping manuscripts at the age of 16 to literary agents, and each rejection always excited me: To me the rejection meant they had read my work. My first half manuscript was read by Catherine Drayton – the same woman who represented The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak – to me, at sixteen, that felt like a massive win. She didn’t decide to represent my manuscript, but it taught me that I had the chops to write professionally – from there it was only a matter of writing something I wanted to put out into the world, and making sure it was good enough for a literary agent to want to represent. Every ‘failure’ is a lesson – it’s a note to move forward with our approach, our education, to try the next method. I am beginning to place everything I’ve learned together into a habitual formula that works for me.
You have to bounce back from failure as quickly as you can in order to maintain focus, otherwise you’ll keep flipping from one project to the next. It’s fine to quit, but it’s important to focus on something, and educate yourself in the field so you work out exactly how you can best achieve what you want. First drafts are always shit. That’s the rule of writing, and of most projects and businesses. You often need to return to the drawing board to isolate the issues and solve them.