I'm out on a 7-mile run. 2.5 miles in it hits me - this is not going well. My hamstring and knee are on fire. My strides have no oomph. I feel drained. My mind is all over the place. I have to pee a little bit. Yeah. I'm struggling.
I gut out another mile to reach the halfway point. I'm starting to slip way off my typical pace, and I don't see how I'm going to be able to keep it up. I have a decision to make.
Am I going to finish what I started? If so, how?
It's at this point where the phrase "Focus on Impact" finds its way into my head. It's one of the core values of Facebook, and a saying I see on a poster on a wall each and every day. In this moment that meaning is clear. There are many things you can do right now. What is going to have the greatest influence toward the result you want, Coate?
I want to finish 7 miles.
That's the result I want. Of all the things I could do I decide in this particular situation the best thing to focus on is simply putting one foot in front of the other until I'm done, pace be damned. The phrase that takes over is one I used a lot during my competitive swim days: Put your head down and grind.
So I do, and I finish.
I once again see a parallel between my running exploits and my greater life. Right now I'm in a place where I have a lot to achieve ahead of me. My next six months are BIG, they're stretching. It's easy for me to ask that same question a few times a day. Am I going to finish what I started? If so, how?
It's in these moments where I immediately answer "yes" and "I have no idea, but I'm going to."
And really, I don't have any idea. Some of the things I want to do, and some of the things I'm signed up to do are crazy difficult.
But I am learning how to live this phrase - Focus on Impact. I'm becoming ruthless with the time and energy I'm spending on certain activities because while they're valuable, they're not as valuable as others I could spend more time and energy working on.
At work, that looks like reducing the time I spend researching before beginning something. Now, it's important to be well informed and have prior examples to learn from. But I've trended in the recent past toward having a lot of evidence to back up a line of thought I have, which can stall progress toward following that line of thought.
At home, I'm reducing the amount of beer I drink (gasp) and meat I eat (less of a gasp). I love burgers and I LOVE drinking, but I feel better and act better (in runs, at work, in my relationships) in times when these things make up less of what's inside of me.
These are not the only things I'm doing and they're certainly not the only things I can do, but they are examples of knowing that making these changes can have a noticeable impact, so I'm focusing on them.
How about you? What does it mean to Focus on Impact? What adjustments might you be able to make and what would that do for you? I'd love to hear about it. - Coate