It was Saturday afternoon when a small team gathered in Independence, Kansas. I had never been in that room, only heard about it. Frankly, it was unusual that I was even allowed to be, in that room. I asked to attend.
The leader, clearly in charge, told me, “Sit at the other end of the table and don’t get up until it’s over.”
The light over the table was focused; it was time. All those weeks of growth, change, and preparation came down to this moment, my first coaching assignment.
The Lamaze training prepared Rita and I (sort of) for Stephanie’s birth, it was March 10, 1978. Yes, I did say “us,” it was my responsibility to help Rita concentrate — to use a single focal point and guide her breathing during her contractions. Nothing else mattered.
Where’s your focus?
I believe you have a unique purpose to fulfill, a dream, delivery of your life contribution. Giving birth, literally or figuratively, is hard work.
I found Judith Lothian’s and Charloette De Vries’ thoughts interesting:
Finding the time, energy, and peace to face your fears—or do anything that requires mental focus—is a challenge in our culture.
Connecting with yourself is an important task during your pregnancy. It’s a big job to pay attention to all the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes you’re experiencing. It takes concentration to envision a future that includes a new role and a new person. Finding a place of stillness for a few moments each day can help you do this crucial work.
In my book, The People Project I call this Creating Space. The truth is, there is a conspiracy of time that wars against our experience of finding such a place. Self-managed Leaders create space to think; first for themselves, then for others.
When it comes to your “crucial work” you must be able to concentrate. That’s a challenge, today.
Lothian and DeVries share the following story in their book:
One pregnant woman shared that after years of working at her office, she’d tuned out the sounds of phones ringing and computers clicking. She didn’t even notice how noisy her office was until an older coworker looked at her and said, “You’re bringing this child into a world of sounds my babies never heard.”
Technology has changed the world. This noisy and busy world crowds out space you need to connect with your Story. “Margin” is required if you are to focus on what matters in life.
Concentration is hard work. Have you ever wondered, at the end of a busy day, “What did I accomplish?” Life can be a blur even when you do create space for reflection.
To concentrate means you must not pay attention to a lot of “stuff.” Inattention is a failure to think carefully about, listen to, or watch someone or something. In our world, some negligence is required. Why? So you can pursue your purpose in life. So you can experience future success. Remember…
The best predictor of future success is
the ability & willingness to learn & change
achieved through consistent reflection on
the truth in your Story.
Consistent reflection demands the disciplined use of time, place, and resources in pursuit of truth (feedback, experience, success, and failure) found in your Story.
The power of concentration
Concentration, or the ability to focus your attention or thinking, precedes leadership development. It establishes the steps needed to achieve your goals.
Concentration is required when attempting something great because resistance, fear, and distractions gather outside your door.
Concentration is required when the excitement of your new idea feels the push-back of “Hard Work Required.”
Concentration is required when you hope the big news will come to your inbox. “Better check again…,” the whisper comes to distract.
Concentration is required when interpersonal conflict drives you to fight or retreat instead of stay and engage the other person using effective communication.
Concentration can’t happen unless you’re inattentive to whatever doesn’t matter.
For your reflection
It’s thirty-nine years since the delivery of our first-born daughter. Rita’s ability to persevere required her to concentrate on the soon arriving joy of our daughter and be inattentive to the pain. We still encourage each other to breathe and focus as we seek to make a difference in the world.
So, what’s the crucial work demanding your concentration?
What’s not worth paying for with your attention?
When is inattention the proper response if you are to be productive today?
Here’s to your Next Level,