I Spy

Have you ever shopped for a car? Perhaps it’s a black Volvo wagon; or maybe it’s a red Ford Focus. You get the brochure; you walk around it in the showroom; you take it for a test drive. Maybe you even put down a deposit and have a signed purchase agreement.

Then you go about your business, going to the store, stopping at the mall, driving around town. And you see that car you’re looking at everywhere. It’s as if everyone on the planet owns that car.

That’s because what you focus on you see.

There’s a video used to illustrate this principle. The video appears to be a group of people who are passing a basket ball. The instruction before looking at the video is to watch and count the number of times the ball is passed.

You can watch the video here.

How’d you do?

What we focus on we see. And this pertains to every area of our businesses and our lives. Screenshot 2016-05-25 16.20.20

When we focus on what’s a problem, we see more problems. When we focus on what’s not working, we see more of what’s not working.

It works the other way too. When we focus on what’s going well, we see more of what’s going well. When we focus on what’s working, more of what’s working shows up. When we focus on what’s possible, we see infinite possibilities.

I’ve trained myself to ask this question as soon as my eyes snap open in the morning: What amazing opportunities will I see today?

And the opportunities that I have seen have been nothing short of amazing.

Here’s a simple practice: Every day, before your day begins, write down three things that went well the day before; or, if you prefer, three things that you’re grateful for.

You’ll train yourself to see differently. Your world will expand in wondrous ways that you never imagined could be possible.

And you’ll never miss the gorilla.

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When you’re ready to see new possibilities, let’s talk. Email me at: walt@walthampton.com

 

 

Why I Can’t Talk With You

It seemed funny at the time: My seventeen year old son and his girlfriend, sitting in the back seat, side by side, texting each other, rather than talking.

It doesn’t seem as funny now.

The technology that is meant to connect us often doesn’t. Instead, we have become increasingly scattered and distracted, dwelling in a state of continuous partial attention. We tweet in 144 characters. We text in abbreviated words. We take in information in bullet points and sound bites.

We are expected to be always on, always accessible. We stand like players on a digital tennis court, waiting for a ball to be served over the net, not wanting to miss a play, and always wanting to be seen as available to volley back.

We have lost the capacity to sit still, to be still, and to know the beauty and the grandeur of quiet and solitude. We have lost the capacity to create space for creativity; and we have lost touch with the power of reflection.

At risk is our capacity to relate, really relate; to communicate deeply… to look each other in the eye and talk… really talk.

I participated recently in a mock networking event for graduating business students. Bright and driven; at the top of their class. And not a one could hold my gaze in conversation. IMG_5581

Traveling through the Newark airport recently, we stopped for dinner. On each table – firmly mounted between the place settings – an iPad – to order our food and drinks and surf the net and update our statuses and… everything except a (real) connection with the person across the table… because that would require looking over or around that now sacred tablet.

Some studies have shown that stepping away from our smartphones and tablets can have the same physical and mental impact as going cold turkey from smoking or drugs. But what might it be like to put our tech aside for just an evening… or a day… or a week? What might it be like to reconnect with ourselves… and with those we love?

Disconnect to connect. Will you give it a try?

Your Trash

For nearly three decades, a dear friend of mine was a flight attendant on a major airline flying long-haul routes. He would tell this funny story: At the end of an especially long, customer service-challenged flight, when they would come down the aisle for that last time with the garbage bags, saying “your trash, your trash,” what they were really thinking (and actually saying), was “you’re trash, you’re trash!”

This post is not about the joys of flying. It is, however, about your trash. Your head trash, that is.

Because, your head trash is what keeps you stuck; it’s what keeps you from launching your business, writing your book, advancing your career, getting in shape, finding a mate, speaking your truth; it’s what keeps you from sharing your gifts with the world; it’s what keeps you from living your very best life.

Your head trash are those voices in your head that whisper to you: Screenshot 2016-05-11 17.23.03

  • I’m not ready
  • I’m not enough
  • I’m not worthy
  • I need more training
  • I need more experience
  • I need a degree
  • I need another certification

And  no one escapes them.

Tony Robbins suggests that the two primary questions that every human being struggles with are: “Am I enough?” and “Will I be loved?”

Brené Brown, in her beautiful book, The Gifts of Imperfection, says that every single one of us comes face to face with self-doubt; that every single one of us questions our worth; that no one escapes that worry that someone will find out that we are a fraud.

So… recognizing that you’re not that “special,” that you’re not alone, that every single one of us struggles; every single one of us confronts these fears and doubts… the only relevant question then is this: What are you going to do now?

Even in the face of fear and doubt: What action will you take? What commitment will you make?

The time will never be right. You will never feel ready. There will always be more that you could do.

But the clock is ticking; and the world is waiting for you.

Don’t waste another moment.

Step up. Step out. Get busy. Start now.

The Silent Killer

You don’t see it; and yet it lurks. Unfettered. Unabated. Rampant.

It kills everything you value: SilentKiller

  • Your productivity
  • Your creativity
  • Your attention
  • Your time
  • Your relationships
  • Your sanity

Distraction. Distraction kills.

Every three minutes of the day, you suffer an interruption; or you interrupt yourself. And every time you are interrupted or distracted, it takes (read this as ‘costs’) you 11 minutes of your precious time to refocus. You don’t need to be a math wizard to see the impact: Not only do you feel as if you never really get caught up; you never really do.

Here are 5 ways to beat the killer at its own game:

1. Work in block time. Science shows that you work most effectively in uninterrupted 60 to 90 minute blocks of time in which you do just one thing. The operative words: uninterrupted; one thing.

2. Turn off your chimes and alerts. You control these. And unless you’re working on a space launch or you’re on call to deliver the next royal princess, it’s not likely that every single message or piece of information in real time is absolutely necessary.

3. Schedule your social media time. Social media is critically important to the success of most enterprises. But it’s an easy place to hide out when you’re feeling bored or stressed or aimless. (Or suffering a FarmVille detox.) So schedule the block of time when you’ll ‘do’ your social media; then do it; and move on.

4. Turn off your smartphone. Barack and Vladimir have ‘people’ who field their calls. But your world will not lapse into darkness if you miss a few. And the respite you enjoy will yield a 100 fold.

5. Go tech free. For an evening or a day or a week. Get off the grid entirely. Soak in the silence. Read, write, reflect, create. Be – really be – with yourself… and with those you love.

Distraction kills focus.

Focus is power. Your power.

Protect it. Defend it. Take it back.