“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have twenty-four hour days.” - Zig Ziglar
There is a great scene in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back where Yoda is training young Luke Skywalker on a remote island. Most remember this scene for its famous “Do or do not, there is no try” quote (For the record, I love that line).
This one particular scene shows Luke balancing on one hand while trying to move a set of rocks with the Force. When Luke notices his ship starting to sink in the nearby swamp, he not only drops all of the rocks, but falls, taking the Jedi Master down with him. Luke has limitless untapped potential in the Force, and his early days learning to harness the power were painful at times. Yet, it wasn’t his ability that held him back. It was his lack of focus.
Despite not seeing the movie in years, this clip has been replaying itself in my head the last few weeks. My focus has been slipping. Most mornings, I’ve raced out of bed and immediately opened my computer to start working. I run reports from the previous day, check social media feeds (personal and professional), and tried to “hit the ground running” in order to be as productive as I possibly could. Yet, most days as of late I’ve felt overwhelmed and have gotten easily sidetracked from key projects by unimportant or small tasks. I’ve ended the day literally exhausted and seemingly still with a loaded “To Do” list.
Isn’t a fast start supposed to help me be better productive? What was I missing? Then it hit me while listening to a podcast & walking to breakfast. My focus was off-target.
I had been in such a rush to start each day that I had failed to properly align my eyes and actions with my end target. I wouldn’t be able to channel “the Force” if I was letting myself get distracted with things that a) didn’t match my ultimate goals for myself, my family and CED, and like “A”, b) didn’t matter in the long run. I knew what I needed to accomplish each day, but hadn’t invested the time prior to starting my day to make sure everything was aligned.
I switched gears for the day. I took out my small journal and wrote down the top five things I wanted to strive for long-term personally and my top five things to focus on professionally. I then compared those notes with my goals for today. Anything that didn’t line up with where I ultimately wanted to be as a man and business owner was immediately eliminated. I spent a good 15-20 minutes focusing on this and what needed to be accomplished for the day to get me one day closer to the man I wanted to be and the business we want to build. I immediately found that my day became 10x more productive.
One cannot hit a target if they are letting small distractions take their eyes away from where they are going. A captain in ancient seas would lose his crew and ship if he lost track of their destination and the North Star. Similarly, our lives will be tossed to and from, never truly making progress if we fail to maintain focus on the end goal. Take aim, today.