It’s a fallacy to believe your success at work can be separated from your success as a human being. And truly successful leaders know this. They focus on being successful on a personal level first – and everything follows from that intention. So, that said, what does it mean to be successful in this sense?
Not an easy question to answer.
As a starting place, successful people show up 100% to every conversation, decision, and challenge. They are fully present for life’s important moments – mundane and monumental. This full presence is what allows them to get the most out of every day and every opportunity, leading to the ability to create world-changing companies, results, and movements.
Of course, bringing your full focus and attention to every task all the time is easier said than done. In fact, you may not even notice that you have become distracted. I see this in my clients all of the time. Many of them, the founders of successful startups included, come to me when they start to notice something is off. After operating at 100% for years or even decades, they notice some nagging feeling distracting them and holding them back from achieving the success that once came naturally to them in business and life (which are one-in-the-same when you’re in full alignment!).
All it takes is a fraction of your brain to be occupied by fear, doubt, or other opportunities to keep you from achieving success. When you’re a little bit distracted or stressed, and subsequently haven’t been sleeping well, you’re operating on 95%. And, while that may be totally sufficient for the daily functioning of your business and personal life, it’s not enough to move you forward.
When you show up 95% focused on the task at hand, you waste energy on switching direction and putting out fires rather than on strategic planning. As a leader or creative entrepreneur, you need to see beyond what’s happening in the here and now in order to identify the next step to achieving success. When you’re distracted, you lose the mental space necessary to make these types of decisions—a huge cost for a measly deficit of 5% of your attention.
The reason this last 5% is so important is that it controls whether or not the unconscious part of your brain is working for or against you. When you’re in full alignment, this part of your brain is working on a problem while you’re in the shower, while you’re driving, biking, or walking to work, and while you’re sound asleep at night—because you know what the goal of your career or business is and you are confident that you will be able to achieve it. All you need to figure out is how.
In coaching sessions with my clients, we focus on identifying what’s taking up that last 5% of their attention and keeping them from operating at their best. Rather than repressing whatever it is that is nagging at their subconscious, we open up the space necessary to air it out. Often, when we dig into what’s distracting them, my clients realize they are very certain of what they want to do, and that it is actually fear of the change that comes with success that is holding them back. The startup founders and leaders I work with can do anything they want when they put 100% of their mind to it. Many of them have proven this already by starting their own businesses or rising to the top of their companies.
When you have the ability to make your dreams a reality, on an unconscious level it can feel safer to stall. Defining this resistance and consciously separating it from whatever it is you want to achieve will help you get your focus and presence of mind back. Often it’s just a small shift that changes everything. So go ahead, get the support you need to identify what is taking up your final 5%, and get your focus back. Your vision awaits.