Master Po offered this advice to a young Kwai Caine in the series Kung Fu, a popular CBS show from the 1970s.
Master Po: Close your eyes. What do you hear?
Young Caine: I hear the water, I hear the birds.
Po: Do you hear your own heartbeat?
Po: Do you hear the grasshopper which is at your feet?
Caine: Old man, how is it that you hear these things?
Po: Young man, how is it that you do not?
This sage advice from a wise old (fictional) Kung Fu master is something I think we can all learn from.
When I first brought out my book 10 years ago (holy smokes how time flies), I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it. I was entering virgin waters and as I launched it, had no real plan. I hoped it would open some consulting doors for me. Praying it would give me some credibility and lead to some speaking opportunities. I secretly hoped it would create a platform that would somehow magically transform me into the next Tony Robbins.
I find myself smiling to myself as I write this – oh how naive I was back then. Master Po would have dropped me to the ground and stood on my throat if I had even dared enter his dojo with such lofty but unfocused aspirations.
“Hope young Grasshopper? That’s what you are pinning your path to success on? Hope! Oh you have so much to learn.”
Clearly I wasn’t ready. Like young Caine in the television series, I was inexperienced in the real ways of the world and the path a young (hasn’t a clue) author would need to first find, much less master, in order to be successful. How could I ever expect the world to look at my book as anything other than a passion project without real genuine focus? Despite all my well-intentioned motivations behind sharing my message “with the world,” I had nary a clue on how to really do that. I was unaware, uneducated and very unfocused.
As I share this admission, I can almost hear Master Po (not so) silently laughing to himself as I speak about what an incredibly dumb and an naive grasshopper I was back in the day.
It’s taken me ten years and one revised edition of my book to since find my voice. I am not going to say that these past ten years have all been bad because they haven’t been. In fact there are some parts of the past decade that have been downright magical. However, they just weren’t what I think they could have been with the right focus. Clearly this grasshopper didn’t quite know how to, much less where to, jump in order to find real success.
We get what we focus on. We’ve all heard this before but I suspect many of us rarely stop to think about what it really means. We know focus is important but are we really doing what we can to achieve it?
If we want something to happen in our life we have to continually FOCUS on it in order to make it happen.
For example, say you set a goal to lose five pounds. In order to achieve that goal, you have to be willing to focus all your efforts to do everything possible to make it happen. That means you have to stay committed to eating better. That takes focus. You have to be willing to do some exercise. That takes focus to get up early and go lift some weights or go for an early morning run. You have to be committed to the outcome enough to avoid the pitfalls that can sidetrack you. Focus on losing those five pounds is the constant guide to helping you make tough decisions and to take the necessary actions (working out vs. eating an entire bag of M&Ms for example) to get result you are looking for. So focus is therefore a necessary element in losing those five pounds.
Focus is the motivational and directional courage to stay the path and help you achieve young grasshopper. Whether you are looking to lose five pounds, whether you want to run that half marathon you’ve been talking about or finally developing that idea you’ve been noodling on into a real startup.
Focus is the only true guide for those times when Master Po or Mr. Ripple aren’t there in person to help you. Focus is the driving force that keeps you on track and focused so that the excuses of “maybe tomorrow” or “I’ll start again next week” are simply excuses you refuse to use
Focus is the only option grasshopper.
HEAR THE GRASSHOPPER
Young Caine can not hear the grasshopper until he is ready to hear the grasshopper. Until he sharpens his focus and commits to the process, it is impossible to find the the enlightenment he seeks.
Same is true for you and me.
The last 18 months have been a wild roller coaster for me. I’ve stopped hoping and started focusing on the outcomes I want to make happen for myself. I’ve started focusing much more on the value that I deliver to my audience (book, training and speaking) and quit being shy about sharing what that value is worth. I have become crystal clear on what audiences I know I can help and why and started actively seeking speaking and training opportunities amongst those highly targeted audiences. This focus has allowed me to seek and find opportunities that will pay me what I am worth and provide me with an audience that is open to and excited by my message.
By being very specific with my focus, more opportunities have flowed to me that I are in alignment with my clear goals and vision. Focus has helped me stay the course, be more confident and drive real results. I now hear the grasshopper at my feet with immense clarity. I’m full of gratitude and appreciation for the opportunities that focus has brought into my life and career. I think Master Po would be most proud of where I am today and where I know I am headed tomorrow.
Where are you headed? Let your focus be your guide.
ICYMI: Don’t Ask. Do.