In Financial Peace University, Dave Ramsey advocates “gazelle-like focus” when it comes to eliminating debt. In short, his explanation is that when being chased by a lion, a gazelle has only focus: getting away to survive. At that moment, he isn’t worried about his next meal, how thirsty he is, or where the rest of the herd is. All of that can wait.
His only focus is survival. Escape the jaws of the lion.
Ramsey argues that this is the only way you will escape debt. The lion (debt) is looking to consume you. Through gazelle-like focus (and his easy-to-follow-not-easy-to-do steps) you can be free from the snare of debt.
The same truth applies to any area of life. Want to grow your business? Practice gazelle-like focus. Want to be a better spouse or parent? Sharpen your attention on those moments when they are presented to you. Need to lose weight? Don’t make it a side attraction in your life, give it center stage.
Here are three tips to help you with that intense level focus.
One of the main things I help my clients with is the elimination of distractions. There’s a reason my tagline is, “Helping Leaders Get The Right Things Done.”
Because it’s easy to have vision creep.
A shrinking bottom line (hello pandemic business owners) can cause us to focus on that, instead of completing our mission, serving our customers, and building our employees.
When given the choice between focusing on your shrinking profit margins or your customer service, always choose your customer service.
Focus On The Next Thing
In his book, No Hero, author Mark Owen talks about his time as a Navy SEAL. One of the tactics he used to survive the brutal training was to focus on the next task in front of him.
Marcus Luttrell (another Navy SEAL) echoes this idea in his book Lone Survivor.
The premise is simple: if you focus on something in the distant future, you’ll never make it through SEAL training. You can’t focus on the graduation of the program, your first deployment, and in many cases, even the end of the current day.
What you focus on is the next pushup. You focus on making it to the next meal. You control, as Owen talks about later, on controlling your three-foot circle. If you can’t touch it right here, right now, it’s not worthy of your attention.
Focusing on anything else leads to despair, frustration, fear, anxiety, and a sense of dread. None of those things serve a gazelle well when inches from a lion.
Eliminate all of those things and focus on the next step.
Only then can you make any substantial progress on your goals, whatever they are.
Not “One Day” but “Day One”
This one is for all of those that made New Year’s Resolutions, then realized it was Friday and told themselves, “I’ll start on Monday.”
Do you want to reach your wildest goals? Don’t wait to start ‘one day.’
Instead, start today, with ‘day one.’
If the gazelle thinks, “Boy, that lion sure is getting close. Eh. I’ll start running in a few seconds.” It’s too late. Instead, as soon as the gazelle notices the danger, it springs up and takes action.
If you wait to start pursuing your goals “one day” you will end up miserable. You will never reach your full potential. Instead, all you’ll discover is a life of regret and failure.
With the first Monday of the new year, many of us are returning to a life of normalcy. Work reopens. Kids are in school. Old routines are back again as the alarm clock reminds us to get up and invest our energy into productivity.
I hope you had a fantastic holiday season and experienced rest, joy, and peace in the midst of the pandemic and all that it has changed.
Now, it’s time to chase your dreams with every ounce of energy you have today. Don’t start one day, but today, with day one.
Next, keep your focus on the next task and do it with excellence.
Finally, eliminate distraction and mission creep.
That’s a gazelle-like focus. And that’s where success lies.