How to Get Focused

Walt Disney had the confidence when nobody else did to risk it all on building an unheard of concept called a theme park. This was Walt’s big crazy dream. Walt would gauge the value of an idea by how many successive “no’s” he received when sharing it. Once he had 10 negative responses, he would immediately green light the project.

The challenge that 95% of my clients face is that they know what they want, but they have a hard time focusing on all the action steps to get there. It can be extremely difficult to keep a long term focus amidst the diversions and distractions that surround you every day.

How many times have you started out working towards your big crazy goal with high energy only to get frustrated and give up?

In a moment, I’ll share with you a Black Belt secret to accomplishing your goals. But first, a story…

I Quit Just Like You Did

Nineteen years ago, I had a big crazy goal to become a martial artist. Not just any martial artist, but a Black Belt. In my mind I knew all my friends and family would be mesmerized by an out-of-shape, overweight guy (I was 210lbs) becoming a “Black Belt.” After some investigation, I joined a local Aikido Dojo.

About three weeks into the training, things were going well. That’s when I started telling family and friends what I was up to. Big mistake. Some of the people I told outright laughed at me. Even my girlfriend at the time laughed at the idea. I had many critics.

I continued on until one day I had to start learning how to roll and fall in the dojo. This is the hardest part of the initial training. Falling safely is taught so that you can take bone crushing throws from five feet in the air, and still get up and walk away without a dent. It wasn’t easy for me at all. My bruises, sore legs, and weak back left me feeling like a train hit me.

That is when I quit.

I gave up and threw in the towel because I thought, “I’ll never be like all those other students and Black Belts.” By quitting, I made all my critics right.

Five months later, something changed…

I simply decided that I was going to succeed and make all my critics wrong by becoming a Black Belt. I called my Sensei and asked if I could come back. We had a long talk and he agreed to take me back as long as I would not give up on myself again. I agreed.

The Secret to Black Belt Focus Hit Me

Your path to achieving your big crazy goal will get hard at times. Just like you, I struggled with discouragement. I asked myself how on earth I would keep my commitment to Sensei and get my Black Belt. Then it hit me.

I realized that I was thinking too long term and too big for my mind. The solution: show up one class at a time!

One Practice at a Time

On average it takes a student 767 practices before they are ready for the Black Belt test. Every time a student shows up for practice, they get one practice day’s credit towards their next rank.

The key lesson here is that the consistency of being in the dojo puts you in the right mindset. The dojo is a place where you surround yourself with other people who can help you achieve your goals. Regardless of what rank you are, the practice and showing up is what counts most.

3 Mindsets of Black Belt Performance

Before you take on the work of any goal, understand that you can get there faster by setting your mind right before you practice. Remember “practice” is whatever tasks you need to do to get to where you want to be. Ask yourself this critical question:

What Kind of Practice Will Today Be?

1. Show Up Practice – When you start at one level, by consistently showing up, eventually you’ll move to the next level. Show up practices are when you celebrate the fact that you showed up, did some work and didn’t give up that day. You never know when the day you just show up is the day the technique you’ve been working on for years just clicks!

2. Regular Practice – Regular practices are required to create consistency, build endurance and improve your technique. On these practice days, you learn about yourself and have a chance to determine the right direction and build your confidence. You celebrate yet another practice towards your next rank.

3. Accelerated Practice – This is the practice day where you go in with the mindset that you’re going to do better today than you ever have before. You work towards blowing past your personal best. But you can’t practice here forever, as these practice days are vigorous and strenuous. This is why you will revert back to more Show Up or Regular Practice days.

Failure Strikes When You’re Not Practicing

When I first started training in Aikido, I missed many Sunday morning classes because I was out late the night before. Then I realized that being late is better than not showing up at all.

If you’re serious about achieving your goals, cut through the excuses you tell yourself as to why your big crazy goal is only reserved for other people. Start showing up, even if you are a little late.

Focus Like a Black Belt Today

Focus takes an initial intention followed by consistent practice. This process will help you sharpen your focus today, tomorrow and in the coming weeks to help you reach your destination twice as fast with half the effort. Answer these questions to help you get into a Black Belt mindset:

  • What big crazy goal do you want to reach?
  • When do you want to reach it?
  • How many practices are required to get you there?
  • How many practices have you accumulated up to today?
  • Identify what it means for you in each practice to: Show Up / Regularly Practice / Accelerate Practice

Pick one style of practice for today and get going. You’ll feel much stronger and more powerful afterwards, because you are one step closer to where you want to be.

After about five years of consistent practice, my Sensei presented me with my first Black Belt. The feeling of that moment was amazing. It was a celebration of my victory over myself, one practice at a time.

Your victory is waiting for you when you stick with training one practice at a time. This approach will end your procrastination and silence the distractions while helping you build amazing focus and drive. You will achieve your big crazy goal with Black Belt focus, faster than you ever thought possible.

[Ed Note: Shane Fielder, also known as the Innovative Samurai, has over 25 years of business innovation in family, franchised and large scale corporate businesses. Shane is a modern day Samurai with a 2nd Degree Black Belt in the Japanese martial art of Aikido. Visit where he will help you Blend the Secrets of the Samurai with Cutting-edge Strategy to Sharpen You and Your Business Results.]