By Paula Gregorowicz
When I first started in the sport of cycling about nine years ago, I was very nervous about hitting things I didn't want to – trees, holes, rocks, drainage grates, or pillars – depending on whether I was riding on the road or on a trail. The thing I noticed was that if I focused on the obstacle by looking down at it, more often than not I hit it. Of course, this convinced me even more that I needed to be ultra safe or I'd be doomed (much like the mother in A Christmas Story who is convinced Ralphie will "shoot his eye out" if he gets the BB gun), so I continued to concentrate even harder on the obstacle.
You can guess what happened. I hit more rocks, holes, and tree roots while narrowly avoiding the really painful obstacles like poles, trees, and cars (thank goodness). It didn't take me long to figure out both by trial and error and by reading bicycling magazines that you need to look where you want to go, not where you don't want to go.
What do I think about most often? What is the ongoing chatter and broken record that keeps playing in my head?
What do I spend my time talking about when I interact with others? Am I talking about what's not working or am I talking about what's right in a situation?
Am I where I want to be with my relationships, career, physical health, etc.? If not, am I focusing on the problem simply as something to dwell on, or am I working to reveal the source and explore solutions to the problem?
Am I looking where I want to go or where I don't want to go?
The moment I started looking ahead of the obstacle and envisioning a clear, clean line to ride past the obstacle, miraculously I breezed by without incident. As I got more experienced, I not only could do this consistently, I could do it effortlessly without a death grip on the handle bars.
This concept applies to life as well as to business. If, while taking action to move forward, you focus on your long-term goal, you're more likely to make it a reality. Even when you find yourself where you don't want to be and feel like you're stuck in a black hole, the ability to focus on where you want to go versus obsessing about being stuck in the hole can mean the difference between progress and a dead end.
Most of us don't think about where our focus really is until we run into that tree. To bring more awareness to where your focus is, consider the following questions: