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I don’t know about you, but there’s lots to be distracted about right now, some of it real and some of it made up. This week I wanted to share how I approach focusing on what’s important.

Let’s get to it!

As we know, elections were recently held in the USA, and a victory that seemed certain for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took 4-5 agonising days to be confirmed. During those days, like millions of others, I was completely plugged into what was happening. I spent huge amounts of time reading articles, glued to Twitter, and discussing with friends. There was absolutely nothing I could do about the outcome, but there I was, using my energy in this way. With ever see-sawing vote counting, my hopes would be dashed and then be raised. It was exhausting! And I’m not even American!

It got me thinking about the things I give my energy and focus to, what distracts me, and the stories I tell to justify both. We all do this, but it is so costly. Our ability to bring back our focus to what’s important and what we can control is critical to doing good work that matters.

Steven Covey wrote about the circles of concern and influence in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Picture 2 concentric circles. The outer circle is that of concern. It’s the things we care about but have no control about, (like the outcome of the US election for me). The inner circle is that of influence, things we can control or influence. The more we focus there, the more energy and effectiveness we experience, and the more possible it becomes to influence the areas of concern.

When things around me are calling out for distraction, I find this a helpful way to anchor myself in what I can control. It brings into focus what I choose to show up for, and what’s important to me.

I use a version of this each week to plan my priorities and keep me on track. When I notice I am distracted or procrastinating, I go through this to realign myself to what’s important, what I can influence, and what I want.

I offer these to you for the same reason. More than ever we need good people to be focused and in action on the things that matter.