Most would agree that in the world of professional basketball Michael Jordan is the greatest player to have ever played the game. What amazes me is his magnificent talent. Not many people could retire from the NBA, begin playing baseball, come back to professional basketball and still be at the top of his game.
There is another person in a similar profession that is truly amazing in his own right. A sport that is full of past and present heroes. A world that is extremely competitive. That world is professional golf, and the person is Tiger Woods.
Now, many of you would take issue with me if I said Tiger was and is the greatest golfer to ever play the game. And I know he has had some legal challenges over the past couple of years. The reason I think Tiger is a great champion is not just his talent to hit crushing drives, his passion for the game, or his ability to make clutch shots seemingly at ease. The reason I feel he is such a great champion is because of his focus when competing.
Just like Tiger, in order for you to reach your goals personally, as well as professionally, you must stay focused. If we peel back a few layers of the word focus we are able to see some very helpful ideas. Ideas such as Faith, Opportunity, Consistency, Understanding, and Self-talk. Each of these concepts could take volumes to explain in detail, but are briefly explored below.
Faith – In order to reach your personal and professional goals you must have faith in yourself. You must be willing to take calculated risks without looking back. You must have faith that God is that safety net, that helping hand, that guiding light in the darkest of nights. Very few people have ever accomplished great things if they didn’t first have faith in themselves.
Opportunity – In our world today many are still searching for that “get-rich-quick” scheme. I have found that true accomplishments are achieved because of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right experience, and a willingness to do the job. In order to reach your goals you must continue to focus on preparing for that next opportunity. For instance, by reading one book a month, for twelve consecutive months (on any one subject), you will be better prepared than most of the people you work with, worship with, and compete against.
Consistency – It has been said that success is found in your daily agenda. My personal trainer has told me many times how important consistency is to better health and a stronger body. Questions for you to consider… Are you consistently putting 100% into everything you do? Are you consistently following a plan of action (a game plan)? Are you consistently planning for tomorrow, today (goals)? Are you consistently taking time to refocus your life?
Understanding – In order to be successful you must understand your limits. You are simply not going to be good at everything, and the things that you are good at are limited to your skill level. A good example of this is my tennis game. Not long ago I was playing a singles match, a match I was losing badly. During one of the breaks I said to myself, “Jeff, just have fun and play within your game.” What I meant was enjoy the day, and hit only the shots that I knew would go in. To my surprise, and my opponent’s as well, I began to play tremendous tennis. I was having fun and was soon hitting shots with confidence (faith). Remember, work, play, and live within your limits. If you stay focused long enough those limits will expand.
Self-talk – In the world of psychology this is also known as self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, what you and others say to you will somehow happen. As mystical as this sounds it really is true. I challenge you to keep a log for a few days of all the positive and negative comments you and others say about you; don’t forget your thoughts. If you are like most people, by the end of the challenge you will have many more negatives than positives. You should feel very fortunate if you have more positives than negatives. Therefore, I can’t tell you how important it is to say to yourself, “I can do it, I am great, I can get that sale, I can live a Christian life, etc.” Just like the little train going up the mountain, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.”
In order to reach new levels personally and professionally, you must stay focused. I encourage you to spend one afternoon this week contemplating what you are currently focusing on. Do you have faith in yourself? Are you preparing for the great opportunities that God wants to bless you with? Is your daily agenda full of consistent challenges and success stories? Do you understand your limits, and do you have a plan to expand those limits? What words are you and others saying to you?
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