This Year’s Magic Word… Focus

Hi Y’all! I’m back writing after taking two weeks off, although I did write one blog post about a local restaurant that irked me; hey, when you’re irked, write about it.

Star Wars, 1/1/16 w/2nd family

For those of you who missed it (which I don’t know how you could have), when I wrote my last post of 2015, I said that I was going to rest, then plan how I was going to proceed in working on my business and career in 2016. You know what? Things don’t quite work out that way just because you say them.

Although I didn’t really write, my mind was on writing most of the time. Thus, I have a lot of topics to write on because I saved them in Evernote. I tried meditation some more but my mind kept resisting; gotta overcome that. I spent 3 days with Mom and… well, let me just say that I know more about NCIS than I ever wanted to know. lol

I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about business, which is a shame. I did spend more time thinking about how to forgive myself for not being perfect and great; isn’t that a shame? I’m not big on the term “forgiveness” when things seem or feel extreme, so I’ve retained some major gripes over the years with people I feel have wronged me or others in some way. It’s one reason why there are a lot of people I dropped in 2008 on social media during the presidential season that was Barack Obama elected and never given them a second chance; bad behavior rarely goes away.

I’m harder on myself than others, and there was a lot of things I don’t forgive myself for. It doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on and that I’ve stopped trying to do things, but it does mean that, when I’m trying to shut down and calm down that sometimes those things pop back into my mind, some of them going back decades.

Here’s a more recent example to show you the type of thing I go through and why I’m working on changes.

Mom & I 1302

When I went to visit Mom I turned my computer off. I hadn’t turned my computer off for longer than 5 minutes in a year, since last Christmas when I went to visit Mom, because it wouldn’t turn back on when I got home. In this case, my belief was the computer had been running great, I’d upgraded to Windows 10, added more memory… what could go wrong?

Got back home, turned the computer on… it didn’t come on. I was really upset with myself for my arrogance and stupidity, but I was going to remain calm. After trying all my tricks (I’m not bad when it comes to technology but I do have limits) and not having it come on, I decided to pop my hard drive into my wife’s computer so I could access some things before heading to the laptop.

Only… not only were there issues because, it seems, Win 10 integrates itself with whatever hardware it’s playing with and thus things wouldn’t work properly, but my wife’s computer wasn’t really powerful enough for me to do much. At that point I started hating myself once again because I’d bought her that computer a few years ago, knowing it wasn’t as expensive as mine but the specs seemed to indicate it would run better than it was. I realized that explained why her computer seemed sluggish to her… because it was.

After a long weekend I called a guy I know because I knew I needed to get my computer fixed. He was out of the office so I left a message. About 20 minutes later one of his representatives called and I outlined the problem. He said he’d call the other guy and see what they wanted to do. I came back to my office, decided to try the start button one more time… and the computer booted up; whew! I have no idea why it finally decided to play with me again but I’m a relatively happy guy once more.

At least I was trying to be. That Sunday night I had stopped at my friend Kelvin’s house because he’d brought some sweet potato pie back with him from visiting his family in Maryland. I was telling him more about my computer issues and how my wife’s computer wasn’t up to standard and how I hated myself for that. He said that I should cut myself a break because I did buy her a brand new computer that, at the time, was probably pretty good based on the standards at that time, and that I didn’t intentionally short change her to hurt her.

Until my computer came back on, I hadn’t really taken in those words. Once it did, and after I spent time making sure everything was back to normal, I thought back on those words and realized that I do beat myself up about a lot of stuff that had good intentions, whether they worked out perfectly or not. It reminded me of a post I’d recently read by a young lady named Anna who had recently turned 22 (gasp! lol) and, in talking about 22 things she’d learned by 22, her very first lesson was “Excellence is different from perfection” and her second “I don’t have to be perfect“. I wish I’d learned those lessons at 22! πŸ™‚

Paul via Compfight

It was in thinking about my computer, my wife’s computer, reading that post and a few other things that told me that I needed to decide on a direction for the year, something that would not only bring me what I’ve been shooting for but put me in a healthier mindset and lifestyle. I came up with one word that was going to be my word for the year, which oddly enough was a major topic of Kelvin’s just a couple of days later in his newsletter: focus.

That’s a lot of preamble just to get to such a small word isn’t it? If you’ve stuck with me this long, stick around just a little longer because the things I’m going to focus on might mean something to you and your life/businesses as well.

For me, focus means it’s time to pay attention to a few more things, be more conscious of others, and take more chances after thinking logically about them. Here are my points of focus for the year.

First, my health. This year my main goal is to actually sleep at least 5 hours in one night once a month. I got 5 hours of sleep in a night only 4 times in 2015 (per Fitbit) and that’s not going to get it done. It’s hard to concentrate, or focus, with so little sleep.

My secondary health goal is to lose 10 pounds, which should be small potatoes, but it comes with a catch. I actually have to lose 13 pounds, which includes the 3 pounds I gained during the holiday season. For me this actually means watching “how” I eat more than “what I eat”. My first two experiments of 2016 in my quest for this have had mixed reviews, but one will stay and the other I’ll need to figure out how to modify. When I actually fix this I’ll talk about it again… maybe. In any case, I’ve lost 40 pounds in 4 years, but lost 25 of those the first year, and I want to be better than that.

Second, I need to focus more on what social media outlets are working for me and put more time and effort into them.

Blogging is solid. Twitter has worked wonders and proven to me why I like it so much.

LinkedIn… I was going to shoot for 101 articles there to see if LinkedIn would start sharing more of my content, which had been dwindling drastically in numbers. However, after my last post there got only 19 views, I decided it’s time to leave it alone as far as a promotional vehicle. No more articles there, no more participation in groups… marketing and networking only from this point on. That will save me a lot of time.

Google Plus… it’s close to pulling the plug on my community there because no one seems to care. I may delete one of my accounts there also, since I have my personal account and my business account, although I need to make sure that doing so won’t shut down my business YouTube channel. Yes, I’d be keeping the personal one because the business account only has 7 or 8 connections after 3 years; that’s certainly not worth my time.

Facebook… well, after the posts that are already planned for it in January, I’m not posting anything for the rest of January just to see if anyone actually misses it. If not, I will probably finally shut that page down. I may also shut down my diabetes page, but that one’s up in the air. I administer a music page and I’m definitely going to back away from that.

Photography 101
Ninja M. via Compfight

Third, I want to improve my writing in one major way; I want to stop writing passively. It turns out that my favorite 3 words to begin sentences with when writing are “So, Well, and Thus”. I also begin a lot of sentences with maybe one or two words, followed by a comma, and then proceed with my thought. That’s passive writing, and though that kind of speech serves a great purpose when talking to people, it doesn’t make as much sense when writing. If I write a sentence like “supposedly eating spinach is healthy”, it carries a lot less weight than “eating spinach is healthy”. Writing the first way absolves me of responsibility for my words because I’m not being definitive… that’s just not going to work anymore. It’s not going to be easy… hence, “focus”. πŸ™‚

Fourth, I need to get over this business rejection thing. I’ve been in business 14 1/2 years, yet I have long periods of time where I won’t send an email or pick up the phone to make a call because I don’t want to be rejected or ignored. That’s business; you keep plugging away and eventually you find those folk who want to work with you. I know this yet it can be discouraging pounding your head like that. I also know it’s not personal; how could it be since these people don’t even know me?

Since it’s the only way to get ahead and achieve what I want (and what you might want if you’re trying to earn money on your own), I was happy to read this little ditty about going for 100 rejections written by a lady named Susan Hyatt. My initial goal will be to see if I can get those 100 rejections within my first 2 months, then reaching for 100 rejections in a month and… well, I hope I’ll have contracts and such so I never have to go for 100 rejections a week. πŸ™‚

To this end, I expect this will be the year that I work on creating email mailing lists. What I’ll do with them is another thing, but it’s time to really explore it further. I’ll also be putting together lists of potential clients for all the things I do and I’m going to work on getting comfortable with the phones and better at online research, where I’m actually pretty good already but, as it pertains to health care, is a bit harder to do for the information I need.

Fifth, and final for now, I’m going to look at criteria a bit better, figure out what I consider is really important, and spend more time on that, wasting less time on non-productive things unless they’re geared towards my health. Long term this should mean more production, better production, less time visiting sites with little to no value, more learning, more networking, and less to beat myself up over.

Right now this means more consistent videos, write or put together another book, look to doing a webinar or two, at least one local live presentation, a few speaking engagements, and fewer things to irritate me to the point where I’m not focusing on my own thing. It will probably mean writing more often here and in other places, and to highlight this there will be a post on Thursday as well this week where I’m going to talk about something I’ve recently done on Facebook to help my personal stream treat me better. One of my thoughts is that for some of my blogs I want to write articles ahead of time that will take care of the entire year first, and then if I come up with other things I want to say it’s extra content. If you remember, I wrote over 350 articles total in 2015. I’m planning on more in 2016; somebody stop me! lol

Time to stop; time to focus. Time to focus more on me, and time to focus more on you. If I’m feeling good, I’ll be better and that only means better things for y’all. At least that’s what I’m telling myself. A good year to everyone and let’s all be awesome!

27 thoughts on “This Year’s Magic Word… Focus”

  1. Hi Mitch,

    Happy New Year!

    I like the idea of focus being the theme for the year. I know it’s something I’ll be working on as well.
    I’ve never been organized enough – and I know this is why I don’t complete as many projects as I’d like to.

    The funny thing is, every time I do set an intention and simply keep it organized and focus on it, I complete it beautifully.

    I wish you much success with your goals. As far as your health, you’ve got this. Take small and realistic steps and you’ll see improvements πŸ™‚

    1. Dana, I suffer the same types of things you do. When I can focus and plan I follow through and get things done. When I can’t, or don’t… then I’m all over the place and don’t get anything accomplished… except my writing which, if it were making me more money, I wouldn’t mind so much.

      I wish us both great luck this year in focusing.

  2. Hi Mitch, I really like your word FOCUS for 2016. You have quite the list and really beat yourself up. I think we all tend to do it to some degree. I’ve had many sleepless nights and getting more sleep is an important step to FOCUS, its harder to do when tired.
    I hope to have more balance in 2016 and stop always being reactive to situations, mostly after its too late.
    I hope you have a great 2016 and find the FOCUS you are looking for Mitch!

    1. Thanks Lisa. I’ve always been harder on myself than anyone else, probably because I want to beat people to the punch. It used to work better for me when I had more energy but these days… well, I guess I’m thankful for waking up every day. lol Good luck to you in 2016; let’s be awesome!

  3. #Happy New Year @Mitch Mitchell Sir

    New Year’s is almost synonymous with new beginnings. After celebrating the Christmas and New Year’s holidays and having spent several weeks with family and friends, we are left with a quieter time to reflect upon the past year and think about our future.

    We live in a world of glittering objects, near constant electronic communication, multitasking and a vast array of media competing for our attention. These are the enemies of focus. When light is scattered, we feel little heat, but if you intensely focus light, you get a laser with incredible power. The same is true of our thoughts. Focus on your goals like a laser. Don’t wish for 100 other incompatible and scattered things, focus all your energy and thoughts and words on your goal.
    I wish us a great and lucky year.

    1. Good stuff Uttam; I like your analogy. You’re also correct, this year I can’t allow myself too many distractions; I need to be better, and I will be better. And you can come along if you wish. πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Mitch

    So great to know quite more about you in the beginning of the post and that too shows how strongly you are bonded with your blog readers.
    I highly appreciate all your goals for 2016 and the last one is not the least one in any way; most of the hard working people waste their a lot of time in so many non-productive activities.
    Health is a kind of wealth that can’t be earned with any business and it must be retained by your will power to follow the plan of dos and dons. So you are going to lose 13 pounds this year by avoiding potatoes. Doesn’t it quite challenging to cut short one of the great blessings of nature. Lols. I am sure you would achieve your all goals
    Many thanks for sharing and a very Happy New Year to you mate. Enjoy

    1. Thanks for your kind words Mi. That last one is going to be the hardest one to overcome because of my lack of focus, which is why that’s my magic word of the year. Today was a great example; I started out focused, then had visitors (house inspection) and once that happened I couldn’t focus again until around 11PM; ugh. Things like that will kill my business and mess up my productivity… as well as keep me up really late (as you see I’m responding to this at 1:30 in the morning lol).

      Still, at least I know what my goals are and how to work on sticking to them when outside interference doesn’t get in my way. That’s what I need to stick to; others probably have the same types of issues. I wish you great success in 2016!

  5. Hiya, Mitch!

    Focus is the key to everything. Heck, without focus, you can’t PUT the key into the lock, let alone turn it. Your focus on Social media has been instructive. I am glad I left LinkedIN and you’ve confirmed something for me about other platforms. πŸ™‚

    Speaking of that, Evernote is on my chopping block (gasp! Despite the link to our conversation, thanks!) It’s all about focus πŸ™‚

    Last but not least, what’s Abby’s favorite beverage?



    1. Abby’s favorite drink is Caf-Pow; I almost subscribe to that same thing which is going to kill me lol

      You’re killing Evernote! :-O I hadn’t realized it had gone that far, though I remember you talking about reducing it. At this point I swear by it, though I did give up the paid version because I realized I didn’t need it for file movement since I have Dropbox. Since I can use it for “writing” articles and such while walking, Evernote stays.

      Focus is going to be the big determinant towards how the year goes. I’m also telling myself I’m serious about that 100 rejections thing… I might need some encouragement on that one though. πŸ™‚

      1. LOL. Yep, you watched enough. Evernote is going to be the subject of intense focus, as I analyzed why it failed to make me more productive…

        You’ll get those rejections. The key is the PHONE. πŸ™‚



  6. Good seeing you here Adrienne. As it figures, so far in 2016 (all 5 days yet lol) I’m having different types of health incidents that seem to be occurring based on my trying some things here and there towards being healthy. My body’s fighting back; stupid body! lol I’ll get it all figured out though because that’s what I do.

    I am hard on myself, so this year I’m also going to try not to be so negative about myself, especially since I’m generally positive in other places… generally that is. lol Yesterday it took a nap to overcome some of that but whatever works will have to do… even if it means having to hop into the car & drive across town to my favorite bakery for cookies… which will mess up my health initiatives; heck!

    Still, today is proof that focus will help me get a lot of things accomplished. I’ve been quite productive today, even if everything didn’t go 100% and I have to learn to tell myself that’s okay and that there’s always tomorrow and that perfection is a myth that can’t really ever be attained (except for Nadia Comaneci).

    We’re going to own 2016; you’d better believe it!

  7. Phew, that was a post and a half Mitch. lol So, did you ever find out what was up with the computer. You’re sure it was plugged in and that there wasn’t a power failure?

    Glad you stopped beating yourself up about some things and that you only have five points to focus on πŸ˜‰

    1. Pete, I never figured out what the problem is and I’m not even trying because this computer’s never going off again until it actually quits for good! lol Actually, after my next really good gig I think it’ll be time to replace it and my wife’s computer… after other stuff of course.

      I’m working on the beating myself up part. I want so much, and I’m willing to work for it, but I only have so many years to go… you know what I mean.

  8. This is a great post. Focus is so important. In your article you mentioned those times when you don’t reach out to people. I think it is when we isolate ourselves is really when we need people the most. I’m am going to encourage you this year to stay connected with people who look forward to your support and who are able to support you as well. Staying motivated and focused can be a team sport.

    1. LOL; thanks Yasmin! I admit that one of my biggest challenges is fighting the introvert side of my personality when I’m away from people & interaction too long, or when I’m not feeling my best. Engagement really is a big deal; thanks for helping me stay motivated in this fight for 2016.

    2. Good day Mr Mitchell! That is quite the post. Thank for the mention, and I apologize for taking so long to respond. You’ve really been digging deep, and I applaud that, and your candidness with your readers. We both have our demons to conquer and we both have determined to conquer them. I’m in the ring with you πŸ™‚ So here’s to conquering your demons and living the life you have imagined. Remember to keep your focus on where you intend to go. Don’t spend too much time looking in the rear view mirror, my friend. To our mutual success — and more walks at the lake πŸ˜‰

      1. Thanks for the comment Mr. Ringold. You’re right, I need to push some of the history into the background and push forward, which I do often enough until it’s time to go to bed… hard to control the mind in those times, which is why I appreciate your help in working with me on the meditation thing. It might even work one of these days. πŸ™‚

  9. Hey Mitch,

    Enjoyed your post. Focus is a must in 2016. We share many of the same goals for this year.

    Try to get more than 5 hours of sleep, try to shoot for 7 hours. I’m learning that sleep is very important. Don’t skimp on it, if you can. It is very important in the world of weight loss.

    I have narrowed down social media sites too – Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. I re-opened a new Facebook account and even created a page, but I ended up unpublishing my page because it’s not worth my time right now. I’m designating Facebook the place where I have fun with family and friends.

    Focus is key to reaching the goals that you want, without it nothing really gets accomplished.

    Here’s to FOCUS in 2016 and to doing BIG things.

    Have a successful year in all that you do, Mitch!

    1. Evelyn, the reason I’m shooting for 5 hours is because Fitbit is showing me as sleeping only about 2 hours. Like last night, I was in bed 6 hours but it said I actually only slept 2 hours and 21 minutes. Trust me, I know it’s correct because I remember waking up all night… unfortunately. lol

      You went back to Facebook for a brief while eh? lol I hope you see my post from last Thursday; it might help you there just a little bit. πŸ™‚

  10. Hey Mitch,

    I misunderstood, my bad. I know you mentioned Fitbit in this post, but I honestly don’t even know what Fitbit does..I’m a little slow about these gadgets and need to learn. 2 hours and 21 minutes πŸ™ I hope you can get more sleep soon.

    I saw your Thursday post; skimmed through it in my reader. I do have you in my Feedly reader. πŸ™‚ I’ve been putting people in certain lists and using lists instead of scrolling down the newsfeed (helps with time). I’ll look back through your post about Facebook again.

  11. About a week ago I wrote my resolutions. Not my ‘New Year resolutions’ like everyone else did but rather a list of ways I will from now on live my life. (sort of a pre-amble to my manifesto.) One of the things on the list was to put first things first. Another was to Follow One Course Until Successful. F.O.C.U.S.

    1. I see what you did there Troy! lol It’s a nice way of putting it, yet I know I’m not going to remember it… unless I paste it into a Notepad and print it out and then add it to my vision board… which I did! Truthfully, I don’t know why so many people have a problem with the term “resolutions” unless they equate it with the term “failure”. I don’t, no matter how things go, even though this year I decided to state goals rather than resolutions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I won’t go back to resolutions next year.

  12. Great stuff, Mitch! I know all about focus in the practical world of photography. Focus in this sense is much harder to accomplish.

    I will suggest one thing (and you have heard it before) get yourself a clean, consistent background/backdrop for your videos. I always find the background distracting.

    Good luck and, as always, ask if you need help, advice or a person to talk to.


    1. Scott, as I always respond about the backdrop, you’ve been to the house, you’ve seen my room and my desk and my lack of space; there’s not a thing I could do other than record videos in another room… and since my camera sits on top of my monitor that’s not happening. Actually, I’ve come to like it; no one else has anything like it in their videos. lol

      As for the other… So far I’ve kept focus on a couple of things but across the board too many other things are getting in the way. That’s actually why talking about focus is a good thing; just remembering that’s the year’s word helps bring me back to center so I know what needs to get done next… like going off to write a blog post for my accountant’s site after I finish addressing contents. πŸ™‚

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